Thursday, March 15, 2018

Exeter-Milligan Approves Contracts

President Sharon Kuska opened the Exeter School Board meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 12, 2018.

The board rearranged the agenda to hear first from Mike Norris who represents Southeast Nebraska Career Academy Partnership (SENCAP) which allows high school students to take dual credit college classes.

Norris presented a short video on the program which currently includes 45 high schools in the state.  “This is an opportunity for students to take some dual credit courses for them to see if this is what they want to do.”

The courses are offered online to juniors and seniors and will transfer to many colleges.  “The selling point,” according to Norris, “is that students can explore a career and decide they don’t want to pursue it.”

He touted the support of Exeter-Milligan counselor Denice Kovanada and superintendent Paul Sheffield as the reasons the program is working so well.  

After fielding a few questions from the board Norris wrapped up his presentation by telling about the recent field trip to Huddle with the business students.

Kovanda added,”because of our relationship with the SENCAP program when we needed a college level English class, Southeast designed a college level lit class for our kids even though it wasn’t a SENCAP class.”

Exeter-Milligan teacher Matt Nicholas gave the board an update on the planned senior trip to Galveston. 

For the policy review portion of the agenda Sheffield reviewed the updated safety and security plan.
The safety committee, headed by teacher Jordan Marr, has been working on this system all school year and Sheffield emphasized that this system is being standardized throughout the state. 

The school presented the information to the students after Monday afternoon’s speaker.  Sheffield showed the binder that is in each classroom and accessible to any substitute which includes all of the information on procedures for each emergency.

The board returned to the consensus agenda and approved both the bills and the minutes.
Moving on to old business the board approved the superintendent and principal contracts unanimously.

Under the curriculum report Sheffield noted that they are looking at adding a senior seminar course which would include financial literacy information along with encouraging students to apply for scholarships while in college.

The district is also looking at offering a calculus class as well as looking at a way to add an Agriculture class on site in the next few years. 

Board member Eric Milton mentioned a need for a FFA and Sheffield explained that FFA is an extra-curricular branch of an Ag department.  He mentioned that the board could direct the curriculum committee to research the possibilities for an Ag class.

Community member Kevin Songster asked to speak to the board about an Ag education and FFA program at Exeter-Milligan.

Songster noted that “This is an Ag community.  We have a program eight miles from us if we can share an instructor or get something going.”

The board discussed the option of using SECAP classes for Ag. Songster has talked to Friend and they have offered to let his daughter pursue Ag and FFA there.

Board member Adam Erdkamp noted, “With a year or two of using Ag classes through SENCAP and we can look into it.”

Milton was a fan of incorporating an Ag program, “We didn’t have FFA when I was in high school.  The experience they had in public speaking was a big advantage from what I saw.”

Kuska  asked the curriculum committee to meet and look at it.

Under new business the board approved the Exeter Milligan Education Association as the bargaing agent for the teachers.  They also held a brief discuss on the new transportation contract with A & M, Inc. before approving the changes.

A request for unpaid leave for a teacher was approved with member Tim Pribyl abstaining.

The board held a discussion on whether or not to continue paying Nebraska Association of School Board dues.  Sheffield commented, “The items the NASB provides that this board does take advantage of is minimal.” 

After making a motion to approve the payment, Milton asked, “It’s just an annual contract, right?  I think we should keep track of what we get out of it.”

The board approved paying the dues unanimously and Kuska added – “with tracking.”

Sheffield presented the board with an option of funding an update to the infrastructure on the wireless internet through eRate funds.  He explained that the eRate funds to reimburse telecommunications projects will be eliminated in the next two years.

The project would pay for new category 6 wire in the old high school, the elementary and in Milligan.

“Currently it’s kind of cobbled together.  It works, but for how much longer?” explained Sheffield.

The project, which the board approved, will cost around $60,000 and the eRate funds will cover about half.  Sheffield estimated that this update should last the district around 10 years.

On the summer project list the district plans to move the preschool playground south about 10 feet so that they can redo the sidewalk and fencing in the area. This will coincide with the changes on the street project the village is planning.  

Also on the summer list will be new volleyball standards in Exeter along with volleyball and basketball record boards.

In Milligan, the roof above the fifth and sixth grade classrooms will be redone as well as sanding and refinishing the gym floor.  The district is looking into rekeying the locks on the Milligan classroom to allow for a master key to be used in the event of an emergency.  They are also planning to replace faucets in restrooms, repair the soffit and fascia on the building and add rock to the parking lot in Milligan.

The board approved a local substitute request for Ashley Looper.  Sheffield explained she is currently a student teacher in the fourth grade classroom at Exeter-Milligan.

The board discussed at length the possibility of entering into a mental health services contract with Fillmore County Hospital.  Sheffield explained that this would allow for the Exeter-Milligan “staff to receive training to recognize issues with students.  Part would be training on suicide awareness which is required by the State.  I know it’s an added cost but it would help us be proactive.  We are noticing our kids need a little more help.”

Principal Laura Kroll added that it would provide some interventions and treatment and “quite a few services in the area of prevention and direct services.”

The cost, according to Sheffield would be .25 FTE which equated to $32,000.  He explained that some of that cost would be reimbursable through special education funds.

The board asked the about the advantages of a contract versus what the district currently has and Sheffield explained that the new contract would include training and counseling.  He emphasized the correlation between issues at home and the decrease in academic performance.

The board approved the mental health contract before Sheffield gave a legislative update of bills that related to education and noted that the state aid amount for the 2018-2019 state aid would be $33,269 down from the $37894 Exeter-Milligan received this year. 

The board set the April meeting for Wednesday, April 11 at 8 p.m. in Milligan.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Exeter-Milligan Boys Track Team

Exeter-Milligan Boys Track team back row from the left:  Max Zeleny, Peytan Brandt, Eric Olsen, Joey Bartu, Patrick Murphy, Spencer Pribyl, Mitchell Manning.  Front row from the left:  Brock Steuben, Casey Jindra, Sean Gibson, Jackson Beethe and Clint Oldehoeft.

They will start their season on March 15 at the Doane Indoor Track Meet at noon.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Exeter-Milligan Girls Track Team

Exeter-Milligan girls track team are pictured back row from the left:  Coach Katherine Smith, Katherine White, Kate Jansky, Hannah Horne, Tara Mueller, Hannah Beethe, Josie Kresak, Natalie Staskal and Assistant Coach Hailey Stutzman.  Front row from the left: Anna Sluka, Daisy Kanode, Kayla Geiger, Macy Due, Georgia Meyer, Jaiden Papik, Cammie Harrison and student manager Savannah Horne.

Their first meet is at Doane on March 15th starting at noon for the Doane Indoor Track Meet.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Exeter Village Board Meets Approves Zoning Items

by Leesa K. Bartu

The Exeter Village board met on Tuesday, March 7 with a standing room only crowd.
The board quickly approved  previous minutes and invoices with board member  Kathy Erdkamp absent.

Speaking to the board first was Exeter resident Charles Trauger representing the Fillmore County Development Corporation.  He thanked the board for their continued support and encouraged them to contact him “with any questions or concerns. . . We will be updating the Exeter community  guide this year.”

Trauger also noted that the FCDC is working on housing issues and Village board chairman Alan Michl confirmed that “housing is our major issue.”

Next on the agenda was Andrew Stark, the owner of Stark Data Network.  He presented the board a bid for fixing some of the video surveillance cameras in town along with updating the network system.

Michl asked what happened to the original company that installed the system, Glenwood, and Stark informed him they no longer do any camera work. The board approved the bid from Stark.

Much of the audience was present for the next item on the agenda.  Fillmore County Zoning Administrator Jennifer Slezak was present and requested the board open two public hearings for conditional use permits. 

Robert Rhodes and Dean and Leesa Bartu had filed applications for accessory buildings of a primary nature within a residential zone in Exeter.  The Fillmore County planning commission had made a recommendation to approve.  Rhodes is planning to construct a 30’ x 40’ garage and the Bartu’s are construction a bus barn.

After no public comment the board closed the public hearing and then voted to approve both of the conditional use permits.

Still working on property issues, the board approved a lot split on property owned by Bob Dumpert, before continuing the discussion on building height requirements.  Currently the village has a limit of 12’at the half peak.

Slezak noted that Fairmont has switched to a 25’ maximum height with a 17’ sidewall maximum and Milligan is considering the same limits.

Board discussed the heights of several different buildings and indicated that they would change to the same specifications.   The changes will be written up as an ordinance for the board to consider at a future meeting.

Exeter-Milligan Superintendent Paul Sheffield approached the board with a request, “The school has decided to have an EM wolves give back day.  We would like to have the kids and teachers do something in the community sometime in April.”

Sheffield requested assistance from the village maintenance department to find projects for the students.  He continued, “My first thought was ball fields or getting things ready. We will split up and have a group in Exeter and another in Milligan doing the same thing.  It will be our 7 – 12 grade students.”

The board was very positive about the project.  Board member Mitch Schlegelmilch confirmed, “That sounds awesome.”

The board set the clean up dumpster date for April 21. 

Michl noted the next order of discussion was derelict properties in the community.  He highlighted the property of Rene Salazar which is currently on the market.

The board discussed purchasing the property and cleaning it up themselves but Village Maintenance Supervisor John Mueller advised the board that there was likely asbestos on the property and would be very costly for the village to remove because of government restrictions.  He noted that a property owner could do it themselves if they followed guidelines.

Michl gave his opinion, “We need to tackle a couple.  Not them all, but a couple. “

Board member Justin Harre added, “That’s probably the worst (Salazar property) and it affects the people who live around there.  We can use the keno money to improve the town so we don’t have to talk about this anymore.”

The board did not take any action on the neglected properties but did discuss the process for condemning properties and will pursue that avenue with Police Chief Mark McFarland.

Maintenance Supervisor John Mueller spoke on several agenda items including the option to purchase the well chemical tanks from ACCO.  The board optioned to purchase the tanks for $1250 and also decided to purchase the extended warranty on the VFD (variable frequency drive)at the well for $1079.

The board introduced Ordinance 592 a bond anticipation note for the street and downtown improvement construction project. Michl noted, “This gets the ball rolling. This repeals the last two ordinances we had done and now combines them.”

Clerk Becky Erdkamp added, “They put it for $2.4, I’m hoping we don’t have to get to that point.”

Michl added, “Anything with the water portion we can spread out for 20 years and the streets for 15 years but they are going to try to work it so the payments are the same.  They will be around $165,000 to $175,000 a year and right now we are paying $85,000 but that one will be done in June.  They won’t overlap.”

The board approved the ordinance.

Michl gave the Marshal’s report.  He noted that McFarland has been taking photos of nuisance properties.  He also reported that there have been several incidents of people allegedly walking through yards and looking in garages along with driving through yards.  Nothing has been reported missing and the snow allowed McFarland to track the footprints.

Mueller reported that the well work should be complete by the end of the week and during the last snow storm three stop signs along with the village employee parking sign on main street were mowed over. 

Clerk Erdkamp reported that January Keno was $938.38 and December sales tax was $9325.30.  The next board meeting will be April 3.