School board approves 2020-21 budget

OSMOND — The District 42R School Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, began with the annual budget and tax asking hearings, followed by other required hearings for parental and guardian involvement, student fees, student bullying and Title I policies. Later during the meeting, the board adopted the 2020-21 budget showing a total budget of disbursements and transfers for all funds in the amount of $6,481,839; they also adopted the tax request resolution.

Report Given by Principal

Principal Kurt Polt reported that the distance learning version of the English classes for grades nine through 12 is off to a good start. It took some time for the students to adjust to this style of learning, and to learn how to ask questions and seek help on assignments, but this has steadily improved, he said. In reply to board member Mark Moes’s comment that he heard some students still have a hard time understanding the teacher, Polt said that is being taken care of, and that it works better if the students use ear buds.

Mr. Polt reported on fire and tornado drills practiced in August and K-12 bus evacuation drills held the first day of school. He also reported that the senior class has begun sending him information for their senior banners, although very few have sent pictures so far.

Polt announced that a homecoming pep rally will be held on Monday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. There might be a smaller pep rally that Friday after lunch, which would involve introducing the homecoming court downtown and give the band a chance to march for the public. As far as the one to be held Monday, pictures of the court will be taken on the field after the game to promote social distancing and to allow the public to attend. Also, he said, no out-of-town or out-of-school dates will be allowed to attend the dance.

The principal advised that marching band parades have been canceled; however, the Marching Tigers will march on the Wayne State College campus for the WSC Band Day on Oct. 17 (postponed from Oct. 3). Also, the band will march in Osmond on Oct. 3 and videotape their performance for the virtual March to the Meridian competition.

Mr. Polt also reported on an inservice Wednesday, Sept. 16, optional senior ACT testing on Sept. 22, and that the one-act play practice is going well.

Superintendent Gives Report

Superintendent Dave Hamm reported that the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) area meeting is going to be recorded and released Sept. 30. After discussion, it was agreed all board members will be registered and, once released, he will send them the links to view the content at their convenience.

The NASB state conference will be held both in-person and virtually, Hamm said, and asked for input on what board members want to do. Moes commented that, if students are restricted in their school events, then board members should not attend in person, to which other board members agreed.

Mr. Hamm advised that, as most had heard in the school’s voice message that was sent out, ALL student breakfasts and lunches will be free throughout the first semester. The federal government has extended the summer food service program until Dec. 31. This will, however, be restricted to those students on-site.

In his report on the kitchen remodeling project, Mr. Hamm said they came in slightly under his original estimate of costs, and extended thanks to Dwight Kahny for all his hard work in getting the work done. He also invited board members to take a look at the kitchen after the meeting, which they did.

The superintendent shared information on a spreadsheet of MAPS assessment data which compared students’ scores from last winter to their scores taken recently. The scores are down slightly, but many could still be above the norm, he said.

“This validates what we’ve been saying — there’s no substitute for in-person learning,” Hamm said.

Hamm advised that Toni Arehart from ESU 8 would be joining him for classroom visits on Tuesday, and reported on the following: the district has received its 2020-21 accreditation certificate; the recent ALICAP audit and annual school audit; repairs to the lights on the football field; Canvas student learning program, and visiting with a student English teacher about a possible contract for 2020-21.

Mr. Hamm also advised that board President Michelle Reikofski is running for a district office on the NASB, and said he will be voting for her when he gets the ballot.

Other Business Discussed

In other business, building committee member Moes shared a price quote he had gotten for adding a bay to the bus barn. It is not something they will be taking action on, just something for them to look at, he said. As far as work to be done on the yellow building, the committee will bring something to the October meeting, he added.

After a review of policy changes, during which Mr. Hamm quickly explained each of the changes, additions and deletions, the board approved revising, adopting, deleting and reviewing policies as recommended by the district’s legal counsel.

Propane Bus Purchased

As the last item on the agenda, the board reviewed information on a new bus, which has been discussed at previous meetings. The proposed new propane bus will replace the 2006 bus. There will be a $55,753 reimbursement upon purchase of the new bus and destruction of the old one.

Upon purchase of this one, the four main buses for the district will be 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2021, so the district will be set for years, Hamm said.

The board approved the purchase of the 2021 Blue Bird propane bus from Nebraska/Central Equipment for a district cost not to exceed $40,000.

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