The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met on Monday, August 13th.
During the Public Comments, Stephanie Novoa, appeared on behalf of the Dawson County Nebraska Work Force Development that is part of Dawson Area Development. Novoa explained that her agency held a Sophomore Summit in Lexington last year where students could visit with businesses of their choice. They also had a Senior Lunch at Cozad High School this past April.
Included in the programming with county schools this year is a Student Leadership Class for Youth Development Dawson County with ten high school juniors in the county selected by their applications to attend the monthly meetings. The meetings will begin in September.
Representing Cozad will be juniors Bryaunna Everett and Meghan Pfaby.
Phil Klein, Account Manager with VVS Surveillance Systems appeared to present some options for Video Door Station and Access Control at both the middle school and the high school. Klein noted that the district has a good IT infrastructure and that the high school and the middle school can be brought in on one server with advanced scheduling features.
One goal is to have the schools locked down during school hours with those coming to the school being required to push a button to allow or disallow their access into the buildings.
The board discussed the options and decided that the security system updates will be on next year’s budget.
Middle School Guidance Counselor Bill Shaffer reported on the success of last year’s Courage Retreats presented by Youth Frontiers for 7th and 8th grade students. Shaffer had contacted the two Youth Frontiers reps upon recommendation of CMS Principal Brian Regelin who had met them at an administrative meeting in Omaha.
The two Youth Frontier staff members, and the ten juniors and seniors from CHS that put on the retreat received an hour of intensive training before school the day of the retreat.
According to Shaffer the retreat encourages team and leadership building with the three tenets being: Be True to Yourself; Take a Stand for Others and Confront Personality Issues Within Yourself.
Follow-up surveys taken six weeks after the retreat showed that the students felt that the retreat helped them to build a good culture with everyone in the middle school including staff members.
Cost of the retreat for two grades last year was $5,500 Regelin and Shaffer would like to see this year’s 7th graders take part in the retreat at the end of this school year at a cost of $3,000. Both felt that it would be money well spent as it was last year.
Regelin reported that both the high school and middle school are now on an eight period day and bell schedule.
Regelin complimented the custodial staff on the work they completed during the summer months and applauded the efforts of John Smock in being able to repair mowers and vehicles thus saving the district money by only having to purchase the necessary parts.
Regelin also noted that the district would be saving 50 percent on cleaning supplies by going through a company who brings out the supplies and utilizes fill stations. The company is also providing training.
Regelin reported that there are nine new students registered at the middle school so far and that only seven of the incoming 6th grade students and their parents did not attend the open house.
Elementary Principal Dale Henderson reported that there are 70 instead of the projected 56 incoming Kindergarten students. “We have over 400 students Grades K-5 and have grown over ten students from this time last year,” Henderson said.
Superintendent Joel Applegate reported that he is working on a $42,000 grant for a bus and that the in-service days have been quite busy.
“The HVAC system is looking pretty good and the water is chilling in the pipes in hopes that the AC can be turned on soon,” Applegate said. Applegate also reported that the high school locker room was almost finished.
Under the Consent Agenda Items, 11 new classified hires were approved. Brenna Richie is the new CEEC Secretary. Tasia Aden, who worked as an ELL last year will be .625 FTE Social Worker and .375 ELL this year. Hired as AfterZone Paraprofessionals were LaDonna Brock, Phyllis Fleenor, Tylyn Haynes, Jordanne Boehle, Christina Perez and Jean Critchfield. Roger Henderson, Tina Henderson and Stephen Fokken were hired as Route and Activity Bus Drivers.
Discussion took place on the amount the district has to pay into the AfterZone Program. The program is entering its 12th year in existence this year and has a lot more students than expected when the grant was written twelve years ago.
According to Ramona Priel, the district has to match the $57,600 grant that is received each year for the program.
According to Priel, “We pay a lot more than that since we have so many families and students utilizing it and more than 80 percent do not pay since they are on free or reduced lunches.”
Priel said that $20,000 is taken in for tuition each year which does not come close to paying for it, but that the AfterZone Program is huge in Cozad and a definite advantage to the families who utilize it.
Under Action Items, board members approved the transfer of $33,070 from the Building Fund to the General Fund for reimbursement of asbestos removal expenses. Also approved were payments from the Building Fund to ControlTemp, Inc. for the boilers in the amount of $94,898 and from the Building Fund to Snell Services, Inc. for partial completion of the Boiler Room Mechanical Revisions in the amount of $78,214.33.
General Contractor Ed Kucirek from Kucirek Engineering had certified these payments, and board members also approved the payment from the Building Fund to Jones Plumbing for partial completion of the Locker Room Mechanical Project in the amount of $28,8000 once certification has been received from Kucirek.
Board members approved the purchase of a 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan in the amount of $22,375. The van has 5,600 miles and was purchased from Pony Express Chevrolet.
Under Discussion Items, the board members discussed the ‘Conceal/Carry for Trained Teachers’. Board member Edd Albrecht is absolutely on board with this should it every happen. Board Member Joel Carlson felt that a Safety Person should perhaps be hired, but some members felt this person couldn’t be effective with four buildings to cover.
It was reported that Cozad Police officers do make unannounced walk-throughs at least once per month in each building and the drug dogs go through each building once per year. The middle school is planning to practice lockdown procedures quarterly this year.