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NSB discusses spending

By Staff, 01/27/17 11:01 AM

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ROSSTON – Nevada’s School Board mostly discussed spending money at its January meeting Thursday night.

Nevada Superintendent Rick McAfee told the panel of several projects, ranging from new bleachers on the home side, to improved acoustics in the gym ceiling, along with buying new computers and new smart panels. In all, the cost of all of the projects would be approximately, $362,200. However, McAfee said, the computers and smart panels wouldn’t be paid for with district funds, but with federal monies.

The bleachers, he said, have been in place for 30 years and need to be replaced. He presented plans for new, high-backed seats on a 33-inch platform. The seats would be 22-inches wide on nine-inch risers. The current seating is on 11-inch risers. The new bleachers would reduce seating capacity by about 124, but the gym would still have enough seating to host a regional basketball tournament.

The current bleachers would have to be completely removed, leaving nothing but the rubber covered concrete floor. The new bleachers would then be installed. However, nothing will be done until after graduation and the end of the 2017 school year.

The board was asked to examine the plans and return to make a decision at the February meeting. McAfee said the bleachers are from Hussey Seating, a reliable company that’s done major college stadium, and is a Tip-Taps vendor. Tip-Taps vendors are businesses vetted by the state as providing the lowest costs on various items. This removes the need for letting bids on projects. McAfee added the company only needs a six-week lead time to order the seating and get it installed by the start of the new year in August.

As to the sound, he said the current reverberation level in the gum lasts more than eight seconds, with the norm being two to two-and-a-half seconds. He told the board the district could do half of the gym for $32,594, or the entire gym for $63,967. The problem with the reverb, he continued, is it’s hard to hear programs and what students are saying during their graduation speeches, not to mention the noise level at basketball games. Again, he asked the board to consider this until the February meeting when he will have material bids from different companies for them to examine.

McAfee said the district could take out one loan to pay for both of these projects and pay it off over a five-year period. This, he added, wouldn’t require using any of the district’s reserve funds.

The district will also be purchasing 95 new computers with 95 curves monitors at a cost of $102,451 from Byte Speed, a Tip-Taps company. The reason behind this purchase, he said, is for the district’s coding classes. The new computers would be faster with more memory. They would be paid for with National School Lunch funds, and not affect the district’s finances. He added the computers will be purchased directly from the manufacturer, which will save money.

Smart boards are being replaced by Interactive Smart Panels, he said. These panels are like a big screen 70-inch HD television, only they’re touch sensitive. McAfee told the board up to six students can work on a single panel at a time, adding the panels have four colors. However, he pointed out, these panels won’t be available until February and new applications are being written for them almost on a daily basis. He proposed buying 15 panels to start, adding more later until there’s one in every room. Initially three would be in special education classes and three would be on mobile carts. The rest would be wall-mounted and could be adjusted to different heights depending on how tall the person using them is. They would also be in the science and math rooms. These panels, he continued, have both HDMI and USB connections and will cost $68,132. These panels will also be paid for using federal funds.

In other business, the board approved increasing the daily rate of pay for substitute teachers to $70 for a full day and $35 for a half-day. This puts the district in compliance with the current minimum wage law.

The district, McAfee said, has started a No Zero program at the high school level. This is to try and prevent students from not turning in their work and getting zeros as their grades. Those who turn in their work are treated to a movie and popcorn. He said this seems to be working as fewer students are not turning in their work.

He talked briefly about the legislative session, saying the proposed cell phone policy being considered is getting a lot of opposition and will likely not make it out of committee. The proposed bill would require students to turn their phones in to the office of a morning and get them after school ends. McAfee said this would add 30 minutes to the school day at Nevada and more at larger districts.

He continued, saying the bill to increase teacher pay by $400 at the base could go through both the House and Senate. However, he added, this is an unfunded mandate the districts would have to find the money for. The bill would also increase the base pay by $400 over the next two years as well. McAfee said when he introduces the new salary schedule next month it will reflect this change.

Financially, he said, the budget is in line with projections and the district is doing well, though there will be some major expenditures in the near future.

He told the board there will be a lot of basketball coming up as the junior district tourney will be Feb. 11-14, while the senior district tilt will be Feb. 16-18 in Bradley. The regional tourney will be in Emerson on Feb. 22-25, with state being in Mt. Ida from Feb. 28 through March 4. Senior night for Nevada, he added, will be Feb. 10, and there will be 21 seniors walking from the various sports.

Following an executive session, the board voted to hire Lindsey Grappe’ as the new special education teacher. She is fully certified, he said, and will start on March 7. Grappe’ will be moving from Richmond, VA.

The board’s February meeting is set for Feb. 23, but could be changed depending on whether the Blue Jays are playing in the regional tourney that night.

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