School board approves sale of vans, computers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2003

The Austin School Board approved the sale of two vans and 35 computers in last night's board meeting at city hall.

The computers were from the CISCO lab and are no longer needed, due to a donation of 30 new computers by the Mayo Clinic and Riverland Community College.

Because the computers are old, they could not be used in other labs or classrooms and were slated for sale.

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The council also approved the health insurance renewal rates for 2003-04.

First readings on a number of policies took place last night.

Among them, a family and medical leave policy, which would provide 12 weeks unpaid leave for new parents and employees or immediate family with a serious health condition, and would bring the school district into accordance with the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act.

Another policy concerning warning systems and emergency plans would update existing policy. The school district updated emergency plans two years ago, but Superintendent Corrine Johnson said it was necessary to constantly review the plans to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

"Things change a lot, even in two years" Johnson said. "Until there is an emergency, it is difficult to see, but you can certainly practice for it."

Council member Richard Lees voiced concern about evacuation procedures, especially in the case of a bomb. He said that simply getting students out of the building wasn't enough.

"If you evacuate to a parking lot and there's a bomb in the car, you've got a big problem," Lees said.

Johnson assured him that the current evacuation procedure does not include parking lots as a meeting area for students.

Considered for deletion was an operation and maintenance of plant policy, which is now covered by administration, a buildings and grounds security policy, which has been deemed unnecessary due to an automatic lock system in the schools and a policy regarding the sale of school supplies and equipment, which conflicts with school fund-raisers.

Council Vice Chairperson Bev Nordby brought up a point concerning maintenance, supervision and security of school buildings when non-school-related functions take place. She said when, for instance, the Parks and Recreation department uses the high school, they pay for the hours accrued by school maintenance staff.

"I see that as a way of getting away from paying overtime," Nordby said.

Council member Larry Andersen voiced concern about an area bowling team that used the school's name and mascot.

"We don't have a bowling team," Andersen said. "They advertise themselves as the Austin Packer bowling team, but they do not have to adhere to league rules. They can act anyway they want to."

Also, the date for the school board's work session was set for 4:15 p.m. March 31.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at