Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Exeter-Milligan School Board Takes First Step Toward Addition

Exeter-Milligan School Board met Wednesday, February 11 in Milligan taking the first step in approving an addition to the Exeter school building.

The board met without Treasurer Jim Zeleny who was excused.  The board began the meeting with a presentation on marketing bonds in the local arena from Geneva based Edward Jones representative Vern Kendell.

Kendell noted his recent success in selling school bonds, “When a local bond opportunity comes up my clients are chomping at the bit to have the opportunity to support something local.  We aren’t asking for the major part of the bond that is coming up, just 15 or 20 percent to be able to sell locally.”

School Board President Sharon Kuska thanked Kendell for the information and started with the rest of the agenda.  She read the treasurer’s report and the board also reviewed the minutes from the regular January meeting and the special meeting that was held to discuss the proposed addition.

President Kuska asked Superintedent Paul Sheffield to elaborate on the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Associaiton  (NRCSA) line item that was paid. Sheffield explained that membership in this association is tied into some of the funding that the school receives.  In the past this item was approved by a board vote, but Sheffield explained, “Since the funding is tied to this membership I went ahead and included it on the bills.”

The board approved the bills, treasurer’s report and the two sets of minutes.

Under the old business, the building project update item was discussed.  Sheffield explained, “After we had the special meeting the next step we are at is the point of passage of a resolution.  The school board approves the Joint Public Agency to issue bonds.”

Moving on Kuska noted that a report on Superintendent contract negotiations will be given next month and then she announced the committee assignments.

New business was addressed next and the first item discussed was a change in the daily schedule.  Superintendent Sheffield presented information to the board on what they call a “second chance breakfast.   We have about five kids who eat breakfast every day but on Mondays we have a break between first and second period when our  7 -12 graders can get a grab and go breakfast.  We have found that about 65% of our students are taking advantage of this.  We want to make this a daily occurrence.”

The board discussed how offering a daily late breakfast could change the school day.  Sheffield explained, “We would go to one lunch for the 7 – 12 graders which is about the same amout of kids in one lunch period we had when the schools first combined.  We could build 13 minutes into the day and allow the kids to eat breakfast by just adding two minutes to the end of the school day.  Anyone that qualifies for free or reduced lunch would also get the free or reduced breakfast.”

Sheffield went on to elaborate on some additional scheduling changes, “It has been recommended that we do recess first and then lunch for our elementary grades.  The Milligan campus has tried that this year with some success and so next year in Exeter recess would be at 11:00 and then lunch would follow.”
The board passed this change in the school day unanimously.

The next item on the agenda was the resolution authorizing the JPA to issue bonds to finance the school addition which would include “a recreational, wellness and multi-purpose facility for the benefit of the District and the Village of Exeter,” according to the resolution.

It was noted that the full cost was not to exceed $1.6 million and Sheffield explained, “This resolution just starts the process in what I would call a five step process.  Second, the JPA passes a resolution, then advertises a hearing, holds a hearing and issues the bonds. By agreeing to this doesn’t mean that it is going to happen, this is just the first step and it can’t get started until we take this step.”

The board discussed the project briefly.  Board member Adam Erdkamp stated, “I think it’s a good project and it makes sense.”

The board voted unanimously to pass the resolution and it was recorded that the JPA will meet on Wednesday, February 18th.

The board noted there were no applicants for the separation incentive program.  They discussed the upcoming NRCSA Legislative Forum and Spring Conference before setting the next board meeting for March 11th in Exeter at 7 p.m.

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