This blog is sponsored by the Village of Exeter and it is for all the past, present and future residents of Exeter. It is a place to comment on the happenings of Exeter and your place to inform the community

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exeter-Milligan School Board Discusses Curriculum, Building Project

The Exeter-Milligan  school board met Monday, Oct 13 in Milligan with School board president Sharon Kuska absent.

After invoices were read and minutes were reviewed no corrections were made and approved.
Vice President Brent Moore led the meeting.  

Paul Sheffield gave the results of the NESA assessment reports, “One of our school improvement goals was writing.  We have made some changes through the year in our writing curriculum and unofficially we saw some improvement.  With our smaller class sizes it only takes one kid to throw it off.  But on the flip side when you have a small sample size you can pinpoint that child and figure out what you can do to help that child."

Elementary Principal Laura Kroll gave her perspective on some of the testing and curriculum.  “All of this tracking is just pieces of the puzzle.  I have learned not to panic when we get results from a testing because they are just pieces of the puzzle.  We are looking at several pieces of data for each child to see if they are having problems across the board.”

Kroll shared how the elementary teachers keep close tabs on their students’ progress especially in reading and language.  “I cannot say enough good things about our teachers.  We look at data and see what we can do to help. Instead of waiting until they fail big we have put these interventions in place for kids who need it.”

Under old business the board once again discussed a possible building project.  Sheffield showed a presentation that he had designed that reviewed objectives for the project along with the next steps.  

Priorities stated were a community fitness room and moving the classrooms out of the basement of the 1914 building.  Other priorities were a service to kitchen area, moving the fiber connection, adding kitchen storage and preschool space.

The next point of discussion addressed what is needed. Sheffield noted that a fitness center and getting the music, art and Spanish rooms out of the basement along with a community classroom were needed.  Also on the list was a commons area east of the gym used to connect the new with the old and route foot traffic out of the gym.  One life safety update was fire sprinklers.

Wants were also discussed including a new west entry and commons expansion to the west of gym, the corridor or commons to the west instead of walking through the gym and possibly a preschool room. “Right now space wise we are maxed out for the number of kids we have in preschool,” explained Sheffield. 

The projected cost of the classroom addition was 2.3 million with another $150,000 in updates for the sprinklers totaling around $2.5 million.  Funding was expected to come through the JPA with 1.5 million in bonds (which includes JPA funds already collected) with an addition bond with a levy expected to be at .0447 per $100 for 4 years to pay for the addition at current property valuations.  The rest of the funds would come from the building fund.

The board discussed other options for funding including the current depreciation fund and construction bonds along with using any surplus monies in the general fund.

Sheffield then approached the board with questions about timeline.  The next step, according to Sheffield, is a site survey, along with an architect contract.  After discussion the board advised Sheffield to get both of those processes started.

Brent Moore noted, “I think we need to inform the public before we go too far.  I think we need to get the site survey going.” 

The Board reviewed some of the projected plans on their ipads which were not shared with the public and had a further discussion on the placement of facilities.

The board discussed public presentation of the project, “I don’t think this project is out of line,” Board member Annette Gloystein said, “We can all argue the price but nothing is cheap.  This has a lot of things in it that will benefit a lot of our students and our community.”

“We can inform the public,” Gloystein continued, “but I always feel every one of our meetings is open so we are open to informing the public every month.  I think it’s important to get a little more information from the architects and just inform them during a regular meeting.”

Sheffield expressed that the board should have a special meeting to inform the public, “We need to project the needs of the school, ‘This is what we are doing because this is what is needed and this is how we are going to fund it.’”

The board is looking at three phases- first a band room, classrooms, and commons area. The other two phases are down the road where they will be looking at updating other areas of the school.

The board talked about the upcoming contract negotiations but will have to wait to get the insurance numbers before negotiations begin.

Sheffield informed the board that they will be having a Junior High football coop review with Friend soon.  The next meeting was scheduled for November 12 in Exeter at 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Exeter Village Board Meets

The purchase of a used dump truck along with the continuing discussion on several properties in town were the highlights of the Exeter Village Board meeting Tuesday, Oct 7th.

The first item on the agenda was a discussion on the 125 health benefit plan the village has been trying to replace for its’ employees. Clerk Becky Erdkamp noted, “None of  us are eligible for a Health Savings Account or a flexible spending plan and we have decided to take it as part of our wage.”

The board discussed this option and will pay the amount they employees were previously given monthly in the flexible spending accounts as part of their regular wage.  When the employees are given their yearly review any changes that need to be made will happen then.

The discussion moved on to the Tag Factory.  Since the last meeting the board has had an outside engineer come to inspect the building and just received the engineer’s report.  According to the report,  “the building is beyond any reasonable repair.”

Chairman Alan Michl, “We do not own these buildings yet.  They recommend we contact the owners of the building to see what their plans are.  What’s really sad is that it’s a cool building.  This is more of an information thing than anything. Becky will forward the information to the owners.”

Board member Mitch Schlegelmilch responded, “I feel we need to do something.  I know it’s a costly endeavor, but who else is going to do anything?”

Audience member Brian Murphy noted, “I would like to see some of the exterior tag factory ornamental items salvaged that have historical relevance.  If the building has to come down the ground will have to be compacted to 100%. I just want to make sure the board doesn’t go short-sighted and make sure the land is buildable again.”

There was discussion on different options for covering costs if the building has to come down.  Schlegelmilch was concerned that the owners would be upset about the village hiring an engineer.

Michl responded, “We have a letter from our village attorney telling us we need to do something since we have bricks falling in the street.”

Clerk Erdkamp noted that they have had several reports of roofing materials blowing on to main street from the building.

The Board discusses several nuisance properties in town.  Michl noted that he and Clerk Erdkamp will compose letters to the property owners.

There was no progress made on a baseball equipment shed.  Murphy reported that the ball association has discussion redoing the batting cage area which would involve the shed.  The board decided that they would purchase the shed and let the ball association decided where they wanted it.

The Board reviewed a water lien on a property in town that the bill needs to paid for by Friday.  The Board approved the lien.

It was reported that Chairman Michl and Village Maintenance Supervisor John Mueller attended the State of Nebraska surplus auction and purchased a 1999 GMC dump truck with 130, 000 miles on it for $9800.  
They reported preauction prices were $13,500.  They also purchased a salt and sand spreader for $108 and an extra one for parts.

Mueller noted that he had received a bid from Magnum Builders for the village hail damage repairs and it is less than the insurance estimate.  Mueller reported that the warranty on the roof was voided due to the hail.
Mueller reported that he will get some gravel and he is also checking on when the street repairs can be done.  Board discussed possible locations to start street repairs.

Clerk Erdkamp reported the July sales tax was $14260.61 and the August Keno was $623.09.  She informed the village that the library computer died and a new one was purchased.  She also passed along the information that the librarian will be attending the Rural Nebraska Librarian Conference soon.

The next meeting was set for Monday, November 12th.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Exeter-Milligan Update: Science News, Recycling Janey

Exeter-Milligan Science News by Lorie Sliefert

The Biology II class is recycling.   At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Sliefert and Janey Due discussed a project they could do for the class.  Now, Janey is starting a recycling program in the Exeter School building.   We decided to start small with just paper, bottle, and cans.   Now every Friday, you see Janey walking from classroom to classroom collecting all the material that has been recycled.  Currently we are taking the bottles and cans downtown to the trailer to recycle.  We are working on getting the our garbage collector to pick up the recyclables at the school. During the Outdoor ED day with the 2nd grade class, Janey discussed the importance of recycling and had the students make pencil holders out of soup cans. Please help Janey with her project.   She will be collecting all the pop bottles at the home games.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Exeter-Milligan Update: First Grade Readers

Mrs. Sharon Lott's First Grade class at Exeter-Milligan has a Reader of the Day every day. Each first grader picks out a book at their reading level with the help of the teacher, practices reading it and putting expression into it. Then, they read it to the class. This helps to improve their fluency and builds their confidence in sharing with a group. Our Reader of the Day in this picture is Kate Hale.