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Reports Approved, Students of the Month Honored at Board of Education Meeting

Technology Issues and Game Streaming Fees Discussed

SIDNEY--On Monday night, the regular meeting of the Cheyenne County School District #1 was held at the District Administration Building in Sidney. After the Call to Order, the Board recognized students of the month for October, 2023 in the Sidney Public Schools.

For seventh grade, the student of the month is Zach Roberts. The son of Josh and Yvette Roberts, Zach leads by example in the classroom, and is always helpful to other students. He perseveres when work gets difficult, and earned a spot on the straight A Honor Roll for the first quarter of seventh grade.

For eighth grade, the student of the month is Connor Nebarez. The son of Daniel and Robin Nebarez, Connor is an excellent role model for other students in the classroom, with a positive attitude and willingness to help other students. He participates in Cross Country, Quiz Bowl and Track, and is well known for his politeness with teachers and other students.

For ninth grade, the student of the month is Emily Bashtovoi. The daughter of Denis and Amy Bashtovoi, Emily is a great student and works hard in and out of class. She is involved with HOSA, Cross Country, Track and is the freshman class President.

For tenth grade, the student of the month is Olivia Ford. The daughter of Nick and Haley Ford, she is always prepared for class and has a positive attitude anywhere she goes. She is involved with HOSA, JTOH, Cheerleading and S-Club.

For eleventh grade, the student of the month is Dakota Hawkins. She is the daughter of Gina Elsen and Kory Hawkins. Dakota works hard in school, manages her classroom time well, and is very responsible. She is always pleasant and respectful towards others. She is the football manager, is in the choir and S-Club.

For twelfth grade, the student of the month is Jonathan Meza. He is the son of Enriquita Flores. Jonathan has always displayed an unwavering commitment to his education, and is deeply involved with the school community. He consistently achieves top grades in his coursework and is always eager to take on challenging academic tasks. He is not only an active participant but also a leader within the school. He possesses excellent communication and organizational skills, making him a vital asset in various school activities. He is involved with DECA, NHS, Golf, Cross Country and is senior class President.

Superintendent Farber then spoke briefly about the budget, and noted how the Sidney Public School system has used approximately 15% of this year's budget, down from a little over 16% at this point last year. He noted that there has been an increase in payroll of about $30,000, but the administration has taken a very conservative approach to expenditures to maximize the value of the budget they have been given. He spoke about one way to cut expenses, which is to cut down on Square, the online payment processing system, fees. Processing fees are costing the school system about $1,000 a month, with most payment fees coming from school lunch purchases. He suggested either adding the 3% processing charge to the overall purchase charge for individuals, or to encourage users to pay by check or cash to avoid the processing fees.

In new business, District Policies 2001-2009, 4015 and 6038 were reviewed by the Policy Board and approved. Policies 2010-17, concerning issues such as length of time agendas have to be posted, Board of Ethics policies and penalties for violations, and Board members being able to qualify for Health Insurance. The policies will be reviewed and discussed at the next Board meeting.

The multicultural report was submitted and approved by the Board. The Computer Science requirement enacted by the State Board has already been implemented by the Sidney Public School system, requiring five semesters of Computer Science for students starting in eight grade. The Americanism Committee was scheduled to present and discuss their agenda at next month's meeting. The Superintendent Evaluation should be be ready to be discussed at next month's Board meeting. negotiations with employees were agreed to be pushed back until the beginning of January. Initial discussions have been positive and constructive, and Farber expressed confidence that they will be completed before the deadline in February.

Other items discussed included the annual Quiz Bowl with panhandle-area schools will be held at the Midlle School on the afternoon of December 1. On December 6, the West/North Spelling Bee will be held at 1 p.m. at West Elementary. On December 8, the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge will be held at Sidney High School from 1 to 4 p.m. Sarah Stinnett of E3 detailed the competition, where students will be able to win cash and prizes for the best product or service innovations for a business they would run themselves. This year a "Peoples Choice" award has been added to the prizes, so make sure you come out on December 8 to vote for your favorite new business product or service.

Director of IT Services & Education Matt McKay then spoke about some new happenings in the technology sphere at the schools. He first talked about the Paper Cuts system, a way of monitoring and tracking copying use among users, to help reduce costs. The system requires badge access to operate copying machines, and can monitor usage and block unauthorized users from making copies. The system has been adjusted to accommodate substitute teachers and temporary users, and is expected to save money by reducing unauthorized machine use. The software also increases efficiency for assigning substitute teachers, as the database tracks availability and special accommodations for teachers and substitute teachers. McKay also noted that the speaker systems in the High School gym have been upgraded due to a generous donation by Matt Monhieser and installation performed by Mega Music out of Sterling, Co.

Another topic McKay spoke of is the upcoming changeover of game streaming from Striv, the current provider, to Hudl. Hudl is already involved with streaming various educational programs in the schools, and is now expanding to cover sporting events. During the football season, the Sidney play off games were streamed on Hudl, for a fee that users had to pay. The revenues for the two games streamed amounted to approximate $2500 for the schools. The Hudl system uses a more advanced broadcasting model, with additional camera angles and graphics, as well as synchronous ply-by-play announcement through local radio or student announcers. McKay discussed the fees, which ranged anywhere from $5 to $8 dollars per user per broadcast. Board President Mike Palmer asked if subscription packages could be purchased, and McKay said that the framework on how to charge users had not been decided upon at this point. The Board seemed eager to enact fees on viewers of these broadcasts. Currently, Striv, which broadcasts many school sporting events, is free of charge to viewers. However, it was said that Striv was looking to go in another direction, and focus more on educational broadcasting services. The Hudl broadcast, while offering more angles and information during the broadcast than Striv, looks to be set as a pay-per-view model, which may not be acceptable to many taxpayers. When it was announced a few weeks back that the Sidney football play off games would not be available on Striv, we heard complaints from some Sidney residents that did not have access to NewsChannelNebraska or Allo that they would have to pay an additional fee to watch the games.

Superintendent Farber closed out the meeting noting that he had been approached by two different facilities management companies concerning upgrades to the existing elementary school buildings. Noting the age of the buildings, the facilities management companies said safety and infrastructure upgrades to the schools were necessary, and Farber would look into the proposals in more detail as the school year progressed.


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