GPS approves budget, updates policies

September 20, 2018

GERING – The Gering Public Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. to discuss the 2018-19 budget and amend board policies. All board members were present.

After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the board held a public hearing on the 2018-19 proposed budget. The proposed levy tax rate remained flat at 1.05. The general fund saw a 2.5 percent increase to $21,154,128.00, which Gering Public Schools Superintendent Bob Hastings said reflects an increase in the cost of living. The general fund pays for utilities, gas, food, material purchases, and employee salaries. Outside of the $21 million budget, the district’s bond fund has $2,773,550.00 budget for the high school renovation project, which Hastings anticipates the district spending most of those funds during the budget year.

“The budget has been pretty flat for the past few years,” said Hastings. “We’re probably playing some catch up this year.”

After some discussion, the board moved to approve the budget as presented.

Based on changes to state and federal laws, the district amended several policies and passed two new policies on first reading. Hastings said the new policies speak to changes in society and allows the district to make sure everyone is clear on the expectations. Policy 403.9, Professional Boundaries Between Employees and Students and Policy 403.10, Staff and District Social Media Use outline appropriate conduct between staff and students as well as appropriate use of social media accounts.

The board reviewed their interlocal agreement with the City of Gering for the School Resource Officers. They were previously operating under a 2014 contract. They revised some of the language, but the terms of the agreement remain the same. The one change to the School Resource Officers program is that the district has access to two SROs. Hastings said that came about from ongoing discussions to have more law enforcement presence in schools, so students can have positive exposure and interaction with officers. While the agreement automatically rolls over annually, the board reviews the agreement and assesses the program. They approved the continuation of the interlocal agreement.

Every year, the high school construction class develops and constructs a house. The district takes out a $175,000 line of credit with Platte Valley Bank and the school works with Twin Cities Development to reimburse students for the cost of materials. The board approved the line of credit for the school year.

During the superintendent’s report, Hastings shared that the Gering High School project remains on schedule. Currently, workers are undertaking construction in the new entrance, kitchen, student commons area, library, and courtyard areas. The main projects construction workers are focused on are the new library in the middle of the building, the student commons, kitchen, and the new auxiliary gym and wrestling room in the main gym. Most of the project has an anticipated completion date in August of 2019.

Under action items, the board approved the pay application #005 to Hausmann Construction totaling $1,980,107.20 for the high school project. They also approved change order #004 crediting the district -$175,648.82.

The Policy Review Committee’s next meeting is Monday, Sept. 24 at 4:30 p.m. The Personnel Committee will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 4:30 p.m. On Thursday, Oct. 4 at 4:30 p.m. the facilities committee will have a meeting. The Business Committee’s meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 8 at 4:30 p.m. All those meetings will be located at the Central Office. The Curriculum Committee will also have a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7 a.m. at the Freshman Academy.

Students from Justin Reinmuth’s engineering class gave a report about upcoming projects for the Solve for Tomorrow contest. The students have brainstormed ideas and are in the process of collecting materials before project assembly.

The next regular meeting of the Gering Board of Education is on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.

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