By Scott Bidroski
The Gordon-Rushville School Board held their monthly meeting on Monday, February 14.
President Sherry Retzlaff called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. and noted that all members were present.
Those members are Retzlaff, Dave Johnson, Zach Kearns, Ross Janssen, Kathy Willnerd, and Candie Johnson.
The meeting was declared properly publicized and the Open Meetings Act was noted on the back wall.
The agenda was accepted next by the Board and they then moved into Public Forum.
Megan Janssen spoke first in the meeting. She noted that she is a first grade teacher at Rushville Elementary.
Janssen stated she wanted to express her gratitude and appreciation to each and every member of Board for their service.
She then recognized each member and the contributions they have made not only as a Board member but in the community.
Janssen continued that herself and the entire Rushville Elementary staff back the Board and appreciate their efforts.
Jason Gantz spoke next in the Forum.
Gantz wanted to personally invite the Board to a movie that will be showing at the Gordon Theatre. The movie is titled Mind Polluters and it is free of charge.
Gantz notes that the movie goes over a lot of the sexual stuff that is being taught in the Nebraska schools already.
Gantz noted that the State School Board did not permanently ban the State’s health education standards that were a hot topic late last year. He would like the GRPS Board to permanently ban them.
Board member Dave Johnson asked Gantz when the movie is airing to which he responded February 27 at 5:00 p.m.
Jason Funk spoke next in the Forum. Funk states that he has been trying to find positives that have come out of his time spent at these meetings. He also states that he has lost a lot of sleep because he does not like speaking at the meetings.
Funk said that one blessing of the COVID lockdown is that parents had access to their children’s textbooks and homework. This was the start of many parents and grandparents getting involved in their children’s education.
He is disappointed in the lack of response to the concerns and complaints that have been leveled against a few of the employees of the school.
He states that despite all the stonewalling, gas lighting, dismissal, and denial of many complaints it has led to more people being woke up from their slumber and they have started paying attention.
He is optimistic that they are shining a light and opening up channels of communication and transparency. He hopes that they are moving forward to greater transparency and having the policies equally enforced.
Cate Jones-Hazeldine spoke next in the Forum.
Jones-Hazeldine referenced a recent program on the radio that Jason Funk and Gantz participated in. She stated that the only item she agreed with was the statement that our children are our greatest resource.
She is concerned about misinformation that is being spread that is leading to some really extremest comments about the school system.
Jones-Hazeldine states she has worked with kids in the school system and added that there are kids who are LGBQ+, Non-Binary, and Transgender students in our schools currently.
And she states those kids are at a higher risk for self half, depressions, and suicide than their peers. She added that there are factors that lower those risks.
Those factors that bring those risks down include validation, information, and acceptance.
She added that comprehensive sexual education does not endanger our students, there is 30 years of research and peer-reviewed journals that says just the opposite.
Sherry Brink spoke next in the Forum.
She began by stating that she appreciate the teachers and faculty members for all they do for the students. She and her husband feel that just because you are good or great at your job, everyone can always become better.
Brink wants to know why it is not policy for parental consent to be given for controversial movies to be shown in class?
Her daughter was shown the movie, The Crucible, while in English class at the school.
Brink would like to know why a movie like The Crucible being shown to students as it has satanic undertones?
She stated that if she taught at the school, she would not be allowed to teach or read from The Bible or show movies depicting the miracles of Christ.
She would like a different movie shown or at least the opportunity for parents and students to opt out.
The Board moved into the Celebration of Excellence.
The Board thanked whomever placed an ad in the newspaper for School Board Appreciation Week.
President Retzlaff then recognized a lot of activities that have been having success as of late.
Casey Slama gave his building report first.
Mr. Slama stated that Gordon Elementary had around a 90% attendance for Parent Teacher Conferences.
He also noted the Elementary will be hosting a Book Fair around the end of February.
The Book Fair helps provide funds for the Library to purchase new books for their Library.
Family Literacy Night will be Thursday, March 3. There will be different reading activities throughout the classroom and Mrs. Shelly Hardin will have games and fun stuff for parents and students to do.
Misty Curtis gave her report next and she began her time with a statement of thanks to the Board.
Teachers from the Rushville schools then presented gift cards for each of the members of the Board.
Curtis mentioned the PRIME mentorship for January was a Lip Dub. The entire school participated in the video which is available to be viewed on the school’s Facebook page.
The Middle School will be celebrating a special day this month. On 2/22/22 at 2:22 p.m. the entire school will do the Cupid Shuffle as a fun activity.
She also noted that Parent Teacher Conference for the Middle School will be on March 7.
Nathan Livingston then gave his report next.
He noted the school hosted the Poetry Out Loud on January 26 with Tessa Hurlburt being announced the winner.
The Nursery Class has around 10 plants they are raising and will send them to the greenhouse here in the near future.
Juniors have started their ACT Prep and have been given access to study materials.
Livingston noted that Parent-Teacher Conferences will be on March 3 for the High School.
Tessa Hurlburt, Student Council representative, could not attend meeting but wanted Mr. Livingston to mention that FFA Week will be February 21-25.
Mr. Livingston also noted that the current staff is one of the best he has ever had.
He once again welcomed that anyone to come speak with him with any issues at any time. He stated that is the best way to communicate and to avoid information being changed from one person to the next.
He really encourages to come and talk to him and his door is always open.
Keith Mills gave a recap of all the sports and activities that are going on in the school.
Mr. Mills covered Basketball, Journalism, Wrestling, Quiz Bowl, Speech, and the Spring Play.
Lori Liggett went over the calendar for the next year, which will mirror the calendar from this past year.
She did note that due to a lack of officials, some football games may be moved to Thursday.
They are looking at the first day of school being around August 16, 2022. Liggett will present the finalized calendar to the Board at the next meeting for approval.
The District has had 10 applications for the Principal positions, with 8 being for the Middle School position.
Liggett also noted 10 certified staff openings which they have received some interest in.
The Board then approved the Consent Agenda which included the regular bills. Also noted was the resignation of Aleisha Bragg with appreciation.
The first action was the marking of a weight machine in the weight room as excess. The school would like to sell it and purchase new equipment weight room. The Board approved the request.
The Board then marked a 1996 bus that is not used very often as surplus. The Board approved the action item.
The next item on he agenda was the approval of the 49 policies. Retzlaff read the titles of each policy. The Board approved the policies.
The Board then approved the contract for Merrell Nelson to become the interim Superintendent for next year.
The Board then adjusted the bus driver pay to $16 an hour whether they are driving or riding. It was approved.
The Board then approved a change in Article VIII #2 of the Master Agreement. The verbiage about lump sum payments was removed due to NPERS requirements.
The Board then authorized the purchase of a new brush head for snow removal from 21st Century for $5,200. Liggett stated that the maintenance staff has rebuilt the current piece of equipment multiple times and it is unable to be fixed again.
The Board confirmed the next meeting date as Monday, March 14 beginning at 5:30 p.m.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:39 p.m.