Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle

 

Board gives trial to some policy changes, not others

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 11/17/21

More than 30 patrons attended the monthly North Bend Central Board of Education meeting Nov. 8. The majority were there for a specific topic.

The first subject covered was the expansion of the busing service to out-of-district students. Kris Kavan of Cedar Bluffs lives 1.25 miles from the drop off point for out-of-district students. He requested that the bus route be extended the additional 1.25 miles to drop his children off at their home.

“Our duty is to district students, to keep them on the bus the shortest amount of time,” board president Dan Wesley said.

Board member Justin Taylor said this would be opening the door to other option enrolled students further out requesting a bus stop closer to their home.
After much discussion the subject died for lack of motion. Five people left the meeting.

The board discussed a temporary revision to policy concerning public comment at board meetings. The revision allows for patrons to place items on the board agenda, comment on the item at the beginning of the meeting and “may be invited for further explanation during board discussion of that agenda item.” The board passed this revision to be tried until July 2022, when it will be evaluated when all policies are reviewed.

The third policy up for consideration was a trial period of live streaming board meetings. Superintendent Dan Endorf said he spoke to other superintendents about live streaming meetings and found no real strong comments.

“Most superintendents responded by stating that livestreaming wasn’t a huge factor to them when holding a board meeting,” Endorf said.

No one Endorf talked to said that livestreaming was vital to their board meetings nor that it caused problems.

Nicole Rasmassun, representing 20 community patrons appointed by the board to a team building focus group, said the group was in favor of live streaming.

Dan Nelson, representing the teachers, said that this would offer transparency to the community.

Board member Francis Emanuel said it would be done as a convenience to the public. He referred back to the time at the start of the pandemic when board meetings were held via video conferencing app Zoom. He felt that there was less discussion and fewer probing questions, which may lead to poor decisions.

Board member Jeff Bauer said that livestreaming would stifle two-way communication and open up things being taken out of context and posted on social media.

“We’d have to watch what we say,” board member Doug Hoops said, “but it would allow transparency.”

A motion was made for a trial period of livestreaming school board meetings. Voting for the trial were Hoops, Bob Feurer and Taylor. Voting against were Emanuel, Bauer and Wesely, with the motion failing. Ten people left the meeting, with 12 staying at the meeting that is open to the public.

The board heard from representatives of Clark & Enersen Architects about the elementary school remodel. They wanted to finalize some items to be included or removed from the proposed plan so that the bids could be let in a couple weeks, returned by mid December and accepted by late December. There will be three bids. One for the windows and doors and another for roof replacement, which would be paid for with ESSER III funds. The third bid would be for everything else.

New furniture was not in the proposed cost. The board asked if that could be included and possibly other things could be cut to allow for this.

The total cost is $2.6 million. This includes the ESSER III funds ($263,000) and depreciation funds ($5,000). The items they decided to wait on are not removed from this estimate. Four people left the meeting.

NBCPS has had a seven year cycle of reviewing curriculum development and textbook review. The science departments was due for review this school year. Principals Tessie Beaver and Brenda Petersen requested that language arts be reviewed this year also.

“There have been advances in understanding how kids learn to read,” Beaver said. “We would like to adopt a new reading, language art, curriculum ahead of schedule to stay in line with these updated learning methods in reading.”

It has been five years since the reading curriculum was adopted, at the time it was the best available. The principals said it would be hard for the teachers to change both next year, but they were willing to take on the challenge. The board voted to approve this change.

The board went into executive session to discuss negotiations.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13. It is open to the public.

 

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