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New driveway at Berg complex in the works

The Berg Elementary and Middle School complex is slated to receive a new driveway within the coming weeks.

Superintendent Steve McDermott said during Monday night’s regular Newton Community School District Board of Education meeting that the city’s safety committee, the Newton Police Department and the school’s neighborhood residents have been contacted, and the work should be completed before the first snowfall.

“The cost of the driveway would not be so high that the board would be required to vote on that,” McDermott told the board, noting, however, that costs were included “for the sake of openness.”

Two estimates were received from Jeff Seals Construction in Newton. The first included the new 6-foot-thick driveway with 98 feet of curb, grinding down of 43 feet of existing curb and redoing the city sidewalk for a materials and labor total of $9,165 plus $20 permit. The second price was $8,788 plus the $20 permit, which didn’t include replacement of the city sidewalk.

Precision Concrete of Brooklyn also submitted an estimate of $11,415 for the job.

The board unanimously voted to approve the project, with the contract awarded to Jeff Seals Construction.

Other items of interest during Monday night’s meeting:

• The board reviewed the district’s early retirement policy. The revised document from McDermott outlined the terms and conditions for early retirement, including that applicants must have been employed at least 31 hours per week for 10 consecutive years prior to application, and teachers, nurses, classified personnel and administrators all would be eligible for a taxable cash benefit in the amount of 20 percent of the salary being paid at the time of retirement or based on Schedule C.

“The program would not be as large ... as they were in the past, but yet significant enough to encourage some movement,” McDermott said, noting that the program would be made possible by a management fund with $450,000 currently available.

No action was taken, but a first reading of the early retirement policy could be on the next meeting agenda.

• During the Oct. 22 meeting, McDermott noted the immediate need for an assistant principal at Berg Elementary School. At Monday night’s meeting, he informed the board that candidates had been interviewed and current BMS assistant principal Todd Schuster will be transferred to the position once someone is hired to take his place.

Amy Martens can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 426 or via email at

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