Change was in the air last Monday as the new Glenwood Board of Education met for its organizational meeting.
Outgoing board members Bill Agan and Frank Overhue were recognized for their combined 18 years of service to the school district before they formally stepped down to make room for newcomers Henry Clark and Dave Blum.
Clark, Blum and incumbent Dave Warren were elected Sept. 8 to serve four-year terms on the five-member board.
From the outset of last week’s meeting, Clark made it clear that he wants to have a strong say in board policy and business practices. On multiple occasions, however, he found himself on the losing end of 4-1 roll-call votes.
At the beginning of the meeting, Clark nominated Blum for the position of school board president.
“Perception is reality,” Clark said. “For our community to move on, I would suggest we put a new face on as our board president.”
Theresa Romens, who served as board president last year, was also nominated. In a secret, paper ballot vote, Romens was re-elected to the position by a 4-1 count. Linda Young was elected to the position of vice president by a 3-2 margin.
Clark was the lone dissenter on the first business item of the night - approval for Glenwood Community High School FFA students and their advisor Jessica Christiansen, to attend the National FFA Conference in Indianapolis.
Christiansen, an agriculture education teacher at GCHS, presented board members with a hand-out that outlined details of the trip, including a cost of approximately $450 that would be incurred by the district to help cover the group’s transportation expenses and her conference registration fees.
After questioning Christiansen, Clark voiced his opposition to the funding, noting that the $450 would be better utilized by purchasing nine $50 textbooks.
“I would just rather go with books,” Clark said.
Despite Clark’s opposition, the other four members of the board gave their approval to the FFA funding.
Questioned after the meeting, Romens said FFA students raise money throughout the school year to cover their individual expenses for the trip. She called the conference a “lifetime experience” for the students that elect to participate.
“The kids will learn more there in three days than they would somewhere else,” she said. “That’s a minimal cost for the educational experience. There’s more to learning than just books.”
Romens said her children attended similar conferences as members of FCCLA and their trips proved to be “outstanding learning experiences.”
Clark was also the lone board member opposed to the school district signing a contract with Iowa Lakes Community College that allows two Glenwood students on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to participate in the college’s Student Alternative Vocational Educational (SAVE) program, designed to provide teens and young adults with hands-on life skills and vocational training.
All five board members were in agreement with a suggestion made by Warren. Beginning in October, the board will conduct its monthly meetings at Glenwood Community High School.
“We’ve always felt pretty secluded up in the central office,” Romens said. “We’re pretty excited about going to the high school because more people will probably come to the meetings.”
Romens said it’s likely the meetings will take place in the high school’s media center.