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Sale of former Maytag home could be final Monday

For the last several months, Newton’s Community School Board of Education has been trying to sell the former Maytag home/District Office and during Monday’s meeting, the process may finally be complete.

The board will hold the second and final public hearing on the matter at 6:30 p.m. in the Emerson Hough conference room. A vote will take place during a latter portion of the meeting, on whether or not to accept the $57,311 bid from Steve and Laura Jochems.

During the first public hearing on Aug. 5, outgoing board member Dennis Combs was the only ‘No’ vote on the agreement to accept the Jochems’ bid. Combs’ vote was based on the fact he wanted to add purchasing stipulations to the deal, which Superintendent Bob Callaghan warned against and other board members disagreed with.

“I would say that we should have done that long ago, if that was our intent,” board member Donna Cook said during the Aug. 9 hearing. “Since we have not, we need to go with what we have now. I think that it’s important that we get rid of the property now.”

Unless there is significant public outcry during the hearing, the measure is expected to pass and board member Nat Clark expressed his desire to see it put back to use in the Aug. 9 hearing.

“I feel we told the public we would do our due diligence in emptying the building, so we could sell it,” Clark said. “It’s empty, and somebody wants to buy it. Get rid of it, and get it back on the tax rolls to where we get financial assistance from someone who owns it paying taxes.”

Callaghan will also give an update on the district-wide back-to-school assembly which took place last Friday at Newton Senior High School. In a previous interview with the Daily News, Callaghan commented on the assembly.

“This is the time to rekindle the fire in the teachers and inspire them because they’re going to turn around and help kids reach their dreams, so you have to start with the leadership,” Callahan said.

During this assembly, district staff reaffirmed their commitment to the district’s mission statement by pledging an oath and signing a card with the statement printed on it.

“Our commitment has to be to the kids. It has to be students first, and today was an outward representation of placing kids first,” Callahan said.

In other business:

• Elementary and Secondary Educational Services Directors Jim Gilbert and Tina Ross, respectively, will provide the board with an update on the district’s Annual Yearly Progress or AYP.

• Callaghan will present the board with options for selecting a law firm to aide in the district’s expulsion hearings.

• An update on Board Policies 500 and 600. 500 focuses on students, while 600 addresses a variety of issues and contains the district’s mission statement.

• Selection of the districts Iowa School Board Association representative and compiling a list of the district’s top five issues they want to be addressed at the 2013-14 ISBA legislative session.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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