The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 7, 2014

District alerts delayed

OTTUMWA — Parents frustrated because they missed the notification of a school delay, early out or cancellation may see a better system in place.

"The earlier you can notify parents in the community, the better," said Davis Eidahl, superintendent of schools in Ottumwa, "because we have so many working parents, and they need time to get things arranged."

To that end, the district has more than one way to get the word out. For example, on Monday, Eidahl made the decision early (around noon) that classes would be delayed two hours Tuesday morning. Within about 10 minutes, he said, a notification to parents was posted on social media sites by one employee, sent to local media by another while a third staff member entered the message into the mass text message service parents like because it can actively signal them with school announcements.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work.

"With the flaw we have now, it took three to four hours by the time everyone was notified," Eidahl said. "Next time, we may not have three to four hours. After yesterday, seeing the delay, we are exploring adding another option for parents in addition to Power Announcement."

Lately, though, when they hit the "enter" key, the message sits and sits and sits. They believe it's because it's being sent to so many people which, admittedly, is a requirement of a mass mailing system. Office staff worked around the problem this time by breaking the addresses up into groups, though that meant families may have received one notification for each child.

A mom who told the Courier she hasn't received this or any other alerts all year may need to check her setup. The district had sent instructions home to parents, and Eidahl said he's found not everyone was successful in signing up correctly.

Text Only
Local News
  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

  • OCSD releases elementary supplies list

    OTTUMWA — For years, parents of the students in Ottumwa's elementary schools have had to check to make sure the school supplies list they grabbed was the right one for their school. No more.

    July 30, 2014

  • Reducing runoff at the local level AGENCY — Pollution isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look out at a field of Iowa corn or soybeans, but there’s growing concern about what manages to get out of the fields and into the water. The same nutrients that benefit the crops c

    July 30, 2014

  • Supervisors wrestle with staffing woes KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisor Chairman Bob Waugh says he wants county supervisors to help alleviate staffing problems within the county treasurer’s office. In May, supervisors opted not to replace a vacancy within the treasurer’s office. Va

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Better Buildings -T -M Wildwood could be your home OTTUMWA — There was always one child per class who just adored school. If they went to Wildwood, they may soon be able to move in permanently. The Ottumwa board of education met Monday, where staff told them where the district stood as far as "facili

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • A changing roster -- for school board OTTUMWA — If the last time you saw your board of education was before Christmastime, the current school board might surprise you. Two members retired from the board: longtime educator Ron Oswalt stepped down, as did board president Carol Mitchell. Bo

    July 29, 2014

  • Iowa Lottery Lottery sales top $3 million mark

    OTTUMWA — Mother Nature may have thrown Iowans a brutal winter, but it didn’t stop them from venturing out to buy lottery tickets. On Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery confirmed that it had topped the $3 million mark in sales for the third consecutive year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Slideshow: Truck overturns on roundabout

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook