Published On: Thu, Mar 20th, 2008

HPS parents lobby for better band facilities

HARTINGTON — Hartington School Board members were asked last week to create a permanent space for a band room at the school.
Currently, band students have to move their instruments from storage and set up in the Commons area.
“We need a band room,” said Julie Fuelberth. “When we have someone as passionate as our band instructor we need to do something.”
There are 56 students in the high school band, which is under the direction of Doyle Anderson, who is the Band Instructor along with the Junior High and High School Choir Director.

“This is something that over half of the high school students are involved in,” said Fuelberth.
Board member Colin Kathol said he can understand the need for a band room.
“This topic has been brought up to me before,” said Kathol. “I don’t know how we could justify adding on to the school when the enrollment is down. At one time there were 50 students in a class, now we are down to 25 in a class.”
Board member Ron Pearson said the board members do not put their focus on one activity over the others even though it may seem that way at times.
“It may seem like we concentrate on sports but that is not the only thing we are concerned about,” said Pearson. “We do need to maintain what we have, though.”
Fuelberth asked if consideration could be given to using or leasing part of the Catholic School which is right next door.
“It is a beautiful facility,” said Fuelberth.
Swisher said he did not think that would be a good option.
“We would have to cover up all of the crosses or any of the religious symbols if the school used the facility,” said Swisher.
Board member Jason Dendinger suggested it would be good to hear from other people on this issue.
“We need to know how many more want this,” said Dendinger.
In other action, the Board learned that bills could be coming out of the Nebraska Legislative session that could affect schools across Nebraska.
According to figures from the Nebraska State Forecasting Board, there will be less money available for education.
There is also a bill before the Legislature that would change some budgeting procedures schools are now allowed to use.
“The problem is we don’t know what will come out of the Legislative session,” said Supt. Scott Swisher. “This could hit us immediately.”
The Nebraska Legislature is also considering replacing STARS (School-based Teacher-led Assessment and Reporting System) which is currently the program used as an assessment tool for schools.
“The senators have a problem with STARS because you cannot compare schools,” said Swisher.
With STARS the school districts are required to report to the state the performance of all students in fourth, eighth and eleventh grades.
“If STARS is out, we may have to change our curriculum to match the new assessment,” said Swisher.
Online schooling is something that needs to be addressed by the Nebraska Legislature, according to Swisher.

Technology in education is moving faster than legislation, said Swisher. Schools using online education could have a large number of students with only a few teachers. Should the number of students in these schools be used as one of the factors in state aid?
Special Education Director Steve Helgeland  asked board members to approve a contract between the Hartington School and Epworth Village at York.
“We have a student who is being placed out of the district for discipline reasons,” said Helgeland. “We are still responsible for the education of the student.”