Major change in CEL school board noted as school prepares for major renovations

Send a link to a friend

[April 18, 2013]  The meeting of the Chester-East Lincoln school board for this month was the final meeting for five of the board members. Members of the community were present to give their opinions on recent developments, including the election itself.

Board members present were Kenny Golden, president; Ben Roland, vice president; Tina Warfel; Larry Hall; Leslie Starasta; Kenda Kitner; and Mark Mathon. Golden and Roland will be retaining their seats, and the new board will be seated in May. Superintendent Jennifer Hamm was also present.

The first member of the public to speak was Heather Wolf. Wolf wanted to let the board know she commended a bus driver for recent actions. Mary Beth Langstrom, one of the bus drivers working under CEL, experienced a dizzy spell recently while driving students to the school. Rather than risk the safety of the students, Langstrom pulled over and called for assistance. Wolf expressed her gratitude to Langstrom for making sure safety came first, and Wolf also said that she had received word that Langstrom is doing just fine.

Jim Rohrer was the next guest to speak. Rohrer feels that the recent election results regarding the board of education were clear evidence of dissatisfaction with the board's performance.

Rohrer also responded to previous comments that morale at the school is not low. Rohrer claimed to have spoken with parents as well as current and former employees of the school who are not pleased with recent happenings.

Rohrer also said he was concerned as to the ethical principles of the board in not delaying the meeting until the new members were officially seated. Rohrer said that while the meeting was held under legal conditions, other schools in the area were postponing their board meetings to accommodate new officials.

Finally, Rohrer told the board members present that he hopes they will continue to stay involved with the district in whatever manner they can.

Finally, Glenda Roland commended the board members for the integrity they have shown over the past few months concerning the difficult decisions that had to be made. Roland said she feels these decisions concerning school improvements should have been made 20 or 30 years ago. She said the board has hired an excellent leader for the school, and she apologized for members of the community, some of whom she felt "didn't have all of the facts and were too lazy to get them."


[to top of second column]

The superintendent's report followed the public comments. Hamm said $8,536.61 has been collected from the 1 percent sales tax for January 2013. This number reflects a higher percentage of tax than the school is collecting, as the enrollment is actually slightly lower than last year at that time.

Hamm also said that bond payments are being deposited into the bank, and the school will be prepared to begin paying for school renovations on schedule.

Hamm also said that the next board will have to make some difficult decisions of their own concerning health insurance. The upcoming Affordable Health Care Act will put strain on schools such as CEL due to its wording. The law will require that any employee, including coaches and substitute teachers, will have to be included in the school's plan if they are found to be working more than 30 hours a week. People who have opted out of the school's health care will be unable to do so. Hamm expects to give a presentation on this matter at next month's meeting.

Next year, CEL will be attempting to implement a "looping system" for the first and second grade. First-grade teacher Beth Polly will be moving with her students to the second-grade level, and second-grade teacher Jill Urish will be moving to the first-grade level. When Urish's class moves ahead, she will move up with those students. Hamm said her children went through this when they were at this age, and it made school a much more enjoyable experience for everyone, as the teachers are able to better understand what the students may need in order to learn.

After her superintendent's report, Hamm told the board of some news on the board's change orders from CTS and Christy-Foltz, the engineering and construction companies involved with the renovations. Change orders were made to Christy-Foltz after last month's meeting, which removed several items from the list, coming to a total of $88,890 in change orders, which is just slightly over the projected savings of $88,000.

CTS also found some additional deductions since last month. The total cost of the project is currently projected at $2,722,867. Hamm said the combined efforts to make deductions has resulted in an additional $11,000, which is "a step in the right direction, definitely."


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor