School board approves budget, debates property purchase

 A budget that is virtually unchanged in tax asking from last year and whether or not to move forward in an attempt to purchase property adjacent to Wayne High School were among the items on the agenda when the Wayne Community Schools Board of Education met in regular session on Monday.

The meeting began with a budget hearing and tax request hearing in which Superintendent Dr. Mark Lenihan provided information on the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 year. He noted that while the General Fund request was slightly  higher than last year's request, the Building Fund request was slightly lower.

Dr. Lenihan told the board and those in the audience the district's total tax asking was $9.672 million. This amounts to a tax rate of $1.0279 per $100 of property valuation.

During the regular portion of the meeting, the board unanimously approved the budget. It will now be submitted to the state of Nebraska, Wayne County and the Nebraska Department of Education prior to the Sept. 20 deadline.

Following discussion in an executive session, the board took no action on the purchase of a piece of property just west of the Wayne Junior-Senior High School parking lot.

During open session, board member Lynn Junck said he did not see where the purchase would fit into the long-term facility plan.

"It doesn't make sense to buy this property. We would just be taking money away from something else," Junck said.

Board member Jodi Pulfer agreed, saying "we don't have a specific plan for the property at this point. A feasibility study may show we don't need it."

In other action, the board approved the creation of a Kids Club account to be used in conjunction with the teaching of financial literacy at Wayne Elementary School. A state-wide program will be used with the students to teach about the importance of saving money for the future.

Dr. Lenihan presented enrollment statistics for the district for this school year.

He noted that in Pre-K through 12th grade, the total enrollment is 980 students. Additionally, services are being provided to nine youth in the birth to two year age category, bringing the total enrollment to 989 students. This compares to 948 students for the 2018-2019 school year.

He told the board that there is currently a waiting list for the four-year old preschool and discussed possible options for providing for these students.

Written reports were presented from administrators and included information on the number of students in each specific class at the high school, statistics from the summer school program and a program entitled Behavior Flip that is being used with the junior high school students. 

The Wayne Community Schools Board of Education will next meet in regular session on Monday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m.

The Wayne Herald

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