Mitchell Public School Board of Education holds regular April meeting
By Zach Spadt, For The Voice News - April 13, 2017
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New staff hired, building repairs approved
MITCHELL – Mitchell Public School Board members on Monday approved moving forward with several renovation and repair projects.
Most notable was the boards approval to spend $86,559 to repair the elementary school’s roof which was damaged in a hailstorm last year. Insurance will cover the costs.
Board members also approved re-carpeting the classrooms in grades 1 – 6.
“That carpeting is original to the building,” Superintendent Katherine Urbanek said. The total cost is approximately $21,000.
The district will also replace five doors at the elementary school, including the door at the main entrance.
MES principal Kirk Kuxhausen said the door is often left unsecure.
“It’s not latching,” Kuxhausen said. “I drive by there on the weekends and about 80 percent of the time it’s unlatched.”
Other doors in the building have gaps, allowing cold air drafts to flow into the building. And that costs the district unnecessary dollars in keeping the building warm.
It will cost the district $25,000 to replace the doors.
Board approves hiring educators
Allison Harder, a student teacher at MES is sticking around.
The board unanimously approved hiring Harder as the school’s media specialist. Urbanek said Harder’s peers highly regard her and she will be a good fit for the school.
The board also approved hiring Ashley and Walker Dobry to fill the teaching roles as well.
School seeks parent, community input on open campus lunches
MITCHELL – Mitchell Public School officials are no strangers to concerns about the junior/senior high school’s open campus policy for lunches, and the issue reared its head yet again during the school board’s monthly meeting Monday.
This time, however, school officials may take action, said superintendent Katherine Urbanek. Urbanek said the issue was brought to her by concerned parents who have been meeting over the issues.
“(Parents) are concerned about the safety in the open campus procedure, and seventh through 12th grade walking across town to have lunch,” Urbanek said.
On March 14, a group of about 15 Mitchell parents under the Facebook group name of The Tiger Den Cafeteria got together to discuss the current lunch arrangement and also to brainstorm on some ideas for how a cafeteria might be able to be implemented in the high school.
“This is just a meeting to get ideas of what parents and the community would like to happen,” said organizer Jeana Allen-Linton. “ I am just tired of hearing that ‘we need a cafeteria’ over and over. I just think it’s time we take action and help the school board. Complaining and negativity get us no where. We might find that there are no realistic solutions, but I think in all fairness to our kids we need to explore options.”
Urbanek contacted the school’s attorney about the issue and advised that he will have to look into the issue further.
“The legality of it has probably changed over the years,” Urbanek said.
MPS serves about 140 lunches per day at Mitchell Elementary School. Having the seventh graders remain at school for lunch is feasible, but adding anymore is not feasible, Urbanek.
Surveys will be sent out to parents affected by the policy.
“I feel like we need all parents to be heard,” Urbanek said. “We may find out some see the need to make change. And we may not.”
Urbanek said she wants to “uncover every stone” before taking any action.
“I intend to continue on and see what would really work for us,” Urbanek said. “Lunches were brought up here, and it didn’t work. We tried busing, and it didn’t work.”
The Voice News | P.O. Box 248 | Mitchell, NE 68357 | 308-225-4613