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New SPS Superintendent advocates for policy review at July meeting

SIDNEY – New Sidney Public Schools Superintendent Andy Farber made his debut at the July board meeting where he advocated for routine policy reviews as well as discussing how recent legislative changes will affect current policies.

SPS Board President Mike Palmer called the July meeting to order and took roll call in which board members Kevin Challburg, Brad Kennedy, Kathy Nienhueser and Brenda Smith were present. The board voted to excuse Rusty Gulbranson for the meeting for the evening; SPS Secretary Deanna Kantor was also present at the meeting.

The board unanimously approved option enrollment requests for four students in which the district gained two students and lost two students from neighboring districts.

The board spent a considerable amount of time discussing and analyzing its bills payable and financial reports.

Board member Nienhueser presented the June 2023 bills payable in which she explained purchases such as new Chrome-books, utility bills, curriculum and textbook purchases for the upcoming school year, licensing and a rather expensive tow charge due to the Raider bus breaking down for an event.

In discussing the various licensing the district pays annually for various programs and curriculum, board member Smith asked if Kantor and Farber can provide the board with all licensing payments to track and possibly see about consolidating and streamlining the amount of licenses the district pays. In addition to that request, board member Challburg requested the district and board review other contracts, such as the printer contract.

In discussing the financial reports, board president Palmer asked Farber and Kantor about depreciation purchases the district made for items under the district requirement of $10,000, such as a dump trailer. Going forward, Palmer pointed out such items should be biddable items which the board should have a say in. To which new superintendent Farber agreed with Palmer and assured the board the district would take such items to the board for bids going forward.

Kantor explained to the board that due to the impending audit the district would need to transfer general fund monies to some of the accounts which are negative to balance and zero them out as the district begins working on the next year's budget as well.

After some discussion, the board unanimously approved a contract, from Rauner and Associates P.C. Certified Public Accountants, to perform the district's audit; the details of that contract can be found at the district office.

Farber provided a narrative and outline of the 2023 KSB School Law policy updates with red-lined policies so the board could see the required statutory changes with the new policy written in.

"These changes are based on the implementation of new laws and statutes created by the Nebraska legislature," Farber told the board. "You will note that the policies I have provided take effect on September 2, 2023."

Adding "I have added those policy changes to the July board meeting so the district has them in place."

There are other policies which need to be updated, however, could be done so at a future board meeting.

District Policy 3033, regarding lending textbooks to children enrolled in private schools, was required to be adopted and implemented by September 2 at the July board meeting.

A federal policy taking affect this school year, is a revision to Policy 4045 pertaining to milk expression for nursing mothers, known as the "Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP)." This act expands protections for salaried employees such as teachers and also requires the break to be paid if the employee is also working while expressing breast milk. The board implemented this to begin this school year.

The board will also take a look at policy revisions 4059 for behavioral and mental health training; Policy 5003 admission of part-time students; Policy 5004 regarding option enrollment; policy 5004.1 option enrollment resolution; and revision of Policy 5035, student discipline.

There were no members of the public who spoke during the citizen comments portion of the meeting nor were there any principals' reports due to school being out.

None of the board members had an official report to give for this month.

However, in his debut Superintendents report, Superintendent Farber told the board the district would be working on the entry plan to present at the August meeting as well as the annual district budget report.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be August 14, starting with a budget hearing at 5:15 p.m. at the district board office.


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