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District Update 1-7-11

by Bill Heimann

January 07, 2011

Welcome to 2011...the following information is the latest district news update. 

The purpose of this update is to share information regarding:

  1. Board of Education January 6th meeting summary

The following is a summary of the January 6th Board of Education meeting, provided from the superintendent’s perspective:

Bruce Sedivy, newly elected member, took his oath of office along with members Dennis Francke and David Doran, who were re-elected to another four year term. The board reorganized and elected Dennis Francke as President, Andy Grosshans as Vice President, Dale Rolofson as Treasurer and David Doran as Secretary.

Mr. Engel, Hamlow elementary principal, introduced two kindergarten and one 2nd grade teacher, who gave a presentation to the board, sharing their excitement about “writers workshop” and how teachers are implementing instructional strategies that are creating fun and authentic learning experiences for students.

Sheriff Deputies from Lancaster County talked with board regarding the school resource officer contract for next year. The current contract expires in July 2011. Two resource officers split time between four schools (Malcolm, Norris, Raymond Central, Waverly). We share an officer with Raymond Central, meaning we have a deputy on site during the school day for two or three days each week. The financial costs to the district covers a portion for the salary. Lancaster county pays for the sheriff’s training, equipment, vehicle, mileage, dispatcher, etc.

High school and middle school principals spoke in favor of the resource officer, stating that this provides an additional element of safety/security that would not be available without the contract. A uniformed officer on campus is a deterrent. The consistency of having the same officer interacting with students, parents, staff, and administrators was discussed, as well as the various issues that Deputy Moeller has been involved with in our schools (theft, assault, criminal mischief/vandalism, drug/alcohol possession/use). There are incidents that he is involved with where no citation is given, such as reported child abuse and/or family issues that require intervention by law enforcement. He also helps educate and counsel kids about making good choices and potential consequences for behaviors, including the use of electronic media. He has given presentations to students and staff on requested topics. Board action on the contract will be considered at the February meeting. The new contract under consideration is for August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2013, at a cost of $10,852.

The high school principal and guidance counselors presented the Nebraska Department of Education’s Rule 10 graduation requirements for school districts. By state mandate, the freshman class in 2011-12 (this year’s 8th grade) will be required to complete three years of both math and science to graduate. Currently, the state (and WHS) requires two years. This mandate begins with the graduating class of 2015. This means that in 2013-14, we will have to provide opportunities for all 11th graders to take a math and science class. Currently, only 11th graders who choose to take a third year of math/science do so. Mr. Ricenbaw, Mrs. Verkamp and Mr. Boitnott told the board how these changes will impact Waverly High School, and the possible options that would be necessary to meet these changes. Math offerings at WHS were expanded last year, and we have sufficient science offerings as well; although we will probably need to provide additional science courses by 2013-14 because a chemistry, physics, or advanced biology course that are typically used as third year science options may not best meet the needs of all students. An issue to resolve in the future will be how to provide the teaching staff to accommodate the increased numbers of students who will take these required courses.

Administrators provided written reports that highlighted many student and staff accomplishments. The superintendent reported that the Nebraska Legislature began its 90 day session.

LB 18 was introduced by Senator Greg Adams, chair of the education committee. LB 18 amends the Nebraska Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA) in order to provide for distribution of allocations from the federal Education Jobs Fund; and change the state aid certification date from March 1 to July 1.

LB 18 is is meant to be placed on the legislative fast-track for several reasons.

First, it is the intent of the bill to address the receipt of approximately $59 million from the federal government under the federal Education Jobs Fund and to include those funds as part of the overall appropriation for state aid to education.

Second, it is the intent of the bill to delay the certification of state aid until no later than July 1, 2011 so that the Legislature will have ample time to pass a revised state aid formula for the 2011-12 school fiscal year.  The certification date would return to March 1st for 2012 and beyond.

The floor debate on the comprehensive school finance revision bill, which has yet to be introduced, will likely not take place until late April at the earliest.  The Legislature will want to hear what the Economic Forecast Advisory Board has to say (in late February and late April) about revenue projections before spending measures can be addressed. 

The Board of Education took action to:

  1. Approve board policy 2200 – administrative positions on second reading.
  2. Conducted first reading on board policy 5023 to increase math/science graduation requirements for the class of 2015
  3. Approved an organization (PAX) to be utilized for placement of foreign exchange students at the high school.
  4. Approved a contract with DLR Group to provide services for replacement of doors at each of the elementary schools required by fire/safety codes.

Costs for the project will be paid with bonds that were issued as part of the high school drain tile project. Work is to be completed during the summer of 2011.

The Board discussed the 2011-12 calendar, which will be approved at the February meeting. Staff members have been involved in recommending adjustments to the calendar.  The board will convene a special meeting on January 17th at 7:00am to take action on certified staff members who have made application for the separation benefit program (Policy 4750). Applications will be accepted until January 15th. The budget calendar was reviewed and future budget planning dates were identified. Attendance at future board trainings was discussed. The board decided to move its regular February meeting from Feb. 7 to Thursday, February 3rd to accommodate attendance at the Labor Relations conference February 7-8 in Kearney.  

We are still searching for a mechanic for our district transportation, please refer any interested persons to either Carleen Dowding or Robin Hoffman.


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Jan. 7, 2011 district update

Date Subject Posted by:
01/17/2011 Especially in the current climate of increasing drug and violence problems in schools nationwide, I think the cost of a resource officer is minimal compared to the costs associated with turning a blind eye to these issues. Ultimately, events that seem isolated or more prevalent in larger cities and school systems creep into smaller towns and schools. It seems like cheap insurance against the unthinkable to me. V/R Mark Forster Mark Forster forster@ais-ne.com Rural Lancaster County Aerial Refueling Program Manager, Nebraska Air National Guard

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