Saturday, May 23, 2020

Exeter-Milligan School Board meets

The Exeter-Milligan School board met via zoom on Wednesday, May 13.

The two main topics of conversation were the wrap of the school year and what the future holds for Exeter-Milligan.

Sheffield addressed the board explaining the paperwork that will have to be completed due to the COVID-19 closing of school.  “We have to file an affidavit with the state even though the state forced the close.  It states that the district didn’t meet rule 10 for the required hours so we have to ask for special permission for an exception.”

Board member Kendra Oldehoeft asked about the possibility of continuing e-learning in the fall.
Sheffield responded, “Everything we are hearing says that we are going to open up. . . a lot of things can change but we are banking on it.”

The second priority for the board during the meeting was a continued discussion on the possibility of consolidation with another district.

All of the board members were emailed a pro and con list on consolidation that was compiled by the administrators and board members.  Board president Adam Erdkamp noted, “This list is not exhaustive, it’s just a starting point. Eventually it would be nice for the community to look at it if they have questions or comments.”

Erdkamp read through all of the pros and cons and asked the other board members for comments.
Board member Tim Pribyl spoke up first, “I think it (consolidation) would be a terrible decision.  What happens in 20 years if we get too small and have to go to FC then.  Most of the goals can be achieved with an unification instead of a consolidation.”

Erdkamp asked Sheffield how many total employees the district has and commented, “I’m not interested in doing anything that would cost any of those people their job,”

The discussion around unification versus consolidation continued with Erdkamp sharing his research.
He explained that there are 244 school districts in Nebraska, 77 are consolidated and three are unified but one district that is unified is consolidating as of June 5.
His point in sharing this research, “If unification was a good option I would think there would be more taking advantage of it.  That’s a red flag if it’s such a good thing vs consolidation.”

Erdkamp spoke with the superintendent of the district that is moving from a unification to a consolidation.  “He has been there 21 years.  He though there were pros and cons with consolidation. He would not suggest a unification, it’s a better fit for short term issue.”  

Pribyl argued that unification ia a great way to start towards a consolidation.  He expressed concern over maintaining a balance of representation of all the communities on a consolidated school board.
Erdkamp responded that the Exeter-Milligan board has maintained a balance without establishing precincts, “If it was good enough 20 years ago why isn’t it good enough now?”

Board member Eric Milton  added, “Two communities get hurt if you vote to dissolve this district.”
Erdkamp noted that in their committee discussion with the Friend committee Friend indicated they were not interested in unification.  Erdkamp talked to the Friend board president and he confirmed that Friend is not interested in unification.

Pribyl responded, :”It seems like this is getting pushed on us really fast.  . .I think it needs to slow down if anything we need to coop sports for a little while.”

Erdkamp and several other board members agreed that there would be multiple public meetings before they would take any kind of vote.  

 “I agree 100% we are supposed to represent the patrons so we want to hear what they have to say,” added Pribyl.

There was a brief discussion on cooping addition activities with Friend next year.  The board discussed the possibility of cooping golf and track.  Exeter-Milligan just had one female golfer and the possibility of one male golfer.  Friend girls golf with the boys golf team.

Sheffield was fairly confident that because of some changes in the Crossroads Conference they would be more open to accepting a cooping EMF into the conference.

The board moved on to accept the contract of new first grade teacher Haley Johnson.  They also approved a three percent raise for all non-certified contracts. 

Erdkamp brought the board’s attention to an alternate calendar that was prepared by Sheffield.
Sheffield noted it was “just to be prepared if we are required to start after Labor day.”

Board member Kendra Jansky added, “Starting after labor day is better than starting at home.”

Sheffield informed the board that E-learning does not count toward the required school hours.  He is going to work with Senator Brandt to introduce a bill in the legislature that would allow up to five snow days as E-learning days. 

Erdkamp brought the meeting to a close praising the administrations graduation ceremony, “I am glad they were able to have a ceremony together because that was what they wanted. I did not attend but I could see that it meant a lot to the kids.”

The board set the next meeting for June 10 in Milligan at 8 p.m.  The noted that they would meet in the gym to be able to social distance.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Throwback Thursday Week of May 18

Week of May 18

Barbara J. Becker, Age 67, of Exeter, Nebraska died Saturday May 15, 2010 in Exeter.

Exeter-Milligan graduation was held with 19 graduates.

Field Day was held for grades K-6 in Exeter.

Exeter American Legion Auxiliary Post 218 presented two packed ditty bags to their Girls State representatives Amanda Dinneenand Kelsey Moore. Presenting the bags was Auxiliary member Pat Rocole. Pat made the beautiful bags for the girls and the Auxiliary members packed them with snacks and toiletries to make the trip more fun for the representatives.

The Exeter Area Community Foundation of Exeter Nebraska was offered a $50,000 challenge grant by Richard and Louisa Manning of Geneva, Nebraska. Manning’s who are both graduates of Exeter High School issued the challenge grant for the purpose of building an unrestricted endowment for the Exeter Area Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation. In order for the full grant to be received, the Exeter Area Foundation had to raise $100,000 of additional funds over a three-year time frame.

Exeter-Milligan Kindergarten graduation was held.  They are currently 10th graders at Exeter-Milligan. 

The new Exeter Aquatic Center slide was assembled. Two groups of volunteers spent many hours assembling the new slide and it's many pieces. Heavy equipment was also donated by local business Horizontal Boring and Tunneling to help move the very heavy ladder pieces over the pool fence. Their crane truck, and operator Paul Erdkamp helped hold the pieces in place as they were assembled. Nearly all of the Exeter Village Board members were on hand to help with assembly of the stair parts.
Another crew gathered to assemble the flume. John Mueller, Village Maintenance Supervisor, along with Bob Mueller, Jim Mueller, Brian Petro, Keith Mathieson and Alan Michl spent the evening on the project.
The slide was paid for with funds from the additional sales tax that was passed two years ago to pay for the bond for the pool. The monthly amount that the village has collected has greatly surpassed the projected income. Unfortunately, the bond will not allow funds to be paid in advance so the Village Board opted to purchase the slide with these extra funds. Future bond payments will be higher but the current income from the city sales tax will cover most of that cost.

Exeter-Milligan Track students headed to Omaha on Thursday afternoon to compete in the State Track meet. More than half of the Class D qualifiers from the area are from Exeter-Milligan. Students qualifying are:

Junior Cassie Harre - 100 Meter Dash and 200 Meter Dash
Freshman Jen Pribyl - 400 Meter Dash, 800 Meter Run, 1600 Meter Relay, 3200 Meter Relay
Junior Heather Pribyl - 800 Meter Run, 1600 Meter Relay, 3200 Meter Relay
Freshman Alicia Bigelow - 3200 Meter Relay
Freshman Taylor Erdkamp - 1600 Meter Relay, 3200 meter Relay
Sophomore Mariah Bigelow - 1600 Meter Relay
Senior Shane Manning - Pole Vault, 400 Meter Relay, 1600 Meter Relay
Senior Ryan Harre - 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash, 400 Meter Run, 1600 Meter Relay
Junior Austin Stride - 400 Meter Dash, 400 Meter Relay, 1600 Meter Relay, 3200 Meter Relay
Junior Cody Soukup - 3200 Meter Relay
Senior Dillan White - 1600 Meter Relay
Junior Zach Jensen - 3200 Meter Relay
Sophomore Quinten Loontjer - 400 Meter Relay
Junior Tyler Manning - 1600 Meter Run, 3200 Meter Relay

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: View from the Front Office

by Paul Sheffield

It’s hard to believe we have been utilizing eLearning for almost two months and are close to wrapping up the 2019-20 school year. In reality, by the time you read this we will have finished the school year. The teachers and students at Exeter-Milligan have done a tremendous job of adapting to this alternate delivery method.  We were a little ahead of the game since we are a 1 to 1 school - each student in grades K-6 has their own iPad and each student in grades 7-12 has their own laptop.  Granted, this is not the best form of educating all students, but we are forging ahead and embracing this challenge with vigor.  A huge thank you goes out to the E-M school board for their continued support of the technology placed into the hands of our students and teachers. 

My heart aches for the Class of 2020.  This year has not been the kind of year any of us could have planned for.  There are many milestones this group will not have the opportunity to refer to when they reminisce about the “good old days” - prom, senior trip, track meets, district music - the list goes on and on.  However, the Class of 2020 did have the opportunity for an abbreviated graduation ceremony. The weather somewhat cooperated (it was a little breezy), but we were able to provide some closure and celebrate this milestone together as a group.  

At the beginning of the year when the seniors were deciding on a class motto, one that bubbled to the top was, “Send it, it will buff!”  Being of the “older” generation, I did have to Google to see if there were any hidden meanings to this saying.  My own children looked at me with that “old man” look in their eyes and said, ”Really Dad, you don’t know what it means?” (Insert eye roll here).  After a little more investigation I found there wasn’t an alternate meaning. Basically it means that’s good enough for us. The group finally settled on “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

While school was still in session and we were all wondering how this COVID-19 thing was going to affect us, we discussed with the students about the stories they were going to be able to share when they got older.  Our grandparents always had the stories of how they had to walk to school, uphill (both ways), in rain, sleet, or snow.  My generation was able to share about life without cell phones and computers. The stories these students will share with their grandchildren will go like, “I remember when we didn’t attend school for 3 months and we didn’t have track meets, prom - heck we even had to stay home with mom and dad and it felt like forever.”

Upon further review, though, it seems appropriate to refer to the Class of 2020’s first choice for a motto.  With all of the unknowns we have experienced, it does get right to the point.  Navigating the COVID-19 path has been one for the ages.  There are days when we all look at each other and say, “Well, I guess that will have to be good enough.”  As we move forward, there are still many unknowns, but I can hear the Class of 2020 giving me their advice, “Send it, it will buff!”

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Visiting Exeter

Several cows felt very welcome in the Exeter community on Monday morning.  They tested the nursing home lawn as a possible new home and then mooved to the welcome sign before heading west to discover new freshly planted fields.