Atlantic School Board approves Superintendent contract, & receives EOP report


June 12th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic School District’s Board of Education, Wednesday night, approved several matters on their agenda, including a 2019-2020 contract for Superintendent Steve Barber. After previous discussions between the Board and Mr. Barber, it was decided there would be no change of language in his contract, and a 2% salary increase. Board member Dr. Keith Swanson indicated that was not sufficient.

Swanson said, “I think we’re being chintzy, ok? I sat with this Board and we approved a $5,000 raise to a person who had resigned. And this doesn’t come out near that, ok? And I think we have an excellent Superintendent and if we don’t pay him adequately, we aren’t going to keep an adequate Superintendent.” Barber has taken up many extra duties, including mowing for the District on the weekends. When it came time for a vote, Swanson paused, but then voted yes, along with the rest of the Board.

The Board also voted to approve a 2019-2020 Sharing Agreement with the CAM School District, with regard to the services of Atlantic’s Business Manager Sarah Sheeder. It will be the second year for the agreement, the costs of which are split 70-30 between the Districts.

In his report to the Board, Superintendent Barber said the District has received a Volkswagen Settlement Grant to replace two of the diesel buses with propane buses. Each grant is worth $28,150, for a total of $56,250. The District received $20,000 for their last bus purchase, and converting the two buses to propane from diesel will bring the propane-powered fleet from seven-to nine. He also reminded citizens that the Washington Parking lot and lane parking areas are closed until further notice, due to construction. Parking is available in the Middle School/Schuler parking lot, and surrounding street parking.

Cass County EMA Director Mike Kennon

The Atlantic School Board heard from Cass County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Kennon, Wednesday. He spoke with regard to working on an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Kennon said he’s worked closely with Superintendent Barber to update Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) information, and there’s been a lot of things happening behind the scenes that are not widely known.

He said also, that “The expectations of people, when they talk about the school, they expect the school to be ‘Fort Knox’ for ‘bad people,’ they’re not going to get in. But the reality is really much different. The school is exposed to many threats, hazards and vulnerabilities. The purpose of the Atlantic Community School District [EOP] is to outline the responsibilities and duties of school employees, students, parents, and guardians, in an emergency.”

Kennon said “Development of this plan has been done in collaboration with community response partners, to ensure coordinated stakeholder participation in the best utilization of available resources. The planning effort,” he said, “along with training and exercises, empowers everyone involved in an emergency to act quickly and knowledgeably.” The plan is similar to one in use by Cass County, but on a smaller scale. It’s still an “all hazards” approach, covering a full spectrum of emergencies and disasters, not just an “Active shooter” scenario.