The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 17, 2012

E-B-F board approves first contracts for district

EDDYVILLE — Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont school board members approved the first contracts for the new school district this week. Staff members from each district will see a slight pay increase from 3.45-3.68 percent.

However, this salary increase and a recently approved decrease in property taxes may not come without a cost. A crowd gathered at this board meeting as word got out that the district may attempt to save money by not replacing a retiring elementary school music teacher.

Junior/Senior High Choir instructor Andrew Wotherspoon was recently informed that he would be expected to take on K-6 general music duties in Eddyville and Blakesburg in addition to the 7-12 program he currently serves.

“I am currently responsible for leading my own high school choir program, my own junior high choir program and other duties. Compared to other programs in our school district, this essentially adds up to 1-1/2 positions. Adding a full-time job on top would be 2-1/2 positions-worth by one person for one paycheck,” he explained.

“I don’t know anything about teaching elementary. I have virtually no experience with that age group. The grade-school students deserve a highly qualified elementary music teacher. For both elementary and secondary, the quality of music education for all students will suffer if the proposed plan goes forward.”

Parent LeAnn Powers said,  “That concerns me as a resident of this district. “I don’t know how that is going to be a positive for the kids or positive for him.”

Senior student Michael Gates urged the board to reconsider noting that this plan would result in “elementary students taking a watered-down music program.”

Several other community members spoke out against cutting the music staff by attrition, including student Kai Ishida, who has only lived in the United States for three years. He told board members that choir has helped improve his English and that Wotherspoon has taught him to overcome his shyness.

Board member Kevin Lane told administrators that he would like to learn more about the issue before making any decisions. He requested Wotherspoon’s detailed schedule as well as what that might look like should his position be combined with the elementary position.

For now the music teacher position remains on the school vacancy list with three other teaching positions (Spanish, math and social science), a counseling position and a K-6 principal position. Also, the high school principal position is expected to be added shortly.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Calendar Groups wanting to be included in the Calendar must submit the item every time the group meets, at least three days in advance of the meeting.Send information to Calendar, Newsroom, Ottumwa Courier, 213 E. Second St., Ottumwa 52501 or send email to ne

    July 26, 2014

  • Alternate juror could not have convicted Techel based on evidence DAVENPORT — An alternate juror who was dismissed before Seth Techel, 23, of Agency was convicted of killing his wife and the non-consensual termination of a human pregnancy says the verdict could have been different if she had been in deliberations.D

    July 25, 2014

  • Overcome testing fear, get a good job OTTUMWA — It's not who you know, it's what you know. That's what City leaders say about getting a good paying job in Ottumwa. "It seems like in the last year we've had a real reduction in the number of individuals who've applied," said Joni Keith, hu

    July 25, 2014

  • Water Pollution Control Facility gets OK to upgrade OTTUMWA — An emergency Ottumwa City Council meeting resulted in spending $140,583 for the Water Pollution Control Facility. Friday afternoon, council members listened intently as Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility Superintendent Kam Reeves told

    July 25, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Quincy Ave. project starts Aug. 4 OTTUMWA — Updates on the Quincy Avenue project was given to residents and businesses residing between Albia Road and Hwy. 34 on Thursday night at Ottumwa City Hall. About a dozen people attended the meeting where City Engineer Dan Sturm gave an updat

    July 25, 2014

  • Silence continues on fatal shooting OTTUMWA — Law enforcement is exercising its right to remain silent about a shooting death that occurred south of town this week. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office, which had responded to the shooting, said most information on the case would now com

    July 25, 2014

  • 0726 OTT cedar creek Gone in a flash

    BLOOMFIELD — Bob Parker got about as close to lightning as you can Friday morning, and came out of it without injury. A line of thunderstorms started moving through southeast Iowa in the early morning hours. Parker was heading to work at about 7 a.m.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0726 OTT Garden Bites III Color Photo -T Garden Bites sees growth BLOOMFIELD — Nearly one month ago, families gathered at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center to plant various vegetables to harvest and eat on Thursday at Garden Bites. The program allows families to get their hands a bit dirty at Pioneer Ridge and plant food

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook