District board updated on school year

LUSK – The Niobrara County School District Board met for its first regular meeting of October on Monday. 

The board was updated on several areas of the school district during the meeting. Students from the school district’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club talked about their most recent trip. Larkin Williams, who is the local vice president and the state vice president for FBLA, said the club went to an event in Casper which had a variety of workshops for the students. As a state officer, Williams was involved with setting up the event and running the workshops, such as one which mimicked the TV show “Shark Tank.” 

“We would give them a couple minutes to come up with their own idea like a business pitch and they would get to present it to the judges,” Williams said. 

According to Williams, ideas ranged from glow in the dark toilet paper to a sanitizer spraying machine to help janitors clean after school. 

Williams added she and the state officers hosted an event in Laramie the day before and went to Buffalo the day after. 

Williams said the main source of fundraising was once again selling butter braids. Lori Lyons, the faculty advisor for the local FBLA chapter, also said students must also participate in the concession stand at least once which earns them money for their trips. 

Later in the meeting, Superintendent George Mirich said he did not feel it was right for FBLA and other clubs such as Future Farmers of America, to have to pay for their state trips out of their activity fund since the sports teams do not have to for their events. 

The board discussed the benefits and drawbacks of funding the trips including the lack of help in the concessions stand if kids do not have a reason to do it. Lyons said it would still be a requirement because it ties into the community service requirement of the club as well. 

After the students finished their updates, Lyons was presented with the Niobrara County Teacher of the Year award. 

The senior representatives of the student council at Niobrara County High School also gave an update on what they have done so far including homecoming last month and a cancer awareness dress up week for October. 

During public comment, Freshman Nathan Fish advocated for John Thayer, a counselor at Lusk Elementary/Middle School (LEMS) to be the wrestling coach. The board had on the agenda to approve J.D. Wasserburger as the head coach and Andrew Wasserburger as the assistant coach. 

Fish addressed rumors he heard in which he was asked to speak at the board meeting in favor of Thayer. 

“This is coming from my heart and the team’s heart,” Fish said. “In no way have I been asked to speak here tonight… We all want Mr. Thayer.” 

During the discussion period on the motion to approve the coaches, Trustee Candy Dooper said there was a lack of a process to looking into the application by a district employee for the position. 

The board approved the Wasserburgers as coaches for the upcoming season. 

LEMS Principal Lucinda Kasper reported there have been some sicknesses around including a Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), but parents have been doing a better job keeping students home when they are not feeling well. 

Kasper also said there are sensory paths all around the school set up by the occupational therapist. 

“They’re fantastic for all sorts of different purposes like crossing the mid-line and calming kids,” Kasper said. 

Joe Heywood EdD, the Head of School, at the Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA) and Career Learning Coordinator Janae Miller updated the board on how they have been doing with the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program after one year. 

Heywood recognized Miller for her leadership award given by the Wyoming Department of Education for her work with the CTE program. 

Miller said they are implementing new career pathways such as law enforcement, engineering, and teaching. 

Heywood added they have been recognized on a national level for all of the progress they have made in one year. 

Business Manager Stuart Larson gave an update on some of the ongoing issues in the district. Larson said the general fund has been doing well due to an increase of students and food service is also doing good. 

Larson also said there was a recent computer issue which technical Director Patrick Weisbeck is working on. 

Superintendent Mirich’s report consisted of answering some questions he had been asked in the past. Mirich talked about bus ridership and the potential numbers for each bus. 

“The odds of being this many kids on the bus at the same time is slim to none but these are all potential riders, so we have to have a seat for them when they choose to ride,” Mirich said. 

The South bus has 14 riders, West has 55, North has 27, and East has 42. The North Lance Creek feeder bus has nine riders who get on the North bus. 

Mirich also said there will be a Yearbook this year as one staff member has expressed interest. It will be an extracurricular activity for students this year. 

In regard to tardiness, Mirich said there have only been eight tardies reported after lunch as of Oct. 5, but two instances were a seventh and eighth grade kid on the first two days of school who got lost. None of the tardy instances were freshman. Mirich said at this point last year there were 45 tardies. 

Mirich said the school has received two applications for music teacher. One being from New York and the other from Florida. 

Along with the action item to approve the new wrestling coaches, the board also approved Shaylee Hladky and Avery Van Eaton to be assistant coaches for the girl’s high school basketball team. 

The board also approved the resignation of high school secretary Lindsey Gill. 

“I would like to say that we add “with regret” if we should accept it,” Trustee Randy Rose said. “I think that’s a loss. A serious loss.” 

At the beginning of the meeting, Superintendent Mirich requested to add acknowledge receipt of a home school petition on behalf of Jason and Lindsey Gill. The board approved it while discussing other action items. 

The board also approved a district-wide salary scale adjustment. 

The next board meeting will be Monday Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. 


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