Cozad Board of Education Passes 2016-2017 Budget

The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016.
Prior to the regular meeting a Board of Education Budget Hearing and Budget Summary was conducted at 6:40 p.m.
Cozad residents Kathy Lemmer, Alan Rickertsen and Richard Ristine appeared to voice concerns over the proposed budget. A common theme for all three was that as land valuation rises the tax levy should go down.
“I paid $27,000 into the district for taxes this past year and simply cannot afford to do this any longer,” expressed Rickertsen.
A Tax Request Hearing followed the Budget Hearing.
The regular meeting began with administrative reports.
High School Principal Bill Beckenhauer reported that the high school students had completed two half days of MAPS testing. Similar testing will be conducted in May 2017 to assess students’ learning during the year.
He noted that the Marzano Training for staff members is going well on the first Wednesdays of each month and expressed appreciation to the board members for agreeing to have the high school involved in the early outs on the third Wednesdays of the month so that PLCs could meet involving elementary, middle school and high school staff members.
Homecoming festivities including a downtown pep rally are planned for Friday, September 23rd. Nebraska Shakespeare will be conducting workshops at the high school on Wednesday, September 28th.
On Friday, September 30th the first of two senior seminars will be conducted.
Cozad High School will be hosting the C4 golf district and the C6 softball district competitions.
Middle School Principal Brian Regelin noted that his students are completing their fall MAPS testing and will also be involved in NeSA testing.
An in-service on the ‘Schoolology’ program is planned for Monday, October 3rd.
The first round of CMS Activities classes will begin on Monday, September 19th.
Regelin commended new Transportation Director/Head Custodian Lonnie Dutton on his job performance so far. 
Special Education Director Jill Beckenhauer reported that the Family Night at CEEC on September 6th experienced a great turnout and that home visits have been completed. IEPs are currently being scheduled and conducted.
Activities Director Cory Spotanski reported that 55 of the 130 boys and 37 of the 98 girls in the middle school are involved in a fall sport. 61 of the 142 boys at the high school and 66 of the 149 girls are out for a fall sport. 60 students will take participate on this year’s One Act Team.
He also noted that ticket sales have increased so far this year as compared to last year.
On early release Wednesdays Spotanski and high school athletes will be hosting Character Ed activities for middle school athletes in the high school gym as they wait for their coaches for athletic practices.
Superintendent Joel Applegate reported that the Marzano Training is a two-year program with staff members being assigned to read chapters of the book each month.
Applegate has attended a labor relations meeting in Lincoln and had conducted a Career Ed Tech meeting with teachers since 40 percent of high school students won’t be attending a four-year college after graduation.
Pam Hergenrader has been hired in the Food Service Department.
Salary Advancements were approved for Ashley Simpson, Karen Klein and Susan Armstrong for classes they enrolled in from Doane College and Chadron State College.
A motion made after review of the budgets and having given at least five days notice of a special hearing with the purposes of hearing support, opposition, criticism, suggestions or observations of taxpayers by Ann Burkholder and seconded by Scott Geiser to approve the General Fund, Bond Fund, Depreciation Fund, Employee Benefit Fund, Activities Fund, Special Building Fund and Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund Budgets for the 2016-2017 school year received unanimous approval from the board members. 
Also approved was a motion to approve the 2016-2017 Tax Request Resolution for the district. The 2016-2017 Proposed Property Tax Request for the General Fund is $8,409,090.83 with a proposed tax rate of 1.000012. The tax rate for 2015-2016 was 0.978978 with a total tax request of $7,796,973.68 for the General Fund.
The Bond Fund(s) K - 12 Tax Request for 2016-2017 is $600,505.04 with a proposed tax rate of 0.269056. The tax request for 2015-2016 was $587,496.31 with a tax rate of 0.269036.
The Special Building Fund Property Tax Request for 2016-2017 is $168,181.82 as compared to $158,770.71 for the last fiscal year. The tax rate for 2016-2017 is 0.020000 that is up slightly from the 0.019935 from the 2015-2016 fiscal year.]
Approval was also granted to several board policy revisions including the Board Policies for Parental Involvement, Title I Parental and Family Involvement, the Option Enrollment Deadline, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy and the revision on the Board Policy on Voting.
A second reading will be held concerning the funding for national competitions for students and sponsors. Currently students receive funding from the Cozad School Foundation and conduct their own fundraisers for these competitions. 
The Cozad Education Association received approval as the exclusive bargaining agent for the district’s non-supervisory certificated staff or the 2018-2019 contract year.
Discussion was held on the proposed Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Wellness Services. 
The EAP is a free and confidential service for employees and their families that provides individual, marriage, family and group counseling. This benefit provides five sessions to the employee and their family members. In addition to traditional counseling, staff members would have the opportunity for holistic wellness services including hypnotherapy, individual and group. Group hypnotherapy would be offered for smoking cessation and weight loss. Other alternative services would include neurobiofeedback (brain training), sessions in a Migun Massage Facility and/or in the Energy Enhancement System.
Board members requested that additional information be gathered by the administration prior to action being taken.
Staff had been surveyed with 50 percent interested in the program with a proposed cost of $35.00 per employee to the district. 
A Board of Education Work Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 6th at 6:00 p.m with Marcia Herring with the next regular meeting scheduled for Monday, October 17th at 7:00 p.m.

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