District 42R school board has much to discuss at June 8 meeting

OSMOND — The District 42R Board of Education met Monday, June 8, with a number of items to discuss.

Principal’s Report Given

Principal Kurt Polt told board members that Niobrara Public School, from which Osmond Community School will be receiving English classes via distance learning, has sent their class schedule. He told the board that, after comparing the two scheduled, he had proposed to Superintendent Dave Hamm that Osmond adopts Niobrara’s bell schedule.

The major change would be adding a homeroom period, the positives of which would be that the Student Learning Teams could use that time. Time would also be saved during first period because attendance, lunch count, announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance would be done during homeroom time.

The school day would be lengthened, but only by nine minutes, Polt said. The two high school lunch shifts would have to be adjusted as well, and the possibility of combining it into one lunchtime was suggested. Mr. Polt added that this will affect electives, and several days in August will be set aside to re-register students for classes; however, English is a core class and is a priority.

Mr. Hamm commented that this will be something where the district will have to be flexible, and might find out it works better. Hamm included information about the costs for the English position: Niobrara’s policy states that they pay 3% of base salary per semester for someone teaching distance learning classes. District 42R will be charged $1,113 per semester per class taken, or $11,130. Additionally, Niobrara will charge approximately $10,000 in benefits, so the total bill will be approximately $21,000.

In answer to a question about former English teacher Scott Morrison’s other classes, Mr. Polt said he had mass media, but Robin Wagner is interested in that class.

Mr. Polt also reported that plans for graduation and prom are progressing. The city auditorium, where prom will be held, has a capacity of 540. So at this point, according to health directives, it will not be a problem, although the tables might have to be spread out. As far as the dance, he said, the floor might have to be divided into quarters and put 25 people in each. With the event still a month away, he is hoping things will open up more.

Mr. Polt advised that he has not given up on having a kindergarten roundup. He said he hopes that, in July, he will be able to set a date in August before school starts.

Superintendent Reports

Superintendent Hamm gave a report on the work that has been done so far on the kitchen, and invited board members to take a look after the meeting. He also advised that he had placed an ad in the local newspaper for the custodial position that is open. He added that Christina Gubbels has been promoted to the head custodian position.

Mr. Hamm advised that the dates for student testing and summer school have been set. All students in grades 1-6 will be tested July 13-16 and, after analyzing the results, those who need it will come in for summer School July 22-Aug. 4. Hamm said that is the best chance to get kids caught up on skills they may have missed this spring, and will give teachers an idea where students are academically before school starts.

The superintendent advised that some schools are requiring students and parents to sign waiver forms before allowing them to enter their facilities or participate in schoolsponsored activities — strictly because of COVID-19. Osmond is not doing that, he said, but the district is still following precautions, keeping a certain number of people in an area, sterilizing areas, etc. He just wanted the board to be aware that’s an option.

Hamm reported that he and athletic director Brian Guenther have been working on extra duty assignments and they are mostly complete except for wrestling and girls’ basketball, although they do have prospects for those sports.

Mr. Hamm said it had come to his attention that a patron was concerned that Osmond is not voting in the NSAA Representative Assembly. He explained this is where elected officers from each district vote on legislation that has passed at least two districts to advance to the assembly. Since he is no longer an officer for District III, Osmond does not send anyone to the assembly. There are 60 schools in District II, he added, but they only send six individuals to vote at the assembly.

The superintendent reminded board members that all credit card bills, as well as all other bills, are available for inspection at each board meeting. Board members can come in early, before the meeting, to look them over, or they are available for inspection at the school the same day packets go out to the board members.

Superintendent Hamm discussed the idea of purchasing a propane bus for the district. Dwight Kahny has spoken with Tyler Cox of Nebraska-Central Equipment. A grant, which Cox offered to complete, would give the district the opportunity to purchase a $93,000 bus for $37,169. The board would not be committed to getting the bus. If selected, they would need to approve the purchase of the bus at that time. After some discussion about gaining access to a filling station, the benefits of this type of bus and the need for a new bus (the 2003 bus is pushing 20 years old), Hamm was given approval to have Cox go ahead with filling out the application.

Hamm reported Osmond is eligible for $27,984 from the CARES Act, with $4,841 designated for St. Mary’s. The remaining $23,000, he said, will probably be used for iPad and chrome book purchases that had transpired since March 13, and possibly to pay for fuel and salaries for delivery of meals.

Hamm advised that bowling has now been approved as a sport in Nebraska, and asked if that is something Osmond would want to add. It is generally kids who aren’t in any other sport who participate in bowling. He also added that Osmond does not have any kids who qualify for Unified Bowling, so Osmond will not be participating in that activity this year.

Other Business

Board President Michelle Reikofski said a tentative date of June 22 is set to speak with Wausa again about sharing and asked the board members’ thoughts on having fiveand 10-year plans. Wausa wants to have that type of plan, but others want to be more flexible

Reikofski said that something she had thought about doing before COVID-19 sent the students home was having a list of activities and having the students from both schools mark what they’re interested in. Other board members thought that was a good idea.

Board members discussed what to do about surfacing the track. He advised that concrete is going to be poured for the long and triple jump runway. Board member Larry Krohn asked if they should have a workshop to discuss where to go from here; however, another comment was made that since the school bond issue failed, this might be a bad time to discuss doing a new one. The board suggested having Hamm get information about what it will cost to have work done on the track.

The board also discussed the yellow building. Board member Mark Moes said he had talked to Randy Jochum, who is on the committee in charge of the yellow building, and he suggested sitting together and having a conversation. Because of work that needs to be done on the building, Board member LaDonna Stanosheck said if it gets “revamped,” that committee needs to pay something.

In other business, the board:

— after discussion on several options, adopted a new superintendent evaluation tool.

— set the school lunch program prices for 2020-21 as follows: all breakfasts, $1.95; K-6 lunches $2.85, 7-12 lunches $3.05 and adult lunches at $3.65.

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