Proposed Churchill County School District staff changes met with opposition Thursday night during the regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting.
Re-assignment of a counselor and elimination of an agriculture teaching position at Churchill County High School due to 2013-14 budget concerns were among the options discussed by trustees, staff and members of the public. Those proposals, along with the transfer of two elementary school teachers into open positions and five classified positions, will be brought back before trustees at their next meeting on May 9.
Interim Superintendent Bus Scharmann emphasized he was not recommending Reduction in Force notices but instead has proposed transfer of licensed personnel based on enrollment numbers and class sizes.
“One of my goals when I took this job was not to issue RIF notices,” Scharmann said. “We wanted to bring to light, No. 1, that we did work with our personnel to make transfers. These transfers are necessary for the plan so that we will not need to lay people off.”
In a memo to trustees, CCHS Principal Kevin Lords wrote he had been asked to reduce the school’s licensed staff by four positions. Among his recommendations were to reduce the number of counselors from three to two, with Teresa Gehman moving to the middle school. In his recommendations, Lords also called for one math teaching position to be eliminated, while two other positions will not be refilled after retirements.
“I feel that we could operate with two counselors and lean more on secretarial and administrative staff to cover some of the duties of the lost position,” Lords explained in his memo. “Although I do not feel it is best to eliminate a counseling position at CCHS, I cannot justify the loss of another teaching position.”
Ron Evans, president of the school board, does not favor the reduction of counselors.
“To take away one of the counselors and have 600 students for each counselor would be very difficult,” Evans said.
Four members of the public, including Paul Vazquez, a current CCHS senior, urged trustees to keep three counselors. Vazquez explained to trustees he will attend the University of Nevada, Reno, thanks largely to his counselor.
“I would like to stress how important counselors are to students and their futures,” he said. “My counselor was a huge help to me. I would not be prepared to go to a university or do any of the necessary steps like getting financial assistance if not for her.”
Trustees also approved early retirement settlements for Katherine Giomi and Cortney Dahl. Those positions will not scheduled to be re-filled, although in Dahl’s case, Evans said he was not in favor of “cutting a vocational class.”
A motion to cut five classified positions and one instructional aide was approved by a 5-1 vote, with Trustee Nona McFarlane opposing in a vote cast by telephone (Trustee Clay Hendrix was absent from the meeting).
Transportation Director Steve Russell will also present a plan for reorganizing his staff at the next school board meeting.
Trustees also discussed or took action on the following items:
Approved a revised Request for Proposal document for Legal Counsel that opened on Monday. The Request for Proposal was reviewed by Craig Mingay, Churchill County’s civil deputy district attorney, who informed trustees May 15 has been set as the deadline for applications. Applicants will be reviewed by a committee appointed by Scharmann and a recommendation due to come before trustees in June. Sharla Hales, who is also president of the school board in Douglas County, has served as Churchill County’s legal counsel since May of 2007.
Approved Resolution 13-07 authorizing medium-term obligations in the maximum principal amount of $1,125,000 to refinance certain outstanding obligations of the district.
Approved a five-year Capital Improvement Plan.
Approved a contract award for asbestos and lead material testing and air clearance sampling in the Minnie Blair building at CCHS, the CCMS gymnasium, as well as E.C. Best Elementary School and Northside Early Learning Center.
Trustees also approved nine pre-orders for contracts:
Contract for testing services and special structural inspections for summer work to be funded by bond proceeds to Lumos & Associates not to exceed $50,000.
Contract with Norman S. Wright of Reno for heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment at E.C. Best ($142,430) and Lahontan ($273,480) elementary schools, as well as Northside Early Learning Center ($252,215).
Contract with Lumos & Associates for Numa Elementary School design change order to add parking lot lighting for $2,025.
CCMS gymnasium design change order to change the scope of design in the amount of $2,000. The vote was 5-1 with Trustee Steve Nunn opposing.
Northside Early Learning Center design change order to change the scope of design in an amount not to exceed $9,900. The vote was 5-1 with Nunn opposing.
Recognized CCHS senior Braden Benecke, who was selected to attend the 50th annual National Youth Science Camp this summer in West Virginia.