NRHEG School Board
By REED WALLER
Several projects were examined by the NRHEG School Board at their September meeting Monday, Sept. 17.
Ellendale sound system
Representatives from the PTO and music instructor Frank Whitcomb were on hand to discuss the purchase of a new sound system for the Ellendale Gym.
A sound system was tested last year in cooperation with Audio Logic Systems, with the speaker installation above the stage.
“It made a big difference,” said Whitcomb.
A new system which Whitcomb and the PTO believe will suit Ellendale’s needs is estimated to cost approx. $20,500.
The PTO now has about $4,000 in donations and is working up to a $10,000 goal. Would the district agree to matching funds?
Some guarded dispute ensued, with remarks from board members about keeping audiences quiet and teaching children how to use the microphone which were countered by remarks from Whitcomb and PTO members about audiences of parents being unable to hear anything during concerts and Prairie Fire Theater.
An installation similar to New Richland’s was considered, but it was decided there were too many challenges, and an audio consultant would have been required at additional expense.
An installation could be completed by Dec. 3 – in time for Christmas events – if no equipment needs to be back-ordered. But Audio Logic requires $13,644 down, on signing.
The board agreed to commit to their share of $11,264 on the understanding that the PTO will provide $10,000.
Kitchen retooling begins
The New Richland cafeteria’s new kitchen equipment was mentioned.
“The new hot tables are hot,” Wellen reported with satisfaction, “and there’s been good reaction from the new cafeteria rules and the new serving sizes.”
Representative from ICS Consulting was back with a more detailed breakdown of the $1.3 million proposed kitchen/cafeteria remodeling project. Last month the board deferred committing to anything until further details about the planning process were available.
The board was interested to know what minimum amount of financial obligation would be necessary to get things initiated.
It would be necessary to get things started now in order to expect completion by the beginning of the next school year. The Department of Education approval process alone can take two to three months.
The project, which would absorb the south half of the current Media Center into a new cafeteria/commons area, and would also renovate the (adjacent) front entrance, is expected to cost $1,321,285. Revenues from general obligation bonds plus $150,000 Health and Safety money could provide all but about $2,500 of the cost.
The recommended renovation of the entryway was still being debated, since it would use funds the district had earmarked for bus cameras.
“If we go for the entryway,” Wellen had said at a work session on Aug. 29, “when we do go for the bus cameras, the money will have to come from a different source.”
Ultimately, the board voted in favor of a motion to proceed with the initial planning, with up-front money not to exceed $5,000.
The board agreed to a proposal to extend the contract with the City of New Richland to include the outfield fence on the softball field. The infield has already been moved, Wellen said, at a cost of just over $36,000, breaking down to $7,300 for New Richland and $29,200 for NRHEG.
The cost of replacing the outfield fence is expected to be covered by sponsorships from area builders and merchants.
After the new fence is built, the school’s Construction Trade class has committed to build the dugouts, with materials donated by the New Richland Firefighters. They have also declared that by the end of October they should be ready to redo the garage roof.
The board agreed to commit the district to the balance of the $30,000 stipulated in the district’s contract with the City.
The Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement was approved.
It was required to be approved by October 15, but the district’s science scores had just come out that day, Wellen reported.
The news was good: results across the board, especially in math, showed “dramatic increases” over last year.
Also just before the meeting, the paraprofessionals ratified their agreement for 2012-2013, so the agreement was added to the agenda and approved.
The agreement with the paraprofessionals is only for one year, Wellen explained, since changing government regulations may require the district to buy into a health plan next year.
Donations were approved for: Capella University $52.00 for general fund, Anonymous $550 for Teacher Breakfast, and donations for Eagle Bluff from Farmers State Bank ($125), New Richland Firemen’s Relief Assoc. ($180), and Hartland Firefighters Relief Assoc. ($200).
Truth in Taxation
The annual Truth in Taxation hearing will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m.