CENTERVILLE — A list of assurances to the state was due Wednesday, but there’s still much to be done in terms of planning before the Centerville Community School District will be ready for students this fall.

On Monday, a survey period closed for parents to give feedback to the school district. Centerville Schools Superintendent Tom Rubel said the administrative team will continue work this week with feedback from that survey to continue drafting the district’s return to learn plan.

Rubel told the district’s school board on Monday that the July 1 deadline from the Iowa Department of Education was in reference to a district-by-district survey of assurances and not a deadline for the final plan.

“That ... was just a whole list of questions,” he said. “Like, ‘Will you try to be equitable?’ It was a legislative, bureaucratic document that just said we [the district] will work at doing these things.

“It’s deceiving in the fact that it really had anything specifically to do with how do we implement Centerville’s plan.”

Rubel said the Iowa Department of Education has provided several rounds of recommendations, but the state is largely leaving decisions up to each individual district.

Conversations center around every faucet of pre-K-12 education, from transportation to lunches to education. Feedback from the district’s staff and community are being taken seriously, he said.

“I know that we would have quite a few of our families that would say the sooner the better [for a plan to be released,” Rubel said. “But I do have an obligation ... to fully accept the fact that this is significant, it’s challenging, it’s a time of uncertainty.”

But Rubel said the district is working with experts on a variety of levels to anticipate what school will realistically look like come time for the fall.

“We have to look under every rock possible and anticipate,” he said.

There’s potential there could be action in mid-July, but Rubel said the timeline is uncertain and subject to change based on COVID-19 trends at the time.

Recently, the district made another technology purchase to help the district become 1-to-1 district wide, where every student could have a device.

The district is looking at a variety of options, including adding in online component options to the curriculum in the event all of the district students cannot attend classes together on the same days.

“We haven’t drawn all those conclusions yet in our study,” Rubel said. “... Sooner or later, I will bring a recommendation to the board as a result of many hours of conversation — whether it be virtual learning, or a hybrid, or whatever we need to be aware of.”

In other action:

— The board approved TK Concrete Inc., of Pella, to do the concrete work for the new parking lots at Lakeview Elementary School. They were the lowest bidder with a bid of $610,866 for the project. Two other contractors, including Joiner Construction of Plano, submitted higher bids for the project.

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


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

Recommended for you