Scottsbluff school board discusses school bus needs, parent-teacher conferences
SCOTTSBLUFF — The Scottsbluff Public Schools Board of Education held a regular monthly meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.
The board moved to approve the consent agenda, which included the Sept. 10 and Oct. 3 meeting minutes and the certified staff hire of Lacie Ybarra as a speech pathologist.
The board made two separate motions to approve the expenditures, which totaled $570,001.64. The first motion included approval of all the expenditures except to the Douglas, Kelly Oskdiek firm. Since board member Paul Snyder is a member of the Douglas, Kelly Ostdiek firm, having that expenditure as a separate motion allows him to abstain from voting to prevent a conflict of interest, while still voting on district expenditures.
Chief Financial Officer Lavon Hood invited Bryan Flansburg of First Student Inc. to provide an update. He said there are currently 535 students riding the bus on the 11 routes in Scottsbluff. Comparing the first two months of the school year to last school year, Flansburg said the volume of field trips they are transporting students to is up 10 percent. Board member Bob Kinsey asked Flansburg what the life expectancy is on the large travel bus. With over 400,000 miles on the odometer, Flansburg recommended the board start looking for and budgeting for a replacement. There was discussion about if First Student has a MCI bus that the district can add to the fleet. The cost for a school bus averages around $180,000 whereas an MCI coach style bus costs around $600,000 or more. They discussed exploring cost analysis as they move forward.
Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mike Mason shared information about the district’s accreditation process. Every five years they go through an accreditation application process and this past year, the district was nominated and awarded for being a values driven district. The award comes from the Midwest Region Advanced Education.
“This award is given to districts in the Midwest region that exemplify supporting student learning and going above and beyond to support students,” he said.
Mason also shared they are starting the school improvement process this fall. Staff, students and teachers will receive surveys at the upcoming parent-teacher conferences. The information will be compiled with other school scores to develop a strategic plan for school improvement. The plan is to schedule stakeholder meetings throughout the school year for parents to get involved in the process. Surveys will be accessible online. Schools will have a designated computer set up for parents to use at parent-teacher conferences.
Ruth Kozal recognized University of Nebraska Medical Center students present in the audience. As part of their curriculum, students must attend a public meeting.
Superintendent Rick Myles informed the board that the district is in the process of changing how parents schedule meetings during parent-teacher conferences. The new process would allow parents to get online and schedule appointments ahead of their arrival, which will also make the time with each teacher more confidential and meaningful.
“We were going to move forward with that in the fall,” he said. “It was a really challenging effort and just became more difficult than we anticipated.”
The plan is to have the process established for the spring conferences.
Myles said the 3E group is strong and at an upcoming meeting they will discuss piloting “family reset.” The initiative allows parents to become community leaders and trainers of community neighborhood groups of parents who are interested in working with children. The program is modeled after classroom reset, which shows teachers strategies to reset the classroom after students display disruptive behavior.
For years, Myles has thought about establishing a diversity advisory team. That team, comprised of community members and staff, is beginning to form and will look at how the school district is responsive to community members with language barriers.
The meeting adjourned at 6:26 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Scottsbluff School Board will be Monday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m. in the Scottsbluff High School Board Room.