Stacey Struck

Stacey Struck

A decision to approve new policies for facilities use and travel were tabled Monday night after Bettendorf School Board members exchanged sharp words.

The board has worked for months to revise several policies that relate to the district's re-audit by the Iowa Auditor's Office and the resignation of former Bettendorf High School Principal Jimmy Casas.

When several board members appeared to be poised to approve the changes — mostly hammered out by the policy committee — former board president Pepper Trahan raised several questions on details.

Trahan said repeatedly she wants a person to be accountable for various policy areas, but a member of the policy committee, Stacey Struck, indicated language changes were called for legal reasons.

Further, Struck said that Trahan had been apprised of the changes weeks ago and that Trahan started a prolonged discussion unnecessarily.

Trahan said she chose to spend time with her family and also had been on vacation.

Gordon Staley, the new board president, asked members to relay their concerns to the policy committee, made up of Steuck, Betsy Justis and Paul Castro, before a public meeting.

"You have valid concerns," he said to Trahan and suggested that airing them first before the committee would make the meeting run more efficiently.

"You may have to get used to this," he said.

Trahan said she brought out necessary questions, in public, on how the new process is to work.

One part of the new process was explained by Bettendorf Activities Director Kevin Skillett and Chris Howard, who manages the Performing Arts Center at Bettendorf High School.

The two men demonstrated an online booking process, from rSchool Today, that also is used in neighboring districts, including North Scott and Clinton.

One major aspect is that it requires people who rent the school facilities to have some form of liability insurance, with a policy number to be included in the sign-up process.

There are exceptions, and the board decided this area will be the responsibility of the district's activities director, Skillett, or his designee.

Nonprofit organizations, such as the Bettendorf Wrestling Club, are made up of "our people," Skillett said, including Bettendorf volunteers, boosters and residents. They do a lot of work in the district's behalf and should be treated differently from, for example, an out-of-town for-profit vendor.

The board agreed in principle, and that change, and others, will be considered at a future session.

Staley pointed out there is some urgency and asked board members to inform the policy committee of changes or concerns before Friday.

"We need to get our ducks in a row," he said, adding he thinks the board's inaction is holding up different entities, including the public.