Published On: Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017

Wausa School Board wants to see state funding for schools changed

WAUSA — Wausa Public School board members passed a joint resolution Monday between ESU 1 and ESU 8 to support Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform and Education to urge the Nebraska legislature to reduce property taxes and make public school funding less reliant on those taxes.
Despite 60 percent of all property taxes collected in Nebraska go toward funding K-12 education, Lincoln-based think-tank Open Sky Policy Institute reports Nebraska is ranked 49th in funding coming from state resources. Nebraska public schools currently receive 33 percent of their funding from state resources, creating an over-reliance on local property taxes.
The goal of the coalition is to provide adequate funding for education, while also reducing the property tax rate for citizens.
Wausa Supt. Brad Hoesing said he was pleased to see so many schools supporting the coalition.
“It’s nice schools are starting to unify on this,” Hoesing said.
The resolution was approved unanimously by the board.
The board also approved a 10 cent increase to elementary, high school and adult lunch prices.
Hoesing said this was done in order to comply with federal free and reduced lunch program offerings, which set the minimum lunch price rates.
Mike Kumm expressed skepticism toward the federally-mandated minimum, but voted in favor regardless.
“It seems like an awfully nit-picky thing to put a minimum, but no maximum,” Kumm said.
The board also approved Hoesing to act as the Wausa Public School’s Superintendent Liason for the Homeless. Hoesing said the job exists as a way for a school representative to communicate with homeless students. He holds a public meal in his office every August as a way to talk with those students.
“What happens is I just eat my lunch in my office and nobody shows up,” Hoesing said. “I’d be pretty concerned if someone actually did show up.”
The Board also adopted 24 standard policies. Brian Wakeley made a motion for the board to waive the standard two-reading requirement and adopt all policies in order to speed up the process. The two-reading requirement requires the board to discuss every policy at length before making the decision to adopt them. The motion was approved and each policy was adopted.
According to Hoesing’s report, several Wausa students have begun summer school by taking online Algebra II classes. He said the classes will help students decide if they like online classes before they encounter them in college.
“There’s a bit of mumbling, but I think that it’s good they’re getting that experience,” Hoesing said.
Hoesing also read Activities Director Greg Conn’s report. The NSAA awarded the Wausa girls third place in the NSAA Cup for Class D. The competition tracks the success of all girls’ sports and activities through a point system and tallies everything up at the end of the school year.
“That was a nice surprise,” Hoesing said. “That’s a big honor.”
The board closed the meeting by discussing their superintendent evaluation. The evaluations were positive, and Hoesing thanked them for their constructive criticisms. He said he’s proud of the work they’ve accomplished over the past year and is looking forward to improving even more.
“I am your arm, I speak for you,” Hoesing said. “We do some great stuff, and we also have some things for us to work on.”