Strategic plan, restroom renovation on board agenda




The Wayne Community Schools Board of Education took steps on Monday to develop a strategic plan to help determine the future of the district.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan said the district has not had a stategic plan put together since the 2009-2010 school year.

The district will work with the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NASB) for the process. This will include surveys of various groups of stakeholders in the district, including the board, staff, students and community members.

The cost for the work is estimated to be between $9,500 and $11,000, which has been budgeted for.

In regard to the restroom renovation project, an agreement was signed with OCC Builders, Inc., Construction Manager at Risk, for the project.

The guaranteed maximum price for the project, including a 10 percent contingency fee, is $353,700. This amount does include three alternates added to the project and will not be higher than agreed upon unless the district choses to add something to the work being done.

Keith Moje with OCC Builders explained to the board what the project will entail and said he felt comfortable with the process that the school has taken to get to this point.

Moje said his firm will work with the school on when the project will begin.

During the communication from the public period, the board listened to concerns from speakers.

Mindy Heithold talked to the board about her feelings on the wearing of masks by the students.

"It is high time for the kids to be unmasked. Masks are not good for you and kids are not socializing. There is a lot of anxiety. Area schools are doing away with masks," Heithold said.

Sonya Tompkins, who has been the High Ability Learner (HAL) Coordinator and elementary art teacher, spoke to the board on the value of the programs.

Tompkins is stepping away from the position after eight years. The board has chosen not to fill her position at this time.

Tompkins told the board, "I took this job because of the kids. I understand that it is difficult because of the budget, but art is not a class to lose. It provides a break from structured learning. Also, HAL is a right for these students. Please don't make it an after school program."

The hiring of Sara Oltjenbruns for the Library/Media Specialist position at the Elementary School and Samantha Novak for an elementary teacher position were approved.

Board members also received an update from Superintendent Dr. Lenihan on the COVID-19 situation in the district.

Dr. Lenihan said that staff members have had the opportunity to receive the second dose of the vaccine. In addition, the district is still under the quarantine/isolation mandate for anyone who has been exposed to the virus.

There have been a total of 234 staff absences this school year because of COVID-19. This includes the entire staff.

Dr. Lenihan said that mask wearing is still mandated, but if the health department's risk dial would move downward into the green category (least likely to have community spread of the virus) the district could move to a mask-recommended phase.

Board approval was given to  allow Dr. Lenihan to do so if that happens.

In other action, board members set the last day of school for seniors as Tuesday, May 11. Students in K-11 will have a full day on Thursday, May 20 as the last day of the 2020-2021 school year. Pre-school graduation will be held Wednesday, May 12.

First reading approval was given for the 7-12 grade student handbook and 2021-2022 Kids Club Handbook. Only minor changes were made to these documents.

Dr. Leniahn also updated the board on the lunch fund cash overage and listed a number of items that could be purchased with these funds.

One of the reasons for the excess funds is the fact that the district has been reimbursed differently for lunches due to COVID-19.

The district is required to submit documentation acknowledging the excess funds and state that lunch prices will not be raised.

The Wayne Community Schools Board of Education will next meet in regular session on Monday, May 10 at 5 p.m. at the junior-senior high school.