School Board Structured For Year, 2022-23 Calendar Approved

WAYNE – After reorganizing their board, Board of Education members at Wayne Community Schools held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening.

From the Jr/Sr High School Library, legal counsel Eric Knutson opened the meeting by electing a president and vice president (voted by current board).

Dr. Jodi Pulfer was elected Board of Education president while Jaime Manz will remain as the vice president. Deb Daum (reporting secretary) and Mary Jean Roberson (treasurer) were both appointed to their respective positions.

Other changes will include Pulfer moving to the negotiations committee switching with past board president Dr. Jeryl Nelson for facilities while they’ll figure out those working on claims.

Stuart Clark and Bill Heimann with ESU 1 were available to answer any questions that the board may have on the ESU Contract. ESU 1 serves 23 school districts in northeast Nebraska as the board of education will act on the contract in February with the current contract expiring, according to Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan.

“They basically provide special ed services along with some other services,” said Dr. Lenihan. “Things that schools typically don’t have a full-time person, a staff person in a role. So, we contract through ESU 1.”

The 2022-23 school calendar was then approved with the first day being August 17 (noon dismissal).

The goal is to keep both semesters balanced and that was the reasoning for this pats year’s early start. There would be eight more days in the second semester than first semester as the 2 p.m. Wednesday dismissals will remain. The goal is to schedule 178 student days.

A series of insurance quotes pertaining to Mutual of Omaha for Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) as well as Longe-Term Disability were approved on a two-year cycle with no increase.

A major shift will be moving health insurance from Aetna to Educator Health Alliance (EHA)/Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) for health and dental insurance. This would begin September 1, 2022.

“The plan is very similar for staff, it’s just a different provider,” Dr. Lenihan added. “Most schools in the state are actually with the Educator Health Alliance. So, it kind of puts us on par with 98% of the schools in the state of Nebraska.”

Board members also approved the negotiated agreement with the Wayne Education Association (WEA) as this process began in October and the group met three times. The base salary increased by $600 to $38,000 for a first year teacher out of college with about a 2.7% total package increase.

After councilmembers with the City of Wayne approved their portion of an Interlocal Cooperative Agreement, the board of education did the same. This would be the next step in moving forward for the City of Wayne to receive a grant and put together a sales tax incentive that could come to the voters this spring for the Wayne Community Activity Center Project and Improvements.

Dr. Lenihan mentioned hearing the initial plans for additional gym space maybe the school could take advantage of.

“Especially now when we’ve got so much going on in our gym,” Dr. Lenihan mentioned. “I mean it’s such a busy place. It’s really literally going from 6 in the morning until 9 – 10 o’clock at night. So, this might provide opportunities for us to ease that pressure and maybe get kids home a little bit earlier if we can utilize it for practice and so forth.”

The main part of the interlocal from the school side is to have no more than three members from Wayne Community Schools be part of a committee.

Board of Education members were updated that administration is still waiting for results from the School Board Association on the Needs Analyst and surveys that went out last fall. Information should be in front of the board by the next meeting.

The Mock Trial State qualifiers (Easton Blecke, Maiah Davis, Mason Ley, Alec Schaffer, Parker Kesting, Brooklyn Bierbower, Madalyn Franta and Sophia Reeg) along with Beef Up Our School T-shirt Contest winner (Carli Canham) were recognized during the January Honor Coffee.

The next regularly scheduled Wayne Community Schools Board of Education meeting will be on Monday, February 14 at 5 p.m.