Public Meeting Minutes: January 8, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole


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January 8, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole Minutes

January 8, 2018 at 5:30 PM - Committee As A Whole
I. Committee As A Whole
I.A. Call to Order
I.B. Roll Call of Board
I.C. Pledge of Allegiance
I.D. Notice of Open Meeting Posted
I.D.1. President insures all can hear proceedings
I.E. Presentations
I.E.1. Columbus Middle School

CMS Principal Amy Haynes talked about the number of changes with moving into a new building. The number of students increased from 851 last year to 1,118 this year due to the addition of the 267 fifth graders. There were also an additional 21.5 teachers added, and the addition of another half of an administrator.  The new building is also more than 100,000 square feet larger than the old facility. This year all grades have four teams to create smaller learning communities.  A switch was also made from a block schedule to a 40-minute period schedule but math and language arts are still a double period. Haynes said an advisory period was added to make sure every student can connect to a teacher at the beginning of the day.

The fifth grade is being divided by the three school counselors.  In addition to having some fifth graders, counselors are assigned to stay with one grade until they leave middle school. Haynes said they have also eliminated the A/B schedule except for in music and fitness in fifth and sixth grades, which means those classes meet every other day.  The sixth-grade band was also broken into smaller sections, and art is required for all fifth grade students.  Haynes said art has never been required in the past, but now 100 percent of the middle school students will get art. All students take computer classes. They must take it in fifth and sixth grades and either seventh or eighth grade. Fifth and sixth graders take three exploratory classes, which are 12 weeks instead of 16 and include STEM. Win time takes place every day and the subjects rotate on which one is the priority for the day. Haynes said CMS is very different from a year ago. She said the staff is currently looking at why all grades went down in NeSA math. The CMS NeSA RLA scores were even with the state scores. She said the staff is pleased with the science scores for the eighth grade, but the fifth grade did drop a little.  

CMS currently has 28 VEX Robots. There are 125 students taking the robotics class at CMS. STEM teacher Kelly Loschen said Vex Robotics require a lot of physics. He said another important part is gear ratios. Loschen said the students also learn how to program the joystick to control the speed. There is a competition robotics group called, Columbus Middle School and High School VEX Robotics Team. The middle school team is open to seventh and eighth graders. This year there are 10 eighth graders on the team, and there are two teams. Each person on the team has a different role. In a competition, the team gets a minute and half to stack as many cones as possible with their robot. STEM and Robotics coach Joe Krysl said there are opportunities beyond class. The CMS team will next be competing on January 20 at Omaha Benson. He said the CMS team finished in eighth place out of 32 teams at the Lakeview competition and sixth place in the interview. The CMS teams were the only middle school teams at the event. Krysl said the students must draw the assembly for the Vex Robot in Solid Works.

Jared Johnson is the school counselor for all seventh graders, Angie Kruse for all sixth graders, and Kim Shevlin for all eighth graders. Johnson said school counselors are teaching the same number of lessons, but the students are receiving less because of the addition of the fifth graders. He said last year, there were 1,142 student meetings and this year over 1,600 student meetings.  The department has a SMART goal for students who have three or more office referrals in a quarter or have a grade point average below 2.3.  Johnson said there were 260 students with a Smart Goal last year and 209 this year. He said the work is paying off because students’ GPA's are going up and there is a reduction in referrals. Kruse said they are also working to apply to be a RAMP School. She said one of the key factors in this is looking at student needs.

RAMP is a ASCA National Model and CMS would be aligning their program with a national, accepted and recognized model. Kruse said this will help evaluate the program goals and areas for improvement. She said the program will take two or three years to apply for it. Kruse said individual schools must apply and not a school district. She said if CMS is chosen, it will be the only RAMP School in Nebraska outside of Lincoln and Omaha. The application is good for five years, and then a school can reapply. The Shipmates program is similar to TeamMates, but a teacher or adult checks in with a student 15 minutes a week. The mentees are chosen from teacher recommendation and based on that the student might need another adult in his or her life. The funding for this program comes through a grant from Platte County Juvenile Services. The parents are also a part of the Shipmates program and come to meetings. While the parents are meeting, the students are working with the adult advisor. At the parent meetings, things like attendance, ELL, homework issues, and how they can help their child are discussed.

Advisory is grade level specific. There are currently 28 students in the program and about 10-12 parents who attend regularly. The parents are getting more comfortable because they are asking to add topics to the agenda. Students have advisory every day, and there is curriculum for it. The idea behind advisory is to enhance the school community. Haynes said for the fifth and sixth graders it gives them a homeroom feel like at elementary. She said the staff have done a lot of things to tie into academics as well as address the social and emotional needs with students.

I.F. Board Special Functions
I.F.1. Field Trip/Excursion Approval/Junior Chorus Invitational in Nashville, TN/Jacob Ritter

The Barbershop Harmony Society will be hosting a Junior Chorus Invitational in Nashville, TN. CPS students would be leaving January 23, 2019 and returning on January 28, 2019. This trip will be similar to the New York trip but targeted at a different group of students. The trip is also more reasonably priced. This will give the choir an opportunity to start doing fundraising. Superintendent Dr. Troy Loeffelholz said they will even get to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

I.F.2. Election of President for 2018

Dr. Loeffelholz said the board must elect a president and vice president each year. He said in the past, it has been a two-year commitment, but it is up to the board if they would like to change.

I.F.3. Election of Vice President for 2018
I.F.4. Appointments by the Board President

Theresa Seipel said if anyone does not want the same appointment as last year, please contact her.

I.F.5. Approval of Financial Institutions

This is something that has not been done for a long time. Executive Director of Business Operations and Human Resources Dave Melick said he sent out Request for Proposals on Dec. 27 to 13 financial institutions. The proposals had to be back by January 5. He said CPS received seven responses back. Melick said the motion on Monday will say CPS can work with the following institutions to find the best rates for the district: Bank of Valley, Bank First, Columbus Bank and Trust, Cornerstone Bank, First National Bank, Great Plains State Bank and Pinnacle Bank.

I.F.6. Approval of School Attorneys

The school attorneys will be Grant & Grant for land issues and other local items and Perry, Guthrie, Haase & Gessford, P.C., LLO and KSB School Law for school and personnel related issues.

I.F.7. Approval of Media Outlets

The Columbus Telegram and Columbus News Team will be the two media outlets.

I.F.8. Appointment of Dr. Troy Loeffelholz as the Affirmative Action Coordinator
I.F.9. Discussion regarding Old Middle School Building

Dr. Loeffelholz said when the district went through the bond issue, the question was first raised as to what to do with the old middle school. He said it was determined to give the board and administration two years from the time staff and students moved into the new high school to make a recommendation. One option was to move the district office to the facility and put preschool on the first floor of the 1965 and 1988 buildings. The STEM area could be used for professional development and a board room. The ELL, curriculum and instruction and technology areas will also be located in this area. On the second floor would be the superintendent’s department, business and special education. There could also be more preschool classrooms added by taking some of the cafeteria. The 1924 building must be razed and the cost, at the time of the bond issue, was $500,000 but now could be closer to $600,000 to $700,000. Even though only a sign was placed in front of the building, eight people have expressed an interest in the building and 5.75 acres for land. There is also and additional .48 acres of parking across the street. Dr. Loeffelholz said Plan A could be using it for district office and early childhood. He said it could also be sold, and the district could look somewhere else to put central office and preschool. The district currently does not own land anywhere else.

Candy Becher said she is concerned about not being able to find enough space anywhere else in the community. Theresa Seipel said there should not be much asbestos in the newer areas to worry about. Executive Director of Building Operations and Technology Leonard Kwapnioski said there could still be some in the new areas in the ceiling tiles, pipe wrapping and glue on tile. He said he is not sure how the HVAC system will work because it will need to be redone as well. Kwapnioski said the HVAC is a big unknown.  
He said all the windows need to be replaced as well. Doug Molczyk said if the building sits vacant for another few years, it will deteriorate even more. He said there is no money to do anything with it now. Kwapnioski said there is 135,000 square feet total in the building including the 1924 section. He said he will find out how much is in the new areas. He also told the board there is still some of newer section that needs to be sprinklered before a preschool can be started.

The district has spent about $5,000 on the building since it has been vacated. The price of the land will depend on what the person wants to do with it. Becher said she is concerned because the district will have no control over what goes there once someone purchases. Theresa Seipel said she is concerned that if the new owner doesn’t follow through, the problems and expenses could fall back on CPS. Dr. Loeffelholz said once it is sold, CPS is no longer responsible. Becher said she is bothered that the board said the building would be fine for a central office and preschool when the bond issues was being voted on and now it is no longer. Tim Pospisil asked how much it would cost to knock the whole building down and design something that exactly fits the needs of CPS. The number of preschool students depends on how it is arranged, Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services Jason Harris said. He said if they decided to go to an all-day preschool that would require a regular teacher to be with the kids all day. Harris said it could also be arranged that the students are in a daycare for half the day and preschool for the other half. He said there are some creative ways to go about it.  There would be money available to start a preschool but it would not cover the cost of putting up a new building. Mike Goos said he likes Pospisil idea because the old middle school is a great location. He said this needs to be explored in more detail. Kwapnioski said he can show the board the building if they would like to see it. He said it is a nice building but not necessarily for a school because of all the things that must be done to it. He said a private buyer would not have so many regulations. Pospisil said the board needs to know what it costs to knock down and build new. Molczyk said if someone purchase’s the land, they might qualify for Tiff financing. Becher said it will still be difficult to find property that is centrally located. Dr. Loeffelholz said there is no immediate need for anyone to move for a few years. He said there are a lot of options. Dr. Loeffelholz said he will get more information on an estimated cost to demolition the entire building and other options. He said by summer, the board may have an idea of what should be done. Dr. Loeffelholz said this will be discussed again next month.

I.G. Consent Agenda
I.G.1. Approval of Minutes
I.G.2. Financial Reports M2, M3, M4a

There was $719,117 in reimbursement from last year through NCLB Title I. Schumacher, Smejkal, Brockhaus & Herley were paid $14,670 for the audit. Snap-on Industrial was paid $11,014.43 for torque certification. Dr. Loeffelholz said some of the money for the certification came from a grant. He said next year, they will be writing a grant for the construction program.

I.G.3. Financial Report M4b

Board Member Candy Becher will be paid $102.72 for reimbursement to the state board of education conference.

I.G.4. Financial Report M4c

Board Member Mike Goos will be paid $102.72 for reimbursement to the state board of education conference.

I.G.5. Financial Report M4d

Seipel Repair Inc. will be paid $346.50 for work on buses.


I.G.6. Certified Personnel

CHS English teacher Jacob Belvery resigned for next school year to go teach in China.

I.G.7. Classified Personnel
I.G.8. Professional Travel
I.H. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations

The total contributions from the CPS Foundation and umbrella organizations for the month of December were $48,068.75. Dr. Loeffelholz said the Vocal Music Boosters is a new group that just started within the last year. There was $27,057.51 donated for STEM 3D printers. Dr. Loeffelholz said the Donor gave $50,000 to purchase 3D printers, and the other half will be spent on supplies and replacement costs. He said all the 3D printers are on storage racks in the classroom.

I.I. Business Operations and Human Relations
I.I.1. Policies
I.I.2. Administrative Functions
I.I.2.1. Charitable Giving Fund Raising Application

Melick said the high school art department wants to do an empty bowl project where they sell pottery bowls during the spring art show with the money going to United Way. He said North Park also wants to sell snacks after school with proceeds going to Sammy Superheroes.

I.I.2.2. Approval of Superintendent's Contract Extension through June 30, 2021

The superintendent’s contract and superintendent’s pay transparency notice must be published in a public place before they can be approved by the board. Melick said these items will be posted on the website Thursday. He said this will give the public notice in case they want to speak on the contract.

I.I.3. Updates

Melick said he met with 11 people who were eligible for early retirement. He said he has received one application so far. The deadline to turn in applications is Feb. 16. He said the resignations will be approved at the Feb. 19 meeting.  

I.J. Buildings & Sites/Technology
I.J.1. Policies
I.J.2. Administrative Functions
I.J.3. Updates: -CPS Sports Complex

Dr. Loeffelholz, Leonard Kwapnioski and Kim Kwapnioski have met with four engineering firms to discuss a conceptual design for the new CPS Sports Complex. Kwapnioski said all were different and unique. The firms were asked to come up with a conceptual design as to what the 24 acres could be used for. Kwapnioski said the district wants two softball fields, two baseball fields, concession stand, additional parking, storage shed and maybe tennis courts. He said next month he will come back with a recommendation to work with one of four firms. Bids for conceptual design are due by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

He said the district has donated some turf to 1C Church for indoor baseball/softball practice areas. Kwapnioski said there has been a lot of interest generated by the sports complex. He said there will be several community groups involved. He said CPS will own the complex and oversee it. The district may enter into a contract with other groups for use, but CPS kids will come first.  He said the Columbus Baseball Associations wants to really get this going, and they were the first to approach CPS. He said the city has also expressed an interest in participating, but wants to see what it will look like first. Kwapnioski said the project is a long way away from breaking ground.

He said the boiler pipe that broke at the old middle school will be repaired and will cost around $3,800. He said there was a small electrical fire at old middle school. He said a motor burned up and the maintenance crew is in the process of ordering another to help keep the temperature at 50 degrees. He said there were also two pipes that burst in the kitchen but no damage was done because they were in areas that has floor drains. He said the building was only without heat for about a day. He said maintenance staff regularly checks on the building in the cold weather to make sure everything is ok in the morning and evening. Kwapnioski said with as cold as it has been, a person can only hope it is still doing ok in the morning.

Kwapnioski said he is unsure when the surplus sale will take place. He said they are still in the process of sorting items. The top two floors are completely clean except for the halls. Kwapnioski said the heat was turned up in the buildings several days before the students came back but there had been 22 days without the temperature reaching 32 degrees.

I.K. Curriculum and Instruction
I.K.1. Policies
I.K.2. Administrative Functions
I.K.3. Updates

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek gave a second quarter update. She said the middle school family and consumer science teachers are adding four courses and purchasing new materials. The fifth-grade staff have social studies teachers who never taught only social studies so they are struggling getting through all the curriculum. Romshek said the teachers are looking at rewriting parts of the curriculum. ELA assessments were given to grades 4,5, and 6 and ELA instructional slides were created for K, 3, 4, and 6 grades. The high school science curriculum is being worked on. There will be a new physical science course and science courses will be revised at the middle school. In addition, the curriculum department has set up meetings with teacher representatives and NDE to get an update on the new science standards: three coaching support days for the seventh and eighth grade math program; held an ASOT training day, ASOT coaching and 2 ASOT booster trainings. There was also Dibels training and Dibels booster trainings. Romshek said there were also two reading support trainings for 38 K-6 teachers. The department also helped with coaching MAP training and held a math expressions training follow-up.

I.L. Student Services
I.L.1. Policies
I.L.1.1. Second and Final Reading of Policy 508.01 Student Health and Immunization Checkups
I.L.2. Administrative Functions
I.L.3. Updates

Harris said he just finished the ESSA grant, which will amount to around $900,000 in funding. He said once the grant is approved, the district can start applying for reimbursement. Harris said this is the new No Child Left Behind. He said he plans to apply for another preschool grant, which could be funded up to $175,000 with $25,000 for a new classroom. Harris said if the district gets the grant or not, one preschool from Centennial will be moved back to Lost Creek. He said if the school is approved, the other classroom will be at Centennial. North Park needs a preschool, but there is no room, and Centennial is the only location where additional space is available. Harris said transportation is only provided for special education students. He said parents typically find a way to get their child to preschool. Harris said the district will not know if they will receive the grant by preschool registration. He said Tami Altstadt will inform parents of the plan when they register.

I.M. Superintendent's Report

Dr. Loeffelholz said he finished the superintendent summits today at Centennial. He said the legislature is now in session, and there are several bills being proposed. Dr. Loeffelholz said it will be an interesting 60 days. He said the GNSA legislative committee is trying to stay on top of things. Dr. Loeffelholz said until bill introduction is done, all the leftover bills will be discussed. The legislature focus this year will be property taxes. He said he doesn’t think state aid will be discussed this session. Harris said there are $4 billion tax exempt bills on the books, but the legislature is still looking at reducing property taxes. He said he will be going to talk with the legislators in a few weeks. Dr. Loeffelholz told the board once he has dates, he will let the board know if they want to go and testify.


There is a conflict with the April Board meeting. Instead of having two meetings that month, the committee as a whole and regular meeting will both be help on April 16. Dr. Loeffelholz said there have been issues with the Lightspeed filter, and the company does not know what is going on. Kwapnioski said last week the district started looking into a trial run on a new system. This new filter is used by Lincoln Public Schools, ESU 3 and 21 of their schools. Kwapnioski said the two systems cannot be compared because they run different. He said hopefully the new trial filter will be up and running by the end of the week. Kwapnioski said this is a 30-day free trial, and at the end of the time period, the district must decide if it wants to keep the new filter. CPS has been with LightSpeed for five years. Kwapnioski said the current contract with Lightspeed runs from July 1 to June 30, and is just one year. He said the new one will be about $20,000 a year as compared to $16,000 a year, but the new system can do a lot more. Kwapnioski said LPS is happy with this company. He said with the new trial system, there will be three boxes. He said nothing will be imported from the old system. Kwapnioski said the new system can handle up to 8,000 devices, so the new machines won’t be a problem. 

I.M.1. 2018-2019 School Calendars

Dr. Loeffelholz said he will be sending four versions of the calendar to parents, students and staff to get input. After receiving input, the calendar will be sent to the committee. Dr. Loeffelholz said one thing that was clear was since staff was going into June, they did not want to start back to school the first week in August. He said the early start date has more flexible days off and professional development. The board asked how parents were going to be informed about the survey. Dr. Loeffelholz said other districts have had success by posting it on Facebook and Twitter.

I.N. Board Sharing

Doug Molczyk said the art show was amazing. Tim Pospisil thanked Amy Haynes and her team for their presentation. Dr. Loeffelholz said there will be a breakfast with Sen. Schumacher on January 15 at 7 a.m. at the Chamber building. He said the board is welcome to attend the breakfast.  

I.O. Executive Session

The board went into executive session at 8:19 p.m.

I.P. Adjourn

The board came out of executive session and adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

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