Opening of school plan, budget on school board agenda


 The plan for beginning the 2020-2021 school year and the district's budget for the coming year were discussed at length during Monday's regular meeting of the Wayne Community Schools' Board of Education.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan presented detailed information on the re-opening plan for the new school year.

Dr. Lenihan shared information from the Northeast Public Health Department on the recommended procedures for students who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

He said the health department "really stresses the importance of wearing masks" and that the first question to be asked in a situation where someone tests positive for the virus is "were they wearing a mask?" If those around the person testing positive were wearing masks, they will be allowed to remain in school.

The district has been working throughout the summer to develop a plan for building in time when students will not have wear masks. Also being stressed are good hand hygiene and social distancing.

"We are hopeful things will go well and are looking forward to starting school this week," Dr. Lenihan said.

He said the number of students for the coming year may be slightly different than originally project due to several parents choosing to delay the start of school for their kindergarten students and other factors.

Information was presented on the district's budget for the coming fiscal year.

Dr. Lenihan told the board that the current budget is based on last year's property valuation. The levy for the coming year will not be set until the new valuations are announced on Aug. 20.

The 2020-2021 fiscal year includes a $350,00 increase in the General Fund budget. This is an increase of less than two percent in this portion of the budget. The majority of the increase is staff salaries.

Dr. Lenihan explained some of the items in budget that are seeing changes, both increases and decreases. 

Board discussion included the amount needed in the district's cash reserve. The general recommendation is to have three months' worth of expenses in reserve. The proposed budget would result in $2.4 million in the fund, which is nearly that amount.

New staff members were introduced during the meeting.

They include Vicki Smith, who will be teaching junior high science classes; Alina Surber, who will be teaching Family & Consumer Science classes; Nichelle Stolzer who will teach Special Education classes at the Elementary School and Jacob Daum, who will teach Special Education Resource classes at the junior high level.

Board members tabled any action on adding bowling as a sport for the coming school year.

Dr. Lenihan told the board he has received more information from the Nebraska School Athletic Association (NSAA) on the requirements, but is waiting on the possibility of  forming a coop with another school. He said the Wayne High students will be surveyed in the coming weeks to determine the actual interest in the sport.

It is anticipated that having a bowling program would cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

In other action, the board approved on second reading a number of board policies, the 2020-2021 teacher handbook and the 2020-2021 non-certified staff handbook.

Wayne Community Schools Foundation Director Brandon Foote updated the board on Foundation activities, including the tailgate event planned for Friday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Kern Track. This will include the turning on of the lights at the track.

The annual Kevin J. Murray Fishing Tournament which raises funds for the Foundation will be held Saturday, Aug. 29.

The Wayne Community Schools will hold a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 27 to approve end of the fiscal year claims and possibly take action on the implementation of a bowling program for the district.

The next monthly meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.