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CCCSD School Board approves new superintendent contract

By Travis Fischer,

The Charles City Community School Board welcomed not one, but two new school superintendents during its regular board meeting on Monday, May 13.

At the meeting, the board welcomed Dr. Brian Burnight, who has accepted the district’s offer to serve as the district’s new fulltime superintendent. The board approved a two-year contract with Burnight for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years, along with a temporary administrator contract starting on June 3, where he will finish out the last month of the current school year by meeting with staff and wrapping up end-of-year tasks.

CCCSD School Board approves new superintendent contract
Dr. Brian Burnight

“I’m looking forward to moving here and working with the students in the district,” said Burnight.

The board also approved a relocation agreement for Burnight, providing up to $5,000 in reimbursements for moving expenses. The initial proposal offered up to $10,000, however some board members bristled against such an amount coming out of the general fund, which is otherwise subject to a spending freeze.

“That seems kind of silly to me,” said board member Dara Jaeger, ”when we can’t buy paper.”

In the meantime, Karl Kurt, an assistant chief administrator and director of human resources at Central Rivers AEA, will be serving as the district’s interim superintendent as current contracted superintendent Dr. Anne Lundquist remains on administrative leave.

On that note, the board agreed to cancel the previously scheduled May 21 work session as board member Dr. David Schrodt would not be able to attend and it would be before Burnight begins his new position.

“I would just as soon to have the new superintendent in place,” said Schrodt.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Brian Huinker of Group Benefit Partners presented the board with a rundown on his seven years of working with the district to develop employee benefits packages, including the recent package developed to help offset the school’s budget deficit.

“We were tasked with a pretty tough ask on a large increase,” said Huinker.

Huinker said he was let go by the district a couple weeks ago and asked the board to reconsider that decision.

“I’d love to continue to work with the district if that is a possibility in the future,” said Huinker.

Moving on to regular business, the board held a public hearing to approve the amended budget for the 23-24 fiscal year and also approved budget adjustments to the transportation, para-educator, secretary and central services budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The facilities committee reported that band instructor Jacob Gassman has joined the committee developing plans to convert the former middle school pool room into a fine arts performance space to help determine what it will take to create a venue appropriate for musical performances.

“We want to make sure they’re getting a proper space,” said Koebrick.

Koebrick also reported that the idea of relocating the Carrie Lane High School has been tabled. The district had been considering moving the alternative high school to the Washington or Lincoln buildings, but determined that neither would have the space to serve the number of students currently attending.

“Right now we’re going to keep it where it’s at,” said Koebrick.

The board also approved Director of Operations Jerry Mitchell’s recommendation to hire Modus for a study of the high school’s heating system at an estimated cost of between $10,000 and $24,000.

In other business, Washington Elementary counselor Sandy Thomson presented the board with a presentation asking to approve Heart and Solutions to provide in-school therapy for students in the district. While Charles City has traditionally offered therapy services, there has not been a therapist in the school this year.

“This is a big deal for kids in our district across the board,” said Thomson.

In-school therapy is a free service for the district, with clients billed through their own insurance. Heart and Soul would provide an agent to work in the district in service of students, staff and family, with the school only needing to provide a safe and confidential space. The benefit of offering the service through the school is that it allows students greater access to care by removing the barriers of time and transportation.

The board approved of the agreement for the next school year.

The board also approved the initiation of a High School Fire Cadet program, which would allow students age 16 and up to get an early start on firefighter training.

The program has been a longtime goal of Charles City Fire Department Lt. Jason Schuttler to encourage kids to become involved as volunteer firefighters, getting them started on CPR certification and preparing them for Firefighter 1 training when they eventually turn 18.

“They will not be allowed to actually go into burning buildings or anything like that,” said Schuttler.

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