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Special meeting set to look at school’s expansion plans PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican

While the school board met for its regular monthly meeting Tuesday this week, plans for two potential additions to the East 9th St. building were not ready to present as expected.
However, representatives with Studio 120 Architects of Scottsbluff will be here on Tuesday, Dec. 15, to meet with the board.
The special meeting is set for 12 noon in the board room at Chase County Schools.
School Supt. Joey Lefdal said representatives from the firm will show board members the potential plans they have drawn. Those include an auxiliary gym addition to the northeast side of the school and a weight room/alternative classroom addition on the southeast side.
Estimated costs will also be discussed. Supt. Lefdal said that will be an important part of the discussion to see if it’s cost-effective.
He emphasized board action on the plans is not expected Tuesday. He believes board members will take the info presented into committee work.
“We just want to have a conversation,” on Tuesday, he said.
He said it’s possible, after considering Tuesday’s information and costs, that the board may choose to proceed, too, with development of plans for a bank of classrooms addition.
At this week’s regular meeting, Diane Stamm, whose two children are CCS elementary students, spoke to the board, encouraging them to seriously consider the addition of more classrooms.
“I hope you put that at the top of your priority list,” she said.
She noted the fourth grade, which includes her daughter, has 28 and 26 students in its two sections.
She acknowledged the health concerns with asbestos in the Wellington building, part of which led to the school board’s discussion of moving those “spaces” to the East 9th St. site.
“But you can’t ignore the fact that 28 kids taking their chairs down off their desks at the start of the day” is also a health concern, she said, which drew laughs.
If a teacher doesn’t have time to get to a student (due to numbers), Stamm said that doesn’t help academically.
“And, socially, with that many kids in a classroom teachers probably spend a lot of time putting out fires,” she added.
“Keeping that student to teacher ratio low is important. Do we have time to wait five more years to do it?” she asked.
Lefdal said next Tuesday’s special meeting agenda will also include a closed session on teacher salary negotiations for the 2017-18 contract year.             At Tuesday’s meeting, board members approved the Imperial Education Association as the exclusive bargaining agent for the teaching staff.
More on this week’s meeting will be in next week’s issue.