|Gering Board of Education begins new year with patron concerns|
|January 19, 2012 Lauren Smith-Kuckkahn|
Photo by Lisa Betz/Gering Citizen
Gering School District principals hold the AdvancedEd banner presented to each of them by Superintendent Don Hague to commemorate the district’s accreditation with the organization. Front row from left, Northfield Elementary Principal Pam Barker, Director of Curriculum and Assessment Terri Martin, Cedar Canyon Principal Betty Smith, Jr. High Principal Dora Olivares, Lincoln Elementary Principal George Schlothauer. Back row: High School Principal Eldon Hubbard, Freshman Academy Principal Kraig Weyrich and Geil Elementary Principal Mary Kay Haun.
Board appointments, patron concerns and bid approvals were on the agenda for the Gering Public Schools Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday night.
Mike Brunner and B.J. Peters were unanimously reelected to the positions of president and vice president, respectively. All other board members were re-appointed to their positions, and all committees remained the same with the exception of Personnel Negotiations and Facilities. Brunner switched board member Mary Winn from the Facilities Committee to Personnel Negotiations, and Brian Copsey from Personnel Negotiations to Facilities.
During patron comments, concerned parent Darren Duncan addressed the board. Duncan, the father of a high school athlete and junior high athlete, said that he is concerned that during recent out-of-town games, his children had to bring their own money for meals and were “on their own” in buying food. He said that during a recent trip to Holdrege, the students were told to leave the bus and walk around town to find businesses in which to buy food, during which time they were mostly unsupervised and his daughter was exposed to drive-by honking and heckling.
Duncan said in past years, meals were provided and team members ate together. He said it is not uncommon for a team to order a pizza or sandwiches and have the meals delivered to their hotel or bus, which limits situations where students are left wandering around un-chaperoned. He said that if the schools want to hold students to a higher standard of excellence, the schools must exhibit a higher standard in the way that students are treated.
Peters acknowledged Duncan’s address and said that the board would take his concerns under consideration.
A bid for the installation of Lincoln Elementary’s cabling and wireless networking was accepted from CenturyLink, a nation-wide service located out of Monroe, La. The board voted to accept CenturyLink’s bid of $81,000 for cabling and $33,000 for wireless networking. The project must be completed by April 15. Other bids received for the cabling project were from Nebraska Safety and Fire, which submitted a bid for $116,000, and Protex Central, which submitted a bid of $170,000.
Efforts to update and improve the high school building move forward as a contract for the high school window replacement project was awarded to Thompson Glass of Scottsbluff. Thompson Glass submitted a bid of $190,000. The other project bid was received from Glass Masters in Cheyenne, Wyo. for $185,000.
Business Manager Tim Meisner explained that the contract was awarded to Thompson Glass because by Nebraska statute all non-local bids must have an additional five percent added, after which local business Thompson Glass’s bid was competitive.
The Gering Citizen was approved as the district’s Paper of Record for a second year.
An early graduation request was received from Gering High School junior Antonia Hale. Hale transferred to the Gering district with extra credits, and her request is the first of its kind in a decade. High school principal Eldon Hubbard reviewed her records and met with the student and her father. In conclusion, Hubbard recommended to the board that Hale’s request for early graduation be granted. The board approved Hale’s request, and she will graduate in the spring.
The board approved Patricia Green’s resignation from her position at Gering High School at the end of the school year. Green, who is the Business Instructor, said she is leaving her position for retirement.
After 20 years of teaching Natalie Jenkins also submitted a letter of resignation. Jenkins received the governor’s Nebraska Teacher of the Year award in 2007 and was voted “Favorite Teacher” in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald’s 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards. Jenkins wrote in her resignation letter that although she is ineligible for official retirement, she is leaving her position in order to have more personal time.
Superintendent Don Hague presented district principals with AdvancED banners to commemorate the district’s accreditation with the organization. AdvancedEd is a school improvement service that offers insight and research that may help districts set goals that produce better learning outcomes. A year ago the district celebrated its accreditation with AdvancedEd’s North Central Association, Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Only 20 public school districts in Nebraska are accredited with AdvancedEd.
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