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District 145 Superintendent Dr. Heimann helped kindergarten students on the first day of school.

District News Update 9-07-16

by Bill Heimann, Superintendent

September 06, 2016

The start to the school year has been terrific! School activities and events are listed on our calendar - click here to view.

We have over 2000 students enrolled in the district this year, which includes students attending the Early Childhood Program at Eagle Elementary. 

Besides the new students in our classrooms, this year we have a Lancaster County Sheriff Deputy, Officer Amanda May, in our district every day serving as a Resource Officer. Last year, she was in our district part-time, but thanks to a cooperative arrangement between the Sheriff's Department and the Board of Education, we are able to have her in Waverly every day school is in session. She will be visible at school and has been working on educating students on a variety of topics. She recently talked with Waverly Middle School students about social media. 

We are in the final stages of Phase 2 construction projects. Students and staff are enjoying technology upgrades as well as more mobile devices (chromebooks) available in the classroom. Security upgrades are nearing completion. This fall, safety upgrades will be implemented at Eagle Elementary, Hamlow Elementary and Waverly High School where the front doors will be locked during the school day and an electronic door entry system will be in place (similar to Waverly Middle School). In addition to all of the construction updates reported in the past several months, Waverly High School auditorium now has new stage curtains too.

The following is a news release from the Nebraska Department of Education:

The Nebraska State Board of Education has selected ACT to provide the standardized college entrance exam for Nebraska students in the 11th grade. Beginning in the spring of 2017, the exam will be administered to all high school juniors and will replace the current Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) assessment at that grade level. 

In April 2016, the Nebraska Legislature passed Legislative Bill 930 requiring public school students in the 11th grade to take a college admission test. In addition, the requirement for a statewide writing assessment will end after the 2016-17 school year and will be replaced with a statewide reading English Language Arts assessment, containing a writing component.

 “The selection of ACT represents our continued effort to provide equal opportunities across the state. All juniors will now have access to a college admission test, as there will no longer be a registration fee,” said Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt. “This exam will also provide a clearer picture of where Nebraska students are in terms of college and career readiness.”

A committee of reviewers received two proposals and selected ACT as the top proposal overall. Director of Statewide Assessment Valorie Foy said, “We are excited to partner with ACT to administer this exam. The ACT test content parallels the assessments that students have taken over the past seven years on NeSA: English Language Arts/Reading, Mathematics, Science and Writing.”

September 6, 2016 Board of Education Meeting

The Board of Education met on September 6 at the District Office.

A public hearing was convened for the purpose of hearing support, opposition, criticism, suggestions, or observations of taxpayers relating to the 2016-2017 proposed budget.

The board received a report about the progress on construction projects, as well as the upcoming AdvancED accreditation visit that will take place at the end of September. Click here to view details of the reports, information, and actions at the board meeting.

The Board took action to:

1. Accept an $800 donation from the Alvo-Eagle Alumni Association that will be used for Eagle Elementary. 

2. Approve the purchase of new office furniture at Hamlow Elementary and furniture for the media center at the high school, as well as for the high school pod areas. The furniture that will be replaced at Waverly High School will be in other locations in our schools. 

3. Approve several policies primarily due to changes in legislation.

4. Approve the 2016-17 district budget as was published in the public notice. The General Fund budget will increase 3.24%.  

Our operating budget allows us to maintain our current educational programs and activities. We will continue our efforts to prioritize how to spend our limited resources. The General Fund budget includes additional teaching positions needed due to enrollment growth. We added a new teaching position at Eagle elementary this year, as well as a new teaching position at Waverly Middle School. In addition, we added a full-time technology support staff position. 

The budget includes technology and curriculum funding to support a gradual transition to web-based, online curriculum materials, as well as provide support for classroom instruction, and student technology access. With the bond issue, we have put a technology infrastructure in place to make this transition possible. We currently have online curriculum resources in available and in use by teachers and students in several curricular areas. We are implementing new math and science curriculum resource materials this year for students in grades 6-12 and each includes significant online resources for students and teachers. 

At the time of the school bond election (Nov. 2014) it was anticipated that the tax levy would increase 1.5 cents in 2015 and an additional 3.5 cents in 2016 to accommodate the new bond issue. Click here to view article from Sept. 2014. The anticipated tax levy increase of 5 cents (total) as a result of passing the bond issue will be significantly lower. The tax levy actually decreased in 2015 and the 2016 levy will only increase 1.2 cents when compared to the 2014 when the bond issue was approved.  

Due to an increase in property valuations, favorable interest rates, a strong district credit rating, and the retiring of the debt from the 1996 bond issue for Waverly High School. The 2016 total tax levy necessary to support the approved budget will be $1.2104, compared to the 2014 levy of $1.202. State law requires school districts adopt a budget in September, and the Board will take formal action to set the tax levy at its October meeting.

According to data from the Nebraska Department of Education, during the 2014-15 school year there were only 7 school districts in the entire state (out of 246) that spent fewer dollars per student than District 145. That means out of 246 school districts in the state, we were the 8th most efficient in spending for the 2014-15 fiscal year. We continue to be very efficient in how we spend our limited budget resources. 

5. The Board approved a line of credit (same as previous years) to be accessed as needed.

The 2015-16 fiscal year for the district concluded on August 31, 2016. 

Each fiscal year the Board approves a line of credit that allows us to take out a short-term loan to meet our monthly expenditure obligations. As required in state law, at the end of the fiscal year we will pay back the amount of money we borrowed (plus interest). By the end of the fiscal year (August), we have received enough tax revenue to pay off the loan. School districts are allowed (by statute) to utilize Tax Anticipation Notes. 

As reported to the Board, we have reduced our reliance on the line of credit over time. Ideally, we would have enough cash on hand to cover three months of expenditures. Currently three months of expenditures is more than $4,800,000. The reason why cash flow is important, is that school district expenditures occur on a regular basis (monthly), but receipts are not received consistently each month. This requires us to utilize short-term borrowing - which is the reason the Board annually approves a line of credit. 

School Year

Loan Amount

Interest paid

2015-16 $800,000 $13,962
2014-15 $2,545,000 $47,246
2013-14 $3,508,009  $65,335

2012-13

$3,578,000

$67,704

2011-12

$2,740,000

$51,730

2010-11

$3,495,000

$68,677

2009-10

$3,970,000

$90,000

2008-09

$4,355,000

$125,000

District 145 revenue is mainly from local property tax collections, state and federal aid. Our property valuations for the General Fund increased 5.39% in the district over last year. The local and state revenue is received in payments during the year, meaning most of the revenue is not available at the start of the fiscal year. To receive federal dollars, expenditures are made by the district first, then application is made for reimbursement. State aid revenue in 2016-17 for our district decreased $200,000, which means we will need to use local resources (property tax) to fill the gap. That is how the Nebraska school funding system is designed. When local property values increase, state resources decrease. We are no longer receiving state equalization aid which compounds the shift towards our requirement to use local resources as the primary funding source. 

We received grants from the Nebraska Department of Education for our Early Childhood program at Eagle Elementary and the ReVISION (career and college ready) process at Waverly High School.   

The next regular school board meeting will be October 3 at Eagle Elementary School.

View previous district updates

District News Update September 2016

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