Marlis Robberts had been the leader for the past five years.

After five years of presiding over Burlington School Board meetings as board president, Marlis Robberts on Monday handed over the reigns to the board's vice president, Bryan Bross.

School boards select their president and vice president each year. There are no limits to the number of times a board member can be elected to either position, but Robberts felt five years was long enough.

"I am very honored to serve as your president for the past five years," Robberts told the board after Business Director and board secretary Greg Reynolds, acting as president pro tem, called the organizational meeting to order. "I appreciate the confidence the board has shown in me and the support during the last five years."

Robberts went on to thank her fellow board members for their dedication to the school board and their time spent volunteering for the betterment of the school district. She also applauded the amount of work Superintendent Pat Coen does for the district.

"The one thing I am most proud of to come from our board during the past five years was obtaining the dedicated superintendent that we have. Most people don't know how many hours Mr. Coen works," she continued. "As board president, I have received text messages and calls as early as 5 a.m. from Mr. Coen and as late as 1 a.m. from Mr. Coen. To say he works 70 hours a week is a major understatement."

She went on to say she felt it is time for new board leadership and nominated Bross for her long-held spot at the head of the board table. No other nominations were made, and Bross's appointment to board president was approved by roll call vote.

Board member Tom Courtney nominated Deborah Hatteberg for board vice president. Robberts nominated board member Darven Kendell for the same appointment. Bross was the first to be called on to vote. After a few moments of indecision from Bross, Hatteberg volunteered to refuse the nomination, leaving Kendell as the only nominee. His appointment was approved unanimously by role call vote.

The shift in leadership comes as the board is facing the likely possibility of shuttering or repurposing at least one of the district's school buildings to "rightsize" the district as it faces a continual projected decline in student enrollment.


Two students filled in the school board on this week's homecoming events.

Following this year's homecoming theme, There's No Place Like Homecoming, today's dress theme is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Students are encouraged to wear their rainbow gear. On Wednesday, students will dress up like their favorite vine (a short video clip, not the plant) or meme. Thursday is Jinx Day, wherein students will wear black and red, the colors of the Fort Madison Bloodhounds, and Friday is Grayhound Pride day.

The Homecoming parade will be at 6 p.m. Thursday along West Avenue. The carnival will follow in the Burlington High School cafeteria. The prep assembly and king coronation will be at 8:30 p.m.

Friday will be an earlier start, with WQAD at the high school at 5:45 a.m. to stream a pep assembly. The Booster Club will provide free breakfast pizza to all students who show up for the early morning assembly, and the first 30 people to show up will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card.

The game against the Bloodhounds will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Bracewell Stadium, with the queen coronation at halftime. The homecoming dance will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday in the high school cafeteria. Tickets are $10 each.


In other business, the school board approved a $1,125 agreement with J & M Displays Inc. for fireworks during 2018-19 football games.

The board also heard from Curriculum Director Cory Johnson about the $30,283 the district was awarded through the state's $1 million Computer Science Professional Development Incentive fund thanks to a grant written by grant coordinator Cassie Gerst. The money will be put toward 21st Century classrooms at the elementary schools, expanding computer science and coding offerings and professional development and coursework for teachers. 

The Burlington was one of 49 school districts in the state to receive money from that fund.