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District Update 3-2-10

by Bill Heimann

March 02, 2010

District Update #13 includes:

  1. Board of Education Meeting Summary
  2. High School Gym Floor Update
  3. Nebraska Legislative Session

There are many outstanding accomplishments to acknowledge in District 145. When my family and I attended the Annual Band Booster Soup Supper and Concert in February, I was impressed by the musical talent of our students; the tremendous community support (1400 meals served), and the effective manner that the volunteer group conducted this event. This is one example of many that showcases the excellence in our district. I was able to participate in “Read Across America” events honoring (and promoting) Dr. Seuss and reading. It reminded me of the tremendous gift that teachers and parents provide to students (the joy of reading). Waverly Middle School students raised $1000 that they donated to the relief efforts in Haiti; Waverly High School had five wrestlers qualify and compete at the State Wrestling Tournament; Mr. Jack Guggenmos was named Nebraska’s Athletic Director of the Year. It is not difficult to find excellence in District 145!

This is a summary of district events from the perspective of the superintendent. The March Board meeting was held on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Mr. Patzel, Waverly Intermediate School Principal, introduced WIS teachers Mrs. Dalton (4th grade) and Mrs. Schuster (3rd grade). They showed a video that they created which displayed the progress teachers have made this year in teaching reading. The video included footage from several classrooms and interviews with teachers and students. Teachers are continually reviewing instructional strategies and working together to best meet the needs of students.  Mr. Dan Honeywell, Special Education Coordinator at the Middle School, presented information that has been collected this year regarding the addition of his position at the Middle School, and the addition of an elementary principal at WIS. The data shows that principals are spending more time focusing on interactions with teachers and students, and also have more opportunities to be proactive in addressing student discipline issues.

Board members gave reports on legislative issues; Foundation for Education awarded second semester grants to classroom teachers, funding made possible by the Before/After School program. Board committees (Building/Grounds; Planning and Development; Performance and Assessment) gave updates from their meetings that were held in the past month.

Action taken by the Board includes:

  1. Acceptance of donations, as required by Board Policy 3030, to the Instrumental Music Program ($4000 from Waverly VFW; $250 from Elizabeth and Joseph Posont).
  2. Contract with Waverly Pre-School for 2010-11
  3. Approval of 2010-11 school calendar (posted on district website)
  4. Approval of a one-year leave of absence for HS teacher Wendy Boitnott.

Board discussed start/dismissal times at all buildings. When the Middle School opened in Waverly, and Hamlow/WIS split buildings, start/ending times were adjusted to allow for transportation needs. This year, Eagle elementary has the equivalent of 4 ½ days less of instructional time compared to the other two elementary buildings. The Board discussed adjusting the start time at Eagle next year to 8:15am daily. This would add 14 ½ hours (2.25 days) of instruction during the school year. Every minute students are in school is important. The current schedule at each building is:

School/student days

Start Time

End Time

Instructional hours per day (annual)

Eagle (175)

8:20

3:05

6.418 (1123)

Hamlow (175)

8:25

3:20

6.585 (1152)

WIS (175)

8:30

3:30

6.585 (1152)

MS (176)

8:25

3:25

6.5 (1144)

HS (176)

8:40

3:40

6.5 (1144)

The Board also reviewed progress to achieve goals that were set for this year.

The investigation for the source of the water leak at the High School East Gym continues. The source of the leak has not been found. An additional core sample was drilled in the high school commons area last week, as well as a core sample on the exterior of the HS gym to determine the ground water level. Three new water samples have been taken from the east gym to validate the existence of tap water. Relative humidity testing is being conducted in the east gym, and water levels are being monitored as the temperature outside warms up. Pressure testing was recently completed on water supply lines in the science rooms. Cameras were used to examine roof drains at the east end of the high school. The 8 roof drains have pipes running inside the building and under the building…no leaks were found. We are also verifying that plumbing demolition (cutting and capping of water lines) in the south locker rooms due to the west gym addition were completed according to specifications. We should have all results of these latest procedures in approximately two weeks. Once we evaluate the results, we will determine next steps. There are no signs of moisture or damage in the west gym. The installation of a new floor cannot occur until we are certain that the cause of the leak has been identified and corrected – we are moving as quickly as possible in the process. Unfortunately, it is almost a certainty that graduation for the Class of 2010 will not be held in the HS east gym. Mr. Ricenbaw, HS Principal, is gathering information regarding other options.

Nebraska State Legislature is continues to grapple with budget shortfalls. State aid to schools was to be certified on March 1, 2010; that date was changed to March 10. On Feb. 26th, state revenue projections were reduced by $31 million. The latest news reports say part of the shortfall may be covered through federal stimulus funds. This means potentially that it will be even more difficult for the state to generate revenue to replace the $140 million federal stimulus dollars currently in the state aid formula. That is why it is imperative for District 145 to improve its financial position over the next 20 months because we may be facing another sharp decline in state funding beginning in 2011-12.  

Through the month of February, District 145 is approximately 3.4% under budget in regards to expenditures (an improvement from last month). Thus far, we have borrowed approximately $3,745,000 of short-term credit to meet cash flow needs (must be repaid prior by August 31, 2010)…but we did not access additional credit during February. We continue to focus on needs and prioritize our expenditures to meet the financial challenges in the future.

It has been a difficult winter, and it is great to see a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures! Spring brings planning for next year, and soon we will be hosting kindergarten round-up for the class of 2023! A visit to any classroom in the district reminds me of the immense responsibility of public schools – and the vast potential for our future. The bottom line…it’s all about student learning!!

Click here to view other District News Updates

District Update 3-2-10

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