Board approves budget hearing


LUSK – On Monday, July 12, the Niobrara County School District (NCSD) No. 1 school board met for its regular meeting for the month of July.

The first agenda item of the night was a hearing on the budget for fiscal year 2021-22. It was presented by Business Manager, Stuart Larson.

Larson said NCSD should see increased revenue and increased expenditures for the upcoming fiscal year due to more students coming into the district. Larson also said the chances of having an amended budget hearing are high.

“The chances of having an amended budget hearing before the end of this fiscal year, I would say is somewhere between fairly to extremely high,” Larson said. “Just because of the unknowns with the legislature.”
Larson also said he thinks they will have more revenues once they collect on the local side of things, and he will continue to update the board each month on any of the changes.

Following the presentation of the budget hearing from Larson, the board voted to unanimously approve the budget hearing.

Next was the report from the administrators who said enrollment at this time last year was 505 students and that it has gone up to 706 as of now. Administrators said they are anticipating having around 900-1,000 students in August.

The administrators continued their report by informing the board that the high school principal Caroline Hickerson, would also be taking over the role as middle school principal to help create a seamless transition for middle school students to high school.

Superintendent George Mirich was the next to give his report to the board. During his report, Mirich spoke about the automation of the school’s controls and plans to have the system digitized to be controlled from anywhere. 

“The conversion of all of those valves, actuators and the installation of the digital controls, is going to run about $83,000,” Mirich said. “Changing the control system has been something we’ve been looking forward to doing, we now have ESSER funds which falls under that scope of work.”

Mirich continued his report by speaking about the turnout for the Preschool Roundup which had less people in attendance than expected. There were nine students who showed up and that will lead to just one classroom. If they have 12 or more students, the class would be split or held on alternate days. Currently they are planning to have four days of one preschool class. Students for preschool are just for four-year-olds.

The final topic Mirich discussed was the upcoming date for the Fall Roundup, which is currently scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25.

After Mirich finished speaking, the school board members were the next group to give their report.

Chairperson Lexie Ashurst said that the Niobrara County Fair will be honoring superheroes in the community for all of their hard work over the last year due to the pandemic. The board will be honored on Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Beef Show.

“We are being recognized on Thursday, Aug. 5, at the Beef Show at 9 a.m.,” Ashurst said. “It’s just a fun way to have their theme and honor people in our community and our district.”

After the reports, the board moved to the first action item of the night which was the unanimous approval of revisions to policy JGF on second reading.

The next action item was the unanimous approval of accepting the resignation of Special Education teacher Andrea Osborne.

The final action item of the night was the unanimous approval of the recommendation to hire Tiffany Egland for the position of elementary school teacher. It currently is unknown if she will teach fourth, fifth or sixth grade.

“The interview went extremely well,” Mirich said. “Her past supervisors had nothing but glowing remarks. She had been on medical leave this past year and prior to that she was an elementary teacher in Chugwater and Glendo.”

Mirich also said she will be commuting every day from the family ranch in Orin Junction. But said she is excited about the opportunity and came highly recommended for the position.

The final discussion topic of the night was regarding old business which was an update about the hiring process for the open music position. Mirich said the plan currently is to fill the existing position with two part-time long-term substitute teachers and reaching out to local colleges for December graduates to hire someone for the spring semester.

The next NCSD School Board meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 9, at 6 p.m. inside the NCSD main office in Lusk.

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