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Yoder Restricted from Volunteering, Board to Take Vote on Superintendent

Posted: Monday, April 30th, 2018 at 6:29 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Trent Yoder spoke at a special Mid-Prairie School Board meeting April 28. Photo by Sam McIntosh.

The Mid-Prairie High School multipurpose room was filled with community members, parents, and staff Saturday morning as the school board held a special meeting to discuss policies and procedures related to volunteers and community organizations.

Board President Jeremy Pickard said the board felt they needed to have this meeting after a closed session was held on April 23rd discussing volunteer Trent Yoder, and it was not a reaction to the media coverage surrounding Yoder and his criminal record. According to Iowa court records, Yoder was convicted of one count of sexual exploitation of children in 1998 and served one and a half months in prison and four years of probation. He was taken off of the sex offender registry in 2008. Yoder gave a statement at the meeting, “I want to tell you that because I am so grateful of the way I have been treated here and because I don’t want Mid-Prairie to be seen in a bad light I will right now formally announce that I will not volunteer at any Mid-Prairie events for the remainder of the year. I don’t want the school board to have to make any rushed decisions.”

Yoder has children who attend Mid-Prairie. Since he went through a background check and appeal process to be allowed to volunteer in 2015, he said he has volunteered four times for the district, chaperoned three field trips, and built the last four play sets, with an adult with him at all times. Yoder mentioned that the Mid-Prairie Spelling Club he coaches is not a Mid-Prairie sponsored or sanctioned club. He said the parents of students in the club are now well aware of his felony record, and can decide whether to further allow their children to participate.

No action was taken at the meeting, as board members said it would take a couple of meetings to pass a resolution to change any volunteer or community organization policies. The board recommended administrative staff form a committee to review those policies. They echoed Yoder’s decision to restrict him from volunteering for the district for the rest of the school year while policies are reviewed.

Superintendent Mark Schneider stated, “While I have enjoyed my 30 year career as a Mid-Prairie teacher, elementary principal, and superintendent, in order for me to help work toward a resolution to this issue and the other important issues facing this district I need the support of the school board, school staff, parents, and community. Therefore at the May 14th Mid-Prairie school board meeting I will ask the school board to take a vote of confidence or no confidence as it relates to my superintendent responsibilities.”

Schneider suggested the board use the time before May 14th to gather public opinion about his future effectiveness. If the board gives a vote of no confidence, Schneider will submit his resignation effective June 30.