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Sidney School Board Plans Against Cabela's Impact


With staff reductions related to the Bass Pro absorption of Cabela’s, the Sidney School District is bracing for a related loss of students.

In the school board’s work session Tuesday, Supt. Jay Ehler reported the District is down 53 students since the start of the school year.

“We know that we will have a significant number leaving this spring and summer so we will continue to have discussions based around appropriate staffing and making cost effective decisions regarding facilities,” Ehler said.

The State of Nebraska supports public schools through a formula comparing costs to revenue, including local tax revenue and grants. The State supports school districts with a formula based on the difference between local revenue and the actual cost of operation, and the average number of students in attendance during the school year.

Ehler said the District has lost 93 students over the last two years.

In Tuesday’s work session, the board discussed how to keep the District fiscally sound in consideration of anticipated changes. It was reported that State Aid certification was announced and Sidney Schools will receive $205,670 less for the 2018-2019 school year than this year. In an effort to address the shortfall, the District will be absorbing several positions through attrition; positions held by staff retiring or resigning will not be filled.

The board did decide Tuesday to provide a slight salary increase to classified staff and administrators. Increases are being kept to a minimum because of the uncertainties the community is facing. With the positions being absorbed, payroll will actually decrease next year, according to Ehler, in an effort to be prepared for lower student count.

The board also discussed adding additional agricultural education classes, computer classes, Spanish as an elementary exploratory class for all students and possibly a 1 to 1 Chromebook Initiative. The Chromebook Initiative will be discussed at the regular board meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12.

The Sidney schools will be undergoing the AQUESTT Nebraska School Accountability System this year. Sidney is currently listed as a “great” school.

“We will go through the process again this year of student accountability testing and also completing an Evidence Based Analysis for the District and each individual school,” Ehler told the board.

The board also discussed the board’s goals and objectives. This year’s goals and objectives include ° Continue to provide quality technology access for teachers and students; ° Focus on positive and effective relationships with Sidney’s business community and parents; ° Continue to focus on and find ways to improve fiscal responsibility without jeopardizing quality instruction; ° Continue with leading edge trends in education, identify gaps and implement improvements where necessary; and ° Develop a 3-5 year financial plan.


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