By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
After a four-hour closed session, the Chase County Schools board of education hired Supt. Brad Schoeppey, offering him a one-year contract for 2014-15.
Schoeppey, halfway through his second year as CCS superintendent, will be paid $125,000 next year. Board members approved the hiring and salary on a 9-0 vote Monday night.
Schoeppey’s current salary of $125,000 was left the same for the 2014-15 term. He was initially hired on a two-year contract in 2012 with his first year salary at $120,000. It raised to $125,000 for the 2013-14 school year.
Board president Jeff Olsen said the board felt that it was in the best interests of the district to leave the superintendent’s salary at the same level for 2014-15. He added that uncertainty about health insurance costs next year was also discussed.
For this current year, health insurance costs rose about four percent, Olsen said.
The school provides full health insurance and retirement benefits as part of Schoeppey’s contract.
After some initial discussion in November, board members approved an Early Retirement Program (ERP) for certificated employees.
Those teachers who submit a resignation from their 2013-14 positions by Jan. 31, 2014 will receive a $1,000 one-time payment in their March paychecks. The submitted resignations by the deadline would be reviewed and voted upon at the board’s February meeting.
Schoeppey said they’ve had good feedback from staff about the program possibility. He has checked the legalities of such a program, and “it is legal.”
The resolution to approve the voluntary program passed on a 7-2 vote. Voting yes were Jeff Olsen, Tom Gaschler, Willy O’Neil, Gregg Smith, Dirk Haarberg, Karl Meeske and Dan Reeves.
Voting no were Penny Strand and Sheila Stromberger.
The idea behind the ERP is to get out advertisements earlier on open teacher positions, even possibly catching December college graduates.
Supt. Schoeppey was scheduled to meet with the teaching staff on the program this week.
The program will be reviewed year-to-year, according to the discussion.
Other school board business
- After some discrepancies in the school’s beginning balances in the budget’s Qualified Capital Purpose Undertaking Fund, the board approved the 2012-13 audit. Supt. Schoeppey said some budget items were “reclassed” on Oct. 15 of this year, but the auditors went back further to Sept. 30, so the balances didn’t match up.
- In K-6 Principal Susie Stewart’s report, she noted the school improvement committee recommended the board consider hiring an additional English Language Learners (ELL) teacher. Current ELL teacher Tom Hansen works with 87 ELL students, 62 in the elementary grades and 25 from junior high and high school classes. The first-year principal is continuing teacher evaluations, and Stewart said the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) recently raised $8,288 from its book sale.
- Issues with the school’s newest activity bus continued last week when it took basketball players to Cozad. It arrived in Cozad but then died in the parking lot and could not be started. Supt. Schoeppey said the school sent another bus to Cozad, and the other one was still in Cozad early this week. Plans were to retrieve it this week and have it looked at in North Platte. Schoeppey said the bus has not been running well, noting the engine light comes on and then the bus slows down. The used 2008 Bus Coach International was purchased in 2012 for $150,000.
- Three sections of the roof on the East 9th St. school building remain to be replaced in the school’s maintenance program. The board’s facilities committee will meet and make a recommendation to the board. Supt. Schoeppey recommended the roofs above the high school hallway and kitchen be done next year, with estimates near $160,000 for both areas.
- There may be a possibility for the school to have a “grab and go” breakfast program and still participate in the federal program, which means reimbursements to the school. Board member Sheila Stromberger said she talked with board members from other schools at last month’s school board convention who indicated their schools are receiving federal reimbursement for programs like CCS now has. The change to the federal hot breakfast program was discussed last month. The program now at CCS is not part of the federal program. Supt. Schoeppey will look into that option.
- A 20-minute executive session on sale of the school’s Wellington property yielded no action from the board. An offer from the city has been made to the board for purchase of the Wellington football field for a new fire hall.
- A goal-setting meeting of the board will be held Monday, Dec. 16, at 6 p.m. in the board room.