Public Meeting Minutes: April 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM - Work Session Regular Meeting


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April 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM - Work Session Regular Meeting Minutes

April 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM - Work Session Regular Meeting
I. Work Session
I.A. Call to Order
I.B. Roll Call of Board
I.C. Pledge of Allegiance
I.D. Recognitions
I.E. Presentations
I.E.1. West Park Presentation

Candy Beecher was excused. The West Park staff presented their motto, "to educate the whole child", which includes not only academics but also providing social training and support. With Explicit Instruction, the staff looks at the bigger picture. They look at the data to see where kids are academically and how they can support them. Demographics show 67 percent of the students on free and reduced lunch; 22 percent ELL; and 12 percent special education.

Staff want to provide the best learning environment for all students. Students in grades K-5 are tested on Dibels fluency, and the target was changed to use Dibels as the benchmark. On the MAP reading scores, there has been upper movement over past five years. Staff will conference with students about a growth goal. There has also been upward movement on the NeSA reading and NeSA Math proficiency test given to students in grades 3-5. The MAP Math Test is given in grades 2-5, and a growing number of students are meeting their grade level RIT score. The idea is for students to achieve individual student growth targets.

The staff has done a lot to integrate technology into the classrooms. As part of wellness, the second grade team and Barb Leu wrote a grant to for SOS (Sink or Swim). Second graders were given four days of swimming lessons at the YMCA and also learned about water safety. Students and parents gave the program a high evaluation. They hope to be able to find funding to do the program again next year.

Students in grades K-5 learned to square dance and performed for their parents. They also got to watch a performance from Harold Squares. Some fourth and fifth grade students gave a square dancing demonstration to the board. The fifth grade students have been square dancing since kindergarten. There will be a Healthy Kids Night on April 27, which will include healthy activities as well as getting a healthy snack. The staff is trying to build community with the families.

In preschool, there are love rocks that are given to promote positive behavior. If the students reach their goal of earning a certain number of love rocks, they will receive a classroom party. The preschool has also created a closed Facebook page to share information with the families. When talking about community helpers, they have had a policeman, fireman and doctor come visit the classroom. At the end of the year, there will be a preschool family picnic.

To help build community within school, everyone meets to say the Pledge of Allegiance and recite the West Park promise first thing in the morning. There was a Bingo Night held in February where each student took home a book. There will be a K-2 reading night with activities centered around STEM on April 21. Wendi Petersen is the coordinator. BIST (Behavior Intervention Support Team) doesn't replace well-managed classrooms. BIST tries to help students make positive choices in their life. Grace is providing students what they need not what they deserve. Accountability is guiding students to look at what problems the behaviors create in their life and developing a plan to help. Board member Theresa Seipel said the staff does a great job. She asked how this late in the year, how they are able to keep their optimism. Lawrence said the staff does a good job of supporting each other.

I.F. Regular Board Meeting Information

Nebraskans United for Property Tax Reform & Education Resolution – Superintendent Dr. Troy Loeffelholz said the idea of some legislation like LB 640 is to move property tax relief from urban areas that are equalized to those that are not equalized. The TEEOSA formula is suppose to make up the difference from what a district can generate in property taxes and the gap in needs. CPS receives $12 million even though the gap is $16 million. He said there is only $980 million allocated to state aid and should be $1.4 billion. Dr. Loeffelholz said there has been a fight the last couple of years regarding property tax reform. He said there are some taxpayers paying larger tax bills than others. Property taxes in Nebraska are high while other areas are lagging. Nebraskans United Property Tax Reform is composed of not only educators but also representatives from agriculture. The educators showed the Ag groups school districts were not over spending but there is a lack of funds. The group in favor of this reform is starting to make noise in Lincoln. CPS is already a member of coalition. Principle 1 - Adequate and sustainable funding of high quality education is imperative for the future of Nebraska. Principle 2 – Tax reform which reduces the over reliance on local property taxes is necessary to ensure our tax system is fair to all Nebraska taxpayers. Dr. Loeffelholz said if all the taxes are cut, there is no revenue. He said Nebraska has a lot of corn, cattle and land, so the state can’t be compared to others that have natural resources that supplement their funding. Dr. Loeffelholz said during the meeting, he would ask the board to support the reform. Since TEEOSA was started in 1989, the formula was only fully funded twice. The formula is working as it is suppose to. It is needs vs. local resources equals state aid, and people don't like it. Dr. Loeffelholz said this group is fighting for our kids in the education process.

Dr. Loeffelholz said he will be requesting that the board pass a resolution asking for a safe and supportive learning environment for all students regardless of their immigration status. He said families need to know the district will do everything within its power to help the children. A school district cannot ask if the student is here legally or their parents are illegal. The students must be educated regardless. Dr. Loeffelholz said part of the education is helping parents and students know what to do if something happens. He said many districts are already doing this to show they are on the families’ sides and show kids that school is a safe place and no one will take them away from it. Dr. Loeffelholz said this document will be translated and sent out to families. He said a survey will also be sent to families.  Dr. Loeffelholz said the goal is to find out how to engage these families more and to know the barriers. This process also tries to help with a path to citizenship. He said this has been talked about since 2011, and how the administration can engage that community better is still an ongoing question.

TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Dr. Loeffelholz said this is waving property tax valuation on what ever is built on the site for 15 years. He said this defers the value of the project, so the owner only pays property taxes on what the valuation was when the ground was purchased. He said the district wouldn’t get the valuation until the property comes off the TIF roll, and back taxes cannot be collected.  Dr. Loeffelholz said he would recommend the district support TIF for economic development growth. He said the district would not be losing tax money but also would not gain anything for 15 years. He said he is unsure he would recommend TIF for residential building. However, Dr. Loeffelholz said he may recommend supporting building an apartment if the builder is only requesting 40 percent of the TIF. He said he feels a negotiated agreement would be in the district’s best interest because they would get money for part of it. Dr. Loeffelholz said even if the district says no the City Council could still grant it any way. He said this issue could be coming up in the future. Dr. Loeffelholz said the board finance committee needs to meet to discuss this topic. He said if it is to grant full TIF, he would recommend not supporting it. Dr. Loeffelholz said part of the problem is there is a push for affordable housing in Columbus.

II. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session.
III. Adjourn
Discussion:  The board adjourned at 6:15 p.m.
IV. Board Meeting
IV.A. Call to Order
IV.B. Roll Call of Board
IV.C. Pledge of Allegiance
IV.D. Notice of Open Meeting Posted
IV.D.1. President insures all can hear proceedings
IV.E. Mission Statement
Discussion:  Theresa Seipel read the mission statement.
IV.F. Opportunity for Public to be Heard
Discussion:  No one spoke to the board.
IV.G. Board Special Functions
IV.G.1. Nebraskans United Resolution Adoption.

Dr. Loeffelholz said this is an issue because there is a budget shortfall and no money to fill it. The Legislature and governor want to cut taxes to help pay for it. He said the two principles were designed by both ag and school district officials. Nebraska has the seventh highest property tax rate in the United States. He said this group supports looking at alternative methods. Dr. Loeffelholz said there needs to be a balance between sales, property and income taxes. He said CPS wants to support more funding for education.

IV.G.2. Support of All Students

The idea of this resolution is to create a safe learning environment for all students. Dr. Loeffelholz said there is some uncertainty in the US about what happens when an ICE officer comes into a place of work. He said ICE officers can’t come to schools. He said administration will do everything in their power to protect students. Dr. Loeffelholz said it is unconstitutional to deny free public education to children. He said it is not the school’s job to determine the immigration status. He said a major part of this is educating not only students but also their parents. Dr. Loeffelholz said this reaffirms to the families that the administration will work with them to help them and their children. There is a lot of uncertainty and fear, and district staff want parents and students to know that school is the best place to be. Mike Goos said the schools are here to educate young men and women, and schools should be safe. He said many families don't know whom to trust.

IV.H. Presentations
IV.H.1. Loup Power Check Presentation

Loup Public Power presented the district with a check for $72,930 for putting in a geothermal heating system from the Energywise Program. Loup CEO Neal Suess said the system is working great and is very efficient. He said Loup is excited that this is being done at the high school. Dr. Loeffelholz said Rick Cheloha and Steve Zach did a good job of explaining the advantages and disadvantages of a geothermal heat pump vs. other options.

IV.H.2. Joe Massman - Eagle Scout Project Presentation

Joe Massman said he plans on painting two maps, one of the US and another of Nebraska, at North Park for the teachers to use and kids to enjoy as part of his Eagle Scout project. He said he wanted to do this because he enjoys the time he spent at North Park and remembers there used to be a map there. The maps will be place on a center concrete pad 50 ft. by 80 ft. The project will be done over the summer. He said he has talked to a geography professor that will put together some stencils for the drawing that can be used. He said troop 276 will help with the project. Massman said he heard someone in Norfolk did a similar project but just did a US map. He thought it would be good to include a Nebraska map because this is a huge part of the fourth grade curriculum.

IV.H.3. Close-up Report/Washington DC Trip

Advisor Tom Bock thanked the board for allowing 12 students to take the trip to Washington DC. Bock said CHS teacher Anne Robertson also went on the trip. He said the trip had some interesting things happen like the White House going on lockdown. He said he invited all the senators and representative to see the new CHS. He said when they were leaving Washington DC, their flight was delayed because the oldest living veteran was arriving. He was 110 years old. The students enjoyed many things including the night tour, Lincoln memorial, monuments, meeting people from different states, and going to the capital. Bock said this is the first time he has gone when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. He said one student has gone on the trip twice. The students said they would encourage others to go.

IV.I. Recognitions
IV.I.1. 2017 Educator of the Year Award – Introduction of Nominees

Teresa Hausmann, Joni Ebel, Annie Sokol and Christina Nilson were nominated for the Educator of the Year. Applications were accepted from CPS staff, parents, students, school supporting organizations and members of the general public. The Educator of the Year will receive $1,000 and the runner up $500. These awards are both sponsored by the Columbus United Federal Credit Union. The winner will be announced at the Employee Banquet on May 12.

IV.I.2. 2017 Operations Employee of the Year Award – Introduction of Nominees

Denene Owens, Traci Seim, Kandy Bos and Allen Rerucha were nominated for the Operations Employee of the Year. Applications were accepted from CPS staff, parents, students, school supporting organizations and members of the general public. The winner will receive $500, which was sponsored by Bob Markham (Class of 1976) and his wife, Chris. The winner will be announced at the Employee Banquet on May 12.  


Dr. Troy Loeffelholz, Steven Woodside, Mike Grutsch and Leonard Kwapnioski all joined the rank of an Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. CPS Foundation Executive Director Kim Kwapnioski said this honor was in recognition for all their hard work with the new high school. She said they have gone above and beyond to make the new high school happen. They put in thousands of hours fundraising, designing, dealing with contractors, answering questions, and moving. Kwapnioski said they have already jumped right into the next project. She said The Nebraska Admiral Association primary purpose is to organize the Admirals in the Nebraska Navy into a force for the promotion and enhancement of the “Good Life of the State of Nebraska.” Specifically, to promote education and educational activities throughout the State. 

IV.I.3. Correspondence

The board received thank you's for funeral flowers, from a person attending the CHS honors breakfast, from the English department for the gift, and from the business department for gift.

IV.J. Items to be removed from the Consent Agenda
Discussion:  No items were removed from the consent agenda.
IV.K. Consent Agenda

There were 12 certified resignations and 17 new hires. Dr. Loeffelholz said there is a wide array of positions from elementary, middle school and high school. There were also 11 classified hires and two resignations.  Dr. Loeffelholz said the board will also be approving the tentative graduation list. He said the list is tentative because some of the students may make it and some may not.

IV.K.1. Approval of Minutes
IV.K.2. Certified Personnel
IV.K.3. Classified Personnel
IV.K.4. Tentative Graduate List
IV.K.5. Professional Travel
IV.L. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations

There was 197,456.31 contributed back to the district from the Foundation, Band Boosters, West Park PTO, Lost Creek PTO, CMS PAC, Emerson PTO, North Park PTO, Sports Boosters and Alumni. There was $179,173.73 spent on STEM equipment. He said the umbrella contributions will be over $1 million next month. Dr. Loeffelholz said it has been a good year giving back to the schools and students.

IV.M. Business Operations and Human Relations
IV.M.1. Financial Reports M2, M3, M4a

Executive Director of Business and Human Relations Dave Melick said the first payout has been made to B-D Construction for their work on the middle school. He said the final payment to B-D was also made for the work done at West Park. Melick said it is a slow month for personal property taxes.

IV.M.2. Financial Report M4b

There was $227.50 paid to Seipel Repair for scheduled maintenance on four or five vehicles.

IV.M.3. Financial Report M4c

There was a $119.23 in reimbursement paid to Tim Pospisil for the national school board conference expenses.

IV.M.4. Financial Report M5

Melick said these are bills that need to be paid in advance of the normal cycle.  

IV.M.5. Administrative Functions
IV.M.5.1. Approval of Surplus Property

The board declared three phonic ear audio towers from Special Education as surplus because the equipment is too old and there are not parts to fix it.

IV.M.5.2. Portables as Surplus

Dr. Loeffelholz said the two portables at middle school will be declared surplus, so they can be sold. He said they won’t be needed next fall when they move into the new building.  Dr. Loeffelholz said there will be one kept at West Park because of the large kindergarten class coming in.

IV.M.5.3. Real Estate Surplus

Dr. Loeffelholz said the East 14 property by the National Guard Armory must be declared surplus so it can be sold. He said this property was purchased for a new elementary school, but the growth has not gone in that direction. He said the 17.11 acres are currently being rented for cash crops. He said the property will be put on closed bid, and there must be a minimum on price per acre. He said if the property is sold, an agreement may be reached with the new buyers to allow the person to finish farming the crops.

IV.M.6. Updates

Melick said he has no updates.

IV.N. Buildings & Sites/Technology
IV.N.1. Administrative Functions
IV.N.1.1. Hybrid Mowing Trailer Purchase Approval

The board approved the purchase of a Hybrid Mowing Trailer from D & K Trailers Inc. out of Coleridge NE for $7,750. He said this piece of equipment is being paid for out of money raised from the scrap materials collected at the old high school.

IV.N.1.2. 2017 Routine Maintenance and Summer Maintenance Projects

Dr. Loeffelholz said most of the items are routine maintenance and are put on to make sure it is done every year. He said there are some additional summer projects such as completing the concrete around poles and signs a the high school and new middle school; completing the move from the old middle school to the new middle school; and painting parts of the new middle school. He said the paint crew will go to the building that is supposed to be painted first and then go to the new middle school.

IV.N.2. Updates

All the board members have seen the middle school demolition. Dr. Loeffelholz said they are moving right along. He said he is very please with the progress, and they are ahead of schedule.

IV.O. Curriculum and Instruction
IV.O.1. Administrative Functions
IV.O.2. Updates

Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek said she has been working with 18 math teachers. She said this year they are doing research regarding math instruction and evaluating products to make a purchase. The levels being looked at are the elementary and middle school. The next step was to visit schools that are using these products. She said they have visited Schuyler and Omaha and will be heading to Lincoln tomorrow. Romshek said they visit the classrooms and watch the teachers do a lesson. Afterwards, they talk to the teachers, and they hear both positive and negative things about the products. She said this puts the teachers at ease hearing from someone using it.

IV.P. Student Services
IV.P.1. Administrative Functions
IV.P.2. Updates

Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services Jason Harris said kindergarten numbers are up this year. Due to the space limitations, he said the highest projected enrollment is at West Park with 53. As of now there are 210 enrolled. He said Lost Creek also has a high first grade moving to second grade. Harris said these are the highest numbers he has seen this early. Harris said the Early Entrance Exam for kindergarten is tomorrow. If a child is born between August 1 and Oct. 15, they can request to be tested for early entrance to kindergarten. He said there are 10 families that have requested to be tested. Harris said last year no one made it.

A BIST representative will visit May 18-19 and give the district a report. Harris said at the beginning of year, UNL’s Learning Frontiers program approached him about doing research on third graders. He said they will look at students to track them from preschool to third grade. Harris said they will compare those who went to preschool and those who did not, and those who went to public preschool and those who went to private preschool. Harris said this study group also wants to talk to a board member, so he will contact someone when he knows when. Harris said this will give the district data supporting why preschool is important.

Harris said the ideal number for kindergarten is 19 students, but those that live in the attendance area can have class sizes as large as 25. He said when this happens, they encourage parents to go to another school.  Harris said typically families will make the move. Dr. Loeffelholz said when option kindergarten students are accepted, they are not assigned a school until the district has a firmer number. They are placed in the school where there is room. Harris said there are 66 students that were contacted but didn't show up for registration. He said he will ask the private schools if there are any public students who have enrolled in their schools for kindergarten.

IV.Q. Superintendent's Report

The Chamber annual dinner will be held tomorrow at CHS. Dr. Loeffelholz told the board if they want to attend to tell let him know, and he will get them a ticket. CPS has two tables. He also told the board that any time they want to walk through the new middle school to contact either Leonard Kwapnioski or him.  Dr. Loeffelholz said the National School Board Association Conference was a great trip and very educational. Next month he would like Jacob Ritter to present on his choir trip to New York. He said the district will also be applying for a rebate check on installing LED lighting at the new middle school. The employee banquet is May 12 at the American Legion with the social beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The winners of the Educator of the Year and Operations Employee of the Year will be announced at this time.

IV.Q.1. CPS Employee Banquet – May 12, 2017


IV.R. Board Sharing

Tim Pospisil thanked the West Park staff for their presentation. He also congratulated LunchTime Solutions on the meal they prepared for the board. Pospisil said the food was better than he remembered eating in school. He also apologized to the board for missing the preboard meetings. Doug Molczyk also thanked West Park for their presentation. He said the staff is amazing, and he loved all the remodeling and polished floors. Molczyk said he had the privilege of seeing the music program at Lost Creek, and the students did an awesome job. He also went to the middle school play, and it was outstanding. He said it is hard to believe that middle school students could do a musical at that age. He said he had a great time at the National School Board Association meeting in Denver. Molczyk said he learned that the CPS board operates more efficiently than other boards. He said CPS has a story to share and the district should consider presenting next year. Mike Goos also gave a shout out to the West Park staff. He said they are there for the right reasons. Goos said the new middle school is an awesome place and people don't recognize it as the old high school. He said Denver was interesting, and he learned a lot of new things. Doug Willoughby also thanked the West Park staff. He said the presentations show that the elementary schools staff have put in a lot of work into preparation. He said he was surprised that Columbus was the only board with six members at the national convention, and he said he received a lot of questions as to what is done if there is a tie vote. Willoughby said he told the group that hasn’t happened.  He said Dan Keiter has been a big part of high school and middle school and his mom passed away. Theresa Seipel thanked West Park as well. She said a person can still see the helping spirit of the staff, which was there when she subbed at the school for a month several years ago. Seipel said there are a lot of kids in that building where school may be the best part of their day. She said the Chamber Banquet is a big deal, and the fact that they wanted to have it at the high school speaks volumes of their support.  She said Denver was amazing and she enjoyed it. Seipel said the board had a good time bonding. She said it was nice that they all got to go. Next year the national meeting will be in San Antonio.


V. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session.
VI. Adjourn

The board adjourned at 8:40 p.m.


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