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Waterloo school board approves superintendent's contract
 Andrew Wind  / 





WATERLOO — Superintendent Jane Lindaman’s salary will grow by about $8,400 this year based on a set of performance measures.

The Board of Education Monday unanimously approved a three-year contract extension and the 3.75 percent salary and benefits increase.

Lindaman’s total compensation is rising to $224,200, retroactive to July 1. All of the increase was added to her salary, bringing it to $202,200. Her benefits — a $15,000 tax-sheltered annuity and a $7,000 car allowance — will remain the same.

The size of Lindaman’s raise is tied to a performance pay plan with more than 40 metrics developed by the board, many of them related to Waterloo Community Schools’ student achievement. The board completed its annual review of the superintendent in July, but contract approval was delayed until the district could finalize some of the information — particularly ACT scores for last spring’s graduates.

“It’s the sole way of compensation that we have for Dr. Lindaman,” said Shanlee McNally, board president. “She doesn’t get a straight raise or a straight percentage. What she gets is a percentage of a pool of money.”

McNally emphasized the positive nature of Lindaman’s evaluation, done in closed session. “Some of the things that came out time and time again is how impressed we are with her leadership skills,” she commented. McNally noted her leadership during the past year in dealing with state-level changes in public employee bargaining rights and further development of the Waterloo Career Center.

Board member Lyle Schmitt noted “$8,400 is a large raise, but I think it’s warranted for several reasons.” While he doesn’t believe pay always needs to be compared to other superintendents, “we are the seventh largest district and Dr. Lindaman’s pay is 19th.” Schmitt suggested “we need some semblance of fairness there.”

Lindaman had been an associate superintendent in the district before being elevated to the top job in 2014, which Schmitt said contributes to that lower base pay. “We waived the traditional requirement of a superintendent having to have three or four years experience in a large district.” But he noted the performance pay system existed when she started and “would provide an extraordinary opportunity for significant pay increases as a reward for strong performance.”

Board members mentioned a number of factors that led to the raise including achievement gains on standardized tests, growth in early childhood literacy, continued development of the Waterloo Career Center and the district’s third-highest graduate rate.

“I really do thank you for extending my contract,” said Lindaman, noting the comments are “humbling” to hear. “I do believe that we have accomplished quite a bit, but there’s so much to do.”

In other business, the board:

Approved a memorandum of understanding with the organization Vision to Learn to provide eye exams and glasses at no charge to children at five elementary schools with large low-income populations. They include Cunningham, Lincoln, Irving, Lowell and Highland elementary schools. Volunteers, including doctors at Cedar Valley Medical Specialists, will screen all children at the schools — about 2,300 students — this fall. Those with uncorrected vision problems will receive a more in-depth exam at the organization’s mobile vision clinic and be fitted for glasses.

Recognized Central Middle School, which was earlier named as the winner of the Swartzendruber Award for Academic Excellence. Central had the highest growth of all district schools on the reading and math portions of the Iowa Assessments last spring.

Held a Partners in Education signing ceremony between Central and local church R.H. Miracle Central, 1926 Sager Ave.

Elected Bryan Burton as Director District 8 representative on the Central Rivers Area Education Agency board. The seat represents Waterloo Schools.

Funding questions delay police camera purchase
 Tim Jamison  / 

WATERLOO — City officials got their wires crossed over plans to deploy more surveillance cameras in high-crime areas.

The Waterloo City Council’s finance committee tabled action Monday on a request from Police Chief Dan Trelka to buy more public safety pole cameras when it was clear no one had identified the funding source.

The purchase is slated to return Oct. 9 for consideration by the full council.

Council members had voted in June to reallocate $25,000 of the annual $9 million general obligation bond sale for the surveillance cameras but never identified which other project or program would lose funding.

Trelka said he made the request to buy the cameras after being pressured to move forward and was told it would come from his budget earmarked to replace squad car dashboard cameras.

“I was directed by the council to utilize $25,000 to purchase pole cameras,” he said. “We submitted a request with our line item blank and finance identified our squad car camera funding for the pole cameras.

“If we utilize this funding for the pole cameras we won’t purchase any squad car cameras this year,” Trelka added, suggesting that creates increased liability for the city.

Chief Finance Officer Michelle Weidner said any purchase of police equipment would come from that budget line item. She said her office is not in charge of shuffling bond funding from one project to another.

Councilman Tom Lind, the leading proponent of neighborhood surveillance cameras, said he did not want the funding to come from squad car cameras.

“We were going to take the $25,000 out of some other fund rather than the police department; that was never really identified,” Lind said. “It makes no sense to me if we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson was asked to provide a list before the Oct. 9 meeting of other bond-funded programs which could be scrapped to make room for the pole cameras.

“It’s not like you can just pick any other project in the (program) and take the funds from there,” Anderson said. “It’s going to have to come from something in the same category of which the bonds were sold.”

Meanwhile, Councilman Steve Schmitt questioned whether council members would have input into the location of the cameras.

“I’ve been asking for awhile for a meeting to identify where these would go and have not been able to get an answer,” Schmitt said.

Trelka said his department has been using some pole cameras to date but did not want to reveal where those or new cameras would be installed.

“We have six or seven challenging neighborhoods where we want to mount them without letting people realize that they’re there,” he said.

Boys and Girls Clubs eyes larger building
 Tim Jamison  / 

WATERLOO — The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Cedar Valley are looking at a new center to serve local youth.

The Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a special permit for the organization to build a Teen and Educational Center at 809 E. Fourth St.

“We are currently looking into the possibility of obtaining land on East Fourth Street to use as a teen center,” said Chuck Rowe, the club’s chief executive officer. “Every day in the Cedar Valley there are teens with no place to go, no place to do their homework and nowhere to find positive role models.

“We are strongly looking into the idea of providing a space that meets those needs,” he added. “Today’s meeting could be step one in getting us in that direction.”

The proposed site, which is just a block from the Boys and Girls Clubs building at 515 Lime St., currently houses a 105-year-old retail building which has been vacant since 2006 and was recently acquired by the city through a court order.

The building has been deemed dangerous and will be torn down with plans to sell the vacant lot to the Boys and Girls Clubs through a development agreement. The City Council has committed $30,000 in federal Block Grant funding to the project.

The permit request is expected to go before the Board of Adjustment for final approval on Sept. 26, including a variance to the number of parking stalls required by ordinance.

“I am a little concerned about the parking,” said commissioner Sue Flynn. “I’m all for the building of this, I just want to make sure we have adequate parking.”

Rowe noted most of the teens served by the club don’t have their own vehicles, while the small parking lot at the current location has been adequate.

The Boys and Girls Clubs provides after-school and other programming focused on character and leadership development, education and career development, life skills, arts, and recreation and sports. Bob Tyson, who serves on the planning commission and community development boards, applauded the club’s efforts to expand.

“I just think if it gets passed it would be a great addition to that area and would tie into the Waterloo schools,” he said. “It’s certainly needed.”

Small fraction of Black Hawk County's registered voters turn out for election
 Andrew Wind  / 

WATERLOO — Only a small fraction of registered voters across Black Hawk County came to the polls in Tuesday’s board of education elections.

Of the county’s 87,424 registered voters, 3,103 cast ballots in the elections, or 3.55 percent, according to statistics from the auditor’s office. But the percentage that turned out in each of the five school districts grew where there were contested races and ballot measures.

Waterloo Community Schools, with more than half of the county’s registered voters, had a 0.85 percent turnout, or 413 people casting ballots. Originally, there were two contested races, but one candidate for each seat dropped out. A third at-large seat on the ballot was unopposed.

Both the Cedar Falls and Hudson community schools had four candidates vying for three at-large seats. In Hudson, 128 voters came to the polls, or 4.9 percent of those registered. In Cedar Falls, 1,255 people voted, a 4.1 percent turnout.

Dunkerton and Union community schools both had a referendum on the ballot along with their school board candidates.

Dunkerton had a bond issue and one of its three board seats on the ballot also was contested. Union had a physical plant and equipment levy, but none of the races on its ballot were contested.

A total of 634 voters came to the polls in the Union district, or 14.74 percent of registered voters. Dunkerton had the highest turnout with 303 voters, or 18.3 percent of the total number eligible.

Sept. 14, 2017

Q: Is Terry Swails of KGAN the same person that worked for KWWL about 30 years ago?

A: Yes. He was hired at KWWL when he was still in college.

Q: Since Jerry Lewis passed away is his telethon completely done?

A: It’s been over for a couple of years. In 2015 the Muscular Dystrophy Association ended the telethon, citing “the new realities of television viewing and philanthropic giving.”

Q: Can you reprint the addresses for the New York Post and Washington Post? Also the same for Steve Colbert?

A: Write to the Post at 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, DC, 20071, or send email through the website at Write to the Times at 620 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018, or send email through the website at Send mail to Colbert in care of CBS at 51 W. 52nd St., New York, NY 10019-6188.

Q: What is canola oil made from?

A: It’s made from the canola plant. According to the U.S. Canola Association, “Canadian scientists used traditional plant breeding in the 1960s to eliminate the undesirable components of rapeseed and created ‘canola,’ a contraction of ‘Canadian’ and ‘ola.’ ... Canola belongs to the same family as mustard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Besides the U.S., it is grown in Canada and Australia.”

Q: Is it OK to eat the skin of cucumbers?

A: According to Iowa State Extension, “Yes, it is safe to eat them and actually good for you. The peel of the cucumber is a good source of dietary fiber that can help reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. First step, soak them in cold water for a few minutes to loosen dirt then wash the cucumber gently with a cloth or paper towel to remove dirt, sprays or anything that may have landed on the skin. Then slice and eat.”

Q: What year does The Courier’s pictorial history books start with?

A: The first Cedar Valley Memories contains photos from the late 1800s through the 1930s.

Q: Are they going to repair the big bumps on U.S. Highway 218 coming out of Waterloo toward Washburn?

A: At this point the Iowa Department of Transportation does not have any major resurfacing or reconstruction projects planned for this section of U.S. 218. Iowa DOT officials said they will continue to monitor the highway and address maintenance issues as they arise.

Q: Is it the city or the railroad starting to tear up under the Logan overpass?

A: No. That’s a contractor hired by the Iowa Department of Transportation, which is doing preparation work for next year’s construction project to replace the underpass with a railroad overpass.

Q: In the Sunday editorial was a comment that a private constituent provided Bruce Jacobs with incorrect information about Mr. Leslie. Is there a way to find out who this constituent was since it involves public matters? If not, can it be found out through the Freedom of Information Act?

A: The email Edwin Leslie referenced after obtaining it through an open records request was sent by Don Schare to Bruce Jacobs.