School board selects new trustee
A member of the Churchill County School District’s Budget Committee was selected Thursday to replace Steve Nunn as a trustee.
Nunn officially resigned from the school board on March 1. When the LVN spoke to Nunn prior to his official letter of resignation, he said the resignation was due to health.
The school board voted 6-0 for Kathryn Whitaker, who will serve the next 18 months until the 2016 election. Others who were interested in the open seat were Bill Slentz, a former trustee, and Marc Alonzo Williams.
As a member of the Budget Committee for three years, Whitaker said she spent hours learning about the operations of the school district and the process for formulating budgets. Whitaker said she is willing to provide her expertise with the board.
Whitaker said the biggest impact on the school district’s budget has been the charter school, Oasis Academy; yet, she said a positive aspect about Oasis is that it provides competition for the school district.
“Competition … we may not like it, but it’s making us face what works and doesn’t and makes us see what can improve,” she said.
As for the budget, Whitaker said she understands the frustrations both the school board and public encounter. In working with government accounts and budgets, Whitaker said school boards must deal with the Legislature until both the Assembly and Senate approve the budget for K-12 schools.
Whitaker said she believes in being more proactive with the budget; for example, she said the school district could devise three different budget plans to show the community that trustees are aware of the community’s concerns in understanding the school district.
As for this year’s budget, she said the unexpected occurred such as geothermal royalties being reduced to the district and insurance premiums increasing.
“We can encourage upfront planning and projecting in the budget analysis instead of waiting on the budget,” she said.
Whitaker said she is aware of the concerns Common Core State Standards have caused throughout Nevada including Churchill County. She said she understands the frustration of federal control over education, but Whitaker said Common Core has also strengthened standards for better critical thinking. She said Common Core also provides teaching strategies for different learning styles.
“We have the responsibility to reach students,” she said.
Whitaker, though, said she has also heard about concerns for testing.
Whitaker and her husband, Brad, have two children, a son who is a high-school freshman, and a daughter, a seventh-grader at Oasis Academy.
The school board also took action on the following:
Approved the second reading of a new policy — Policy 1610 — Public Records Policy.
Discussed and will continue discussion at its next board meeting on proposed changes to Policy 5601, participation of Charter/Private/Home School Students in Churchill County School District Classes and Activities.
Discussed the first reading of the Churchill County High School Honors School.
Protests were withdrawn regarding the awarding of a contract for a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the high school. Trustees later approved an award of a contract to Ferguson Construction of Fallon in the amount of $211,544 for construction of the Churchill County Middle School 2015 Science Wing Renovation Project A.
Deferred acceptance of renewal proposal from Wells Fargo Insurance Services for Hometown Health (medical coverage), VSP (vision coverage) and Guardian (dental and life coverage) for July 2015 to June 2016.
Approved to receive information regarding bidding the Churchill County High School Auxiliary Gym Site Work as a Separate Bid Package, which would allow the District to get the site work done during the summer of 2015 while the design is being finished on the building.
Ratified the 2014-2015 School Year Tentative Agreement between the Churchill County School District and the Churchill County Administrators’ Association, including fiscal impact data.
Ratified the 2014-2015 School Year Tentative Agreement between the Churchill County School District and the Churchill County Education Association, including fiscal impact data.
Discussed a report regarding possible data backup options, including information regarding, among other things, purchase and use of backup servers and use of remote “cloud” storage. The board then approved purchase of the equipment for $54,362.50.