CENTERVILLE — A host of policy changes are coming for Centerville Community Schools, including the elimination of school book fees.

Faced with a decision to approve the general fund fee schedules on Monday for the upcoming school year, school board member Mike Moore raised a question.

"My kids haven't had books in high school for many years," Moore said. "I have a concern with that."

Centerville High School Principal Matt Johnson said there are still some physical books assigned in the high school, but even worksheets and online textbook access come at a cost.

However, the fees have brought in about $20,000 yearly.

Superintendent Tom Rubel said the question was a legitimate conversation, and that there's good reason to do that.

Ultimately, the board voted 6-1 to eliminate the $25 K-5 book rental/workbook fees and the $35 grade 6-12 book rental/workbook fees. School board member Bob Thomas cast the lone no vote.

"It's 20,000 less dollars that families are paying," school board president Marty Braster said.

Other fees, like music instrument rentals and driver's education, will continue.

The fee schedule approved by the board included a 10-cent raise for breakfast and lunch prices. Individual meals for students will now be $2 for breakfast and $3.05 for lunch.

The board also approved the first reading of a host of board policy changes relating to high school graduation requirements.

Some of the more considerable changes include:

— Reduction of elective credits required from 18 to 17, because the Financial Literacy course has transitioned from an elective course to a required one.

— Starting with the class of 2022, students in special education must have four years of English or language arts, and three years each of mathematics, science and social science. Previously, these students would graduate based on their individualized education plan. The policy was changed to comply with new state law.

— Students will no longer be able to take college classes on a pass/fail basis.

— The high school will no longer identify and require various concentrations, something Johnson said was mostly unique to Centerville.

— Other changes to match current course names and offerings.

Rubel also updated the board on the district's summer nutritional program for the upcoming summer. The program will be funded by the federal government and will run from June 16 through Aug. 13.

Food will be available at Lakeview Elementary School and the Iowa State University Extension Outreach office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Students will receive a hot lunch for the day, and a breakfast and a lunch for the following day.

Those who can't reach a pickup site can contact the school to determine what can be done.

McKinley Lain will administer the program for the district.

In other action:

— The board promoted Mike Kincaid to the new position of assistant transportation director to assist the department.

— The board authorized the issuance of $10 million in general obligation bonds relating to the taxpayer-funded renovation projects at Centerville High School.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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