McAfee tenders letter of resignation as Nevada Superintendent

By Staff, 08/28/20 10:25 AM

ROSSTON – All good things must come to an end and so it goes for Rick McAfee’s tenure as superintendent of the Nevada School District.

At the August meeting of the Nevada School Board, Thursday night, McAfee tendered his letter of resignation to the board. Actually, he tendered letters of resignation for himself and his wife, Frances, a K-12 art teacher. McAfee has been with the district since its inception 32 years ago, and has been superintendent the last 29 years.

“It’s no secret,” he told the board. “I can’t say how much I’ve appreciated my time here, but it’s time to move on and relax.” McAfee’s resignation will be effective July 1, 2021, while his wife’s resignation will be effective at the end of the 2020 school year.

The board was reluctant to accept the letter, but did. McAfee said these last 29 years have gone by fast, and he’s enjoyed the time he spent with the district.

He pointed out the board will need to advertise for two positions, superintendent and K-12 art teacher, saying it will probably be harder to replace his wife than him. McAfee recommended the board begin accepting applications as soon as possible and take its time in making a decision, along with checking where applicants come from and who they’ve worked with. He told the board to ask tough questions of the applicants and reminded them there will be a “honeymoon” period as the new superintendent and board adjust to one another. “You need to give them your support, but tell them when you don’t agree,” he said. “You are the board and have the right to set policies, along with hiring and firing a superintendent. You need to take your time and make the right decision.” He added whoever comes in as superintendent will be inheriting a good board.

He said Nevada has an excellent staff, with teachers and the support personnel and is sure they’ll rise to meet the coming challenges. McAfee said he’ll be around and will help if needed, but won’t interfere. “I’m here for you,” he said, “but there’s a lot to do between now and June. I feel like we’re going to have a great year.”

The board agreed to allow him to advertise the two positions.

McAfee reminded the panel the special millage election will be held Sept. 8. He said early voting was supposed to be held for four days, but enough poll workers couldn’t be found. Instead, early voting will be held Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3-4, at the Rosston Fire Station from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The election will also be at the fire station from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 8. He said the district isn’t seeking a millage increase, just a continuation of the current millage. Nevada’s millage has never changed in its 32-year history, nor has the district ever asked for a millage increase. McAfee said if the millage passes it will allow the district to continue providing a quality education to the children and families it serves. He pointed out it will be less expensive for residents to approve the millage request than deny it as it would save them from having to purchase equipment the district currently provides.

In other business, the board passed a resolution to pay those who worked extra duties which caused their base pay to be exceeded by 5 percent or more. He said five people qualified for this.

McAfee said the district is using federal money to buy computers and cases for students, but won’t be reimbursed in a timely manner. He asked for, and was given, approval to obtain a bank loan from Farmer’s Bank and Trust if needed. He said the interest, if the loan is needed, will run about $800.

The panel approved the annual statement of assurances stating the district will use all federal funds in the manner for which they were meant.

McAfee said the district had a great first day, though it occurred two days later than planned. Nevada started on Wednesday after one person on staff  tested positive for COVID-19 and had been in close contact with 11 others. The district scrambled to fill the 12 spots, only to be hit with a storm Thursday that knocked out power and required school to be closed Thursday and Friday, possibly longer depending on how long it takes to restore electricity. However, he said the students were glad to be back and see their friends again and there were no problems with social distancing. By breaking the week into Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursday sessions for students, the district is able to transport children to and from school and maintain social distancing as well.

McAfee told the board more than 100 families have chosen to do virtual learning and there have been a few problems with them being able to access the site because of the demand. He added the company the district uses for food service agreed to provide a refrigerated truck to store the food to keep it from spoiling.

The meeting was held in the main hallway with a generator providing limited lighting. However, the board didn’t appear to mind, though there was no air conditioning.

The board moved its September meeting to Sept. 17 at 7 p.m.