AMBOY – Will Amboy High School continue cooping with LaMoille for fall sports? That remains to be seen.
A motion to approve a two-year coop agreement between LaMoille and Amboy was tabled for further review during the District 272 Board of Education meeting on June 26. Amboy Superintendent Jeff Thake explained that the coop with LaMoille involves several sports including football, cross country, golf and track. “The feedback I received from our athletic director [George Schwamberger] and high school principal [Joshua Nichols], it seems that this would be a good idea,” Thake told the board.
Despite the recommendation, board member Reed Akre expressed concern about a lack of public support for continuing the coop agreement. “All I hear is negativity out in the country,” Akre said. “I just want to clarify that our athletic director condones this.”
Thake reassured Akre that was the case.
“That’s what I need to know,” Akre replied. “As long as he condones it, we’ve got somebody to blame.”
Akre explained that he had heard many complaints about the coop with LaMoille because it potentially keeps Amboy in the larger 2A class for football. “Seriously, I don’t want another year of listening to parents bellyache that we’re still with them [LaMoille] and have to play 2A because of it,” he said. “As long as the athletic director said it’s OK and the principal said it’s OK, I have no problem with it but I don’t want to listen to it [the complaints]. I’m just going to pass it back to the school.”
Thake pointed out that Amboy’s enrollment is also declining, which will eventually affect the sports program. “We’re going to be at a point where we’re suffering for numbers and we’re going to have to come up with a practical solution,” he said.
But given the questions surrounding the coop, board members asked if they could postpone the decision until the July 17 board meeting. Thake said the first day of football practice is not until August, so that would leave enough time.
After the meeting, Thake said he is in favor of continuing the coop with LaMoille. “I’ve been in the district for eight years and I’ve viewed the Amboy-LaMoille cooperative as us providing kids from a smaller school an opportunity to participate – they might not have those opportunities otherwise,” he explained. “With our enrollment declining – not because people are leaving the community but because our population is getting older – it may be something we have to look at down the road.”
Thake expressed his condolences to the family of Rich Hubbard. Hubbard, who was the district’s director of technology, died on May 30 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
With the loss of Hubbard, Thake said he has been trying to “pick up the pieces” and has done some outsourcing and consulting. “We’ve done a lot to upgrade our technology in the last eight years,” Thake told the board. “I’m finding out now from some consultants that they cannot believe how much Rich Hubbard did.”
After the meeting, Thake said Hubbard would definitely be missed. “He was one of the hardest working individuals I think I’ve ever been around in my life,” he noted. “He really knew his stuff.”
As for the future, Thake said he is exploring options for a replacement and hopes to have a plan by the July 17 meeting. “We don’t want to lose any ground but we still have to try to maintain fiscal responsibility,” Thake said.
In the financial report, Thake said he expects the June statements to show that the district is deficit spending as he predicted last fall.
The board approved Winkel, Parker & Foster, CPA PC of Clinton, Iowa for provision of auditing services for three years, 2014-2017.
On 3 Photo of Amboy was approved to take school photos for a three-year term, 2014-2017 and the board also approved a cooperative agreement with the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education.
The first reading of the proposed IASB policy revisions was heard.
Following closed session, the board hired Robert Wissinger as a counselor at Amboy High School for the 2014-15 school year.
The next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 17 at Amboy High School.