Presentations highlight school board agenda

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A Skills USA program, updates from school counselors and a report from the Wayne Community Schools Foundation were on the agenda when the Wayne Community Schools' Board of Education met Monday.

BJ Woehler, Broch Muhs, John Vinchattle and Luke Virgil, members of the Wayne Business & Industry  committee, spoke to the board  on the benefits of offering a Skills USA program at the school.

"There are not enough people to do the work that is needed in this community. A number of different careers are tied to Skills USA activities and a majority of the larger employers in the community are willing to get involved with the program," Virgil said.

Vinchattle, who is employed at Wayne State College and has had experience with the Skills USA program,  said "this is a great avenue for students who may not be involved in other activities. I would love to explore the possibility of using the college labs in the Center for Applied Technology department."

All four of the Business & Industry committee discussed the benefits to students, the school and the community.

No decision was made on the request at the meeting and future discussion will take place.

Kim Lubberstedt and Lindsey Knutson, school counselors, were present at the meeting to discuss the impact of having a counselor with Heartland Counseling Services in the school system.

Both said that since the school began offering the services in March, "the program has been well received by families."

Since March, there have been 10 referrals of K-6 students and seven students are participating in the program. In the junior and senior high school, there have been 13 referrals and 10 students participating.

Counseling services are being provided this summer with 13 students receiving services and three on a waiting list.

Both school counselors said that having another person available to assist with students' needs has been beneficial and gave specific examples of the positive impact on the students.

"Looking forward, I would like to see the program expand. Having a mental health counselor in each building would be beneficial to both the students and the staff," Knutson said.

Brandon Foote, Director of the Wayne Community School Foundation, presented the annual report on Foundation activities.

These included the awarding of four IDEA grants to teachers in the amount of $1,500 each, the awarding of numerous scholarships and the fact that the Foundation has obtained sponsorship for 56 signs for the gym.

In addition, a Foundation Community Breakfast with updates from the Ag and FFA programs was scheduled for Wednesday of this week.

Several items were approved in regard to using the Construction Management at Risk method for construction delivery.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan told the board that the community facilities committee had met and determined several priorities for the district moving forward. Among these are the construction of a Pre-K - 2 facility, a FEMA rated storm shelter and an addition to the high school for science labs.

Dr. Lenihan also gave a preliminary schedule, including the possibility of a bond election in March of 2023.

The board approved the action to  use the Construction Management at Risk Delivery Method, the criteria for selection of such a firm and the members of the committee.

Dr. Lenihan added that the action "only means we are committed to getting the process moving forward."

In other action, the board approved first reading of the K-6 2022-23 Student Handbook. Elementary  Principal Russ Plager explained changes that were included.

A bid from Kemps of LeMars, Iowa was accepted for milk and dairy products for the 2022-23 school year. There have been price increases but the district will not be raising prices for the lunch program because of the cash overage in the lunch account.

Action was tabled on the First Student Bus Contract Addendum.

Not all the information was available as the bus company is looking to fill driver positions.

During Administration reports, Dr. Lenihan presented information on the district's Strategic Plan, substitute teacher rates and LB 644, which involves a joint public tax request hearing.

In committee reports, information was shared on activities throughout the district in regard to American Civics and the programs presented in conjunction with the various observances such as Constitution Day, Veterans' Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Building security was discussed by the Facility, Safety and Finance Committee and several suggestions were made for future changes.

The Wayne Community Schools' Board of Education will next meet in regular session on Monday, July 11 at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Early Learning Center, located at 803 Providence Road.

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