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Bidding deadline extended on former Maytag home

With no sealed bids turned in by the July 15 deadline for the purchase of the former Maytag home/District Office, the Newton Community School District Board of Education voted to extend the bidding process for the RFP agreement another 10 days.

The last day that sealed bids can be turned into the district is Aug. 1 at noon. Once the board has looked over the bids, they will hold a special public hearing on Aug. 5.

Thombert Inc. CEO Walt Smith, who was in attendance for Monday’s meeting, said that he forget to place his bid because he was traveling in Europe with family. Smith did however; place a sealed bid for the property at Monday’s meeting.

“I’ve made a fairly low offer,” Smith said. “You may recall that I purchased the E.A. Maytag home—at a time that nobody thought it could be saved—and restored it. I think it’s a great home today. I’ve also been involved in the Fred Maytag II guest house last fall, intending to do something as I would do to this building.”

Smith said that the building would need extensive work and he had estimates that showed it would range in the hundreds of thousands to repair. He also stated that his intentions with the property would be to make it an office space for charitable organizations and a senior medical spa.

“It’s up to you,” Smith said to the board. “It’s an opportunity and I’m willing to take it on. I think it will benefit Newton.”

The board property located at 807 S. Sixth Ave. W. is currently valued at $167,357 by the real estate website

Smith also told that board that he would rescind his offer on Aug. 31, which warranted an exchange between board members.

“We don’t need to adjust our time frame, so that it benefits you,” board member Nat Clark said.

“Why would we not? Holy crap, that’s crazy. We’ve got somebody that will take that building, have you been in there?” board member Dennis Combs said.

During the vote on bills and for the second meeting in a row, board member Don Poynter used Robert’s Rules to raise a point of order towards board member Donna Cook. Cook was questioning Board Secretary/Director of Business Services Gayle Isaac about $70,000 in technology spending.

“Usually in the past, requests are put in writing before the meeting,” Poynter said.

“This is a meeting and it’s used to discuss business, remember?” Cook replied.

Cook has been requesting that the district form a technology spending plan for several months now. Board President Andy Elbert played peacemaker by asking that the board have patience with each other and informed Cook that the plan would be on the Aug. 12 agenda.

“The reason is that my two directors, have been utilizing some much needed time off, and my principals won’t be back until next week,” Superintendent Bob Callaghan said of the delay.

In other business:

• A resolution to name the district depositories was approved. Bank Iowa was added to the list and will hold $1,000,000 in district funds. US Bank and First National Bank of Newton each hold $5,000,000 in district funds.

• The vote for a new transportation vehicle was postponed. The transportation department said they needed more time on the matter.

• Contracts for the 2013-14 milk and bread bids were approved. Bimbo (formerly Sara Lee) won the bread bid and Hiland Dairy won the milk bid.

• The board approved a new three year contract with the city of Newton to provide three of the four crossing guards that the district utilizes. “We got a good thing going with the city,” Callaghan said. “Been a very good working relationship and the city does a good job of finding high quality people.”

The first reading for the Board Policy 700 series was approved. The 700 series is the boards guiding principles for Auxiliary Services, and the measure they approved pertained to transportation in the district.

“Transportation is a safety factor that is unique to itself,” Callaghan said.

The revised policy notifies parents that cameras are being used for safety purposes on school buses and that there is a four violation policy before bus privileges could be revoked.

• Violation one, involves the driver discussing the violation with the student and then notifying the parent.

• Violation two, involves the student receiving an “Unsatisfactory Bus Conduct Report.” A conference would also be held with the student, the driver, Transportation Supervisor Curt Roorda, and the building principal. A copy of the report would be mailed to parents.

• Violation three would consist of the same measures as two; however, a student would be dismissed from the bus between one and five days. A report would be mailed and parents would receive a phone call, whenever possible.

• The fourth violation would involve all bus privileges being revoked for the school year. Judgment for banishment would be conducted by the bus driver and Roorda. Violation four can occur as the fourth step in the process or if the driver feels that the student is a danger to other students, the bus or themselves.

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