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The Neligh-Oakdale Board of Education is again asking the community to assist in raising funds for the track and is continuing its annual gathering of estimates on replacement costs.
Under the leadership of former president Jeff Carpenter, the district began raising money toward replacing the six-lane track that has large holes throughout and is no longer considered safe. The board has sought estimates for the track annually as it has continuously planned to replace the track.
In an unprecedented move, Carpenter organized a fundraiser himself for several years to kick off the fundraising campaign and gained much media attention for the track in an effort to improve the facility. After his resignation, the district continued seeking estimates and plans to replace the track.
On Monday, Interim Superintendent Bill Kuester said this year's estimates show it will cost between $363,000 and $673,000 for a new six-lane track. Kuester said he was recently informed that a foundation exists in Neligh with a 503c status to allow tax-deductible donations.
Traditionally, Neligh-Oakdale utilizes the Neligh-Oakdale Education Foundation's non-profit status for charitable donations, but Kuester suggested using the non-profit status available "at the city office."
Much conversation took place during Monday's board meeting about asking the community to donate to the track, so the school district wouldn't have to foot the entire bill. As is done annually, board members discussed having the community assist in the the removal process as well.
To "show the district is serious," the board took action to seek more estimates and to seek financial assistance from the community foundation. The motion was made by Brad Higgins and seconded by Krista Schindler before receiving a unanimous vote.
In other matters Monday . . .
Fire Marshal: Discussion took place on summer projects necessary to meet state fire marshal orders. Kuester said the district has formally met the requirements necessary by the deadline of Sept. 30
Transportation: Kuester recommended waiting until after Jan. 1 to move forward with purchasing a new bus.
Board member Chris Ford said concerns have been raised about a bus with a faulty back door. Ford said he followed the bus while driving recently and could see the opening himself. Kuester said he was unaware of the issue.
Ag Curriculum: Discussion took place on a co-op with Elgin for ag classes that may lead toward offering FFA in the future. Gudiance counselor April Knust said Neligh-Oakdale students are currently given the opportunity to take ag classes. Schindler said without solid numbers on interest in ag, the curriculum committee is recommending looking further into a co-op before hiring another full-time instructor. Principal George Loofe told the board that expanding one area of curriculum also means another area may suffer as students change classes.
Superintendent Search: David Wright said dates have been set but did not say what the dates were for or how the district plans to move forward with searching for a new superintendent.
Comparability Study: Wright told the board that the district has not had a comparability study in faculty salaries in four years and suggested spending $5,000 to have one done. Lisa Hansen, who is a longtime member of the teacher's negotiation team, clarified to the board that a comparability study is actually completed annually during the negotiations process. Wright suggested the study be done to decide the array of schools used in salary comparisons. Higgins explained that choosing the schools for comparison (the array) comes before the comparability study and is also considered annually based upon enrollment and distance from Neligh-Oakdale. Higgins and Hansen said the array has already been determined since negotiations have already begun between the board and faculty.