Elgin school board makes changes

School safety again was a topic of discussion and action when the District #18 Board of Education met last week.
Having acted on several measures last month, the school board found themselves again looking at the issues of updating security cameras and video storage as well as a main office door video and unlocking system.
Superintendent Dan Polk said he learned after last month’s meeting that the equipment in question did not meet the needs of the district after being assured it would.
As a result, the board did the following:
• Approved a bid from Safe-n-Secure in the amount of $10,747.17 for updating security cameras and video storage. Polk said Safe-n-Secure’s bid included four security cameras, the bid from Applied Connective Technologies ($10,799,20) did not.
• Approved a bid of $5,900.91 for the main office door video and unlocking system. Although higher, Polk said Century Lumber’s bid had all three drop places and remote access in their bid. The other two bids (Applied Connective Technologies and Safe-n-Secure) did not.
• Approved a bid from Great Plains Communications for hallway & outdoor speakers at a cost of $5,862.99
In all three cases, the votes were unanimous.
Before the board addressed the afore-mentioned security items, Ed Knott from Applied Connective Technologies addressed the board regarding a number of issues related to providing service to the school district. His business has provided the security camera/system to the school district for the last 10 years.
Polk said the new equipment and systems are to be installed prior to the start of school in August.
In other safety-related issues addressed by the board, they approved on first reading Policy 402.18 Self-Defense Devices; a release form waiver for staff who volunteer to have self defense devices in their classrooms.

DC/NY Trip

Hunter Reestman (standing) along with Kaylee Martinsen (seated left) and Ally Wemhoff (seated right) spoke to the school board about the annual junior class trip. Elgin Review photo

Earlier in the meeting, three members of the 2019 senior class, reported to the board about a trip they and their classmates recently returned from. Ally Wemhoff, Hunter Reestman and Kaylee Martinsen gave a brief presentation. This marked the fifth year for students preparing to enter their senior year to take part in a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City. Visiting many historical sites proved to be an educational experience for the students.
“It was really, really fun,” Wemhoff said. Martinsen told board members she took 600 pictures on the trip.
Also present at the meeting, trip sponsor Joyce Wemhoff said visiting the Holocaust Museum in D.C. “was very moving.”

Lunch prices

Parents sending their children to EPS this fall will see a slight increase in the cost of lunch meals served in the cafeteria.
The school board became aware, from the State Department of Education, that they needed to raise the price of lunch meals for the 2018/19 school year.
Polk said the state has a formula which determines what a school should charge for lunch prices. He noted how District #18 had not raised lunch prices for several years. With that information, he said the state mandated that the school prices needed to be increased.
Consequently, the board accepted the state’s recommendation and raised all lunch prices by 10 cents.
The new prices are:
Pre-Sixth grade — $2.30 per meal (up from $2.20)
Junior-Senior High — $2.55 (up from $2.45)
Adults — $3.20 (up from $3.10)
“We are still in the middle of the pack (NVC) schools,” Polk told board members said about the new lunch prices.
The good news? Breakfast prices have not changed.

Budget review

Polk shared some information about the preparation of 2018/19 school budget which will be approved sometime in September.
He said work will begin in earnest in July. He said the school’s budget authority is just over $3.03 million, that’s up approximately $44,000 from one year ago.
“We’re not going to grow much,” Polk said.
He said if land values decline eight or nine percent, it’s possible the board may have to raise the tax levy. However, that’s not clear yet.
“We might, after four years, might not be able to drop the tax asking for the fifth year in a row,” Polk said.
“I don’t know, it depends on how much (cash) reserve you want to do.”
He added that it will still likely be three to five years before the district has a tax asking to match that in 2013/14.
“Elgin’s in good shape,” he said. “That’s everything I have at this point.”