Robby Thompson

The Creighton School Board sat at the table in the high school library for nearly two hours July 9.

A considerable portion of that time was spent on two agenda items.

Robert Crockett from Crockett Insurance Services in Creighton presented information on the district’s liability and property coverage. He handed out declaration pages for each policy, with current premium amounts, noting renewal premiums had not been calculated.

Crockett advised board members to review the information and offered to return to the August meeting to answer questions. Discussion included a possible need for flood coverage, the limit of liability umbrella coverage and a question on the need for full coverage on vehicles.

Crockett explained flood insurance covers damage incurred if water enters a building for reasons other than physical damage (such as hail or wind) to the structure. He cited examples including rising water tables or heavy rainfall.

The district’s umbrella policy provides the maximum liability coverage offered, $5 million per incident. Crockett said coverage was raised from $1 million under the tenure of previous superintendent, Jeff Jensen. Umbrella policies boost the limits of all other liability policies in force, including those for general liability and vehicles.

The district owns and insures eight vehicles, with a current annual premium of $4,100. While eliminating collision coverage on older vehicles is an option, Crockett advised keeping comprehensive coverage on all. Board members computed saving realized by dropping collision would be minimal. 

“Linebacker” liability protection for board members, employee theft coverage and “cyber crime” protection are also included in the district’s insurance portfolio.

Superintendent Robby Thompson, when questioned by board member Greg Kuhlman, said the district’s insurance is comparable to what most districts carry and similar to what his previous school carried.

The second lengthy agenda item involved Thompson’s one-year evaluation. Board members had completed digital surveys, with the results compiled and summarized by Board President Kay Morrill. She went through the summary, explaining each point, noting items that received less than perfect ratings by more than one board member. 

“No one is perfect,” board member Dixie Hanefeldt injected. 

Morrill identified only one item receiving three or more less than perfect responses, that being the board’s request for monthly financial reports that list all accounts, historical comparisons and year-to-date budget consumption. She further explained she had seen evidence of his progress on the project.

Superintendent goals were updated with timelines for completion added. He was advised by board members that they prefer routine correspondence via email and a previous goal regarding communication with community was abandoned due to compliance.

•Production of an electronic policy manual for board members and posting on website  by December 2018; 

•Creation of financial spreadsheet documents - template, current figures and budget-related information by October; adding bank accounts balances and historical data by June 2019. 

“Keep up the good work,” said board member Tim Gragert.

Morrill also announced Thompson’s salary is now $123,000 after the raise granted last month, effective July 1. The figure was updated on the school website.

Thompson reported the school nurse position had been offered to an individual, but no contract had been returned.

Interviews were set for four applicants for a cook’s assistant position and 10 applicants for a library paraeducator position.

As he works on a goal to post policy updates, the superintendent is collaborating with the district’s webmaster, Barbara Borgmann, to examine ways to make posting to the website less cumbersome and more “user friendly.”

He also proposed digital versions of the policy book for board members. The six members currently each possess a large binder, which requires pages to be replaced each time a policy is updated.

Thompson told board members he had submitted required worksheets and received the school’s Certificate of Accreditation for the 2018-2019 year. Accreditation is granted annually by the Nebraska Department of Education to schools complying with all provisions laid out in Rule 10: Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools.

He reported on budget preparations, including his goal to produce a spread sheet document that will eventually include three-year trends for each budget item. He said the project, started last year, is time-consuming. In addition, the school financial software will be updated this fall, with work underway by business manager Jennifer Hoffman to fine tune thousands of codes to fit the district’s needs. 

The board adopted a number of policy updates and new policies mandated by state, all on unanimous votes, with Colleen Farnik excused.

The school fees policy, one of several that require annual review, garnered some discussion. Gragert questioned class and organization dues, specifically asking what the funds were used for and what happened when a student couldn’t afford to pay.

Hanefeldt and Thompson explained the amounts listed in the policy are a “not-to-exceed” limit, not the actual amount incurred. Some fees are waived for students who qualify for free or reduced price meals and others who can’t pay are offered alternatives, such as making payments or working at an organization’s fundraisers.

School lunch and breakfast prices remain the same as last year: $1.80, student and adult breakfast; $2.40, student lunch; and $3.80, adult lunch. Second helpings are $.75 for all and extra milk is $.60 per serving.

Fees include: (all fees are listed as “not-to-exceed,” with the exception of driver education) class dues, $20; FCCLA dues, $20; FFA dues, $40; driver education, $250; yearbook, $50; extracurricular uniform deposit, $150; and industrial technology class protective items, $100, however, Thompson said the district would probably provide equipment to ensure quality safety gear.