A senatorial visit to the Pioneer Academy was one of the topics of discussion at the regular meeting of the Nebraska City Public School Board of Education at the district office on Monday evening.
Deb Fischer, a United States Senator representing Nebraska, will visit Nebraska City's career focused learning center at 1406 Central Ave., from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19.
Despite school being out on Monday, students and instructors will be present at the Pioneer Academy to visit about the educational opportunities afforded to students of the district at that location.
Also of note on Monday, the members of the NCPS School Board are volunteering to serve lunch to teachers as a gesture of appreciation at noon at the high school.

District Efficiency
Jeff Friends, an NCPS board member, said he was pleased to report that the new district offices are operating efficiently in terms of energy. The last month's energy bill at the new district office at 1700 14th Ave., came in at $900.
The bill at the old district office at the Second Avenue School was $800 despite the fact that the heat in the building is turned up only high enough to keep pipes from freezing.

Legislative Bills
Superintendent Dr. Jeff Edwards updated board members on legislative bills that public schools are tracking in the state legislature. Three of the bills, LB947, LB829 and LB1084 address property tax relief.
The bill which was formulated with influence from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is LB947, a bill that offers property tax relief through tax credits.
Also of note on the legislative agenda is LB911, a bill that gives local school districts the right to tax income in their local area in an effort to offset revenue lost through the reduction of property tax.

Washington Visit
NCPS board member Stacie Higgins talked about a trip she took to Washington D.C. as part of a 12-member delegation with the Nebraska Association of School Boards (NSAB). Higgins daughter, Chloe, a senior at NCHS, also made the trip.
Communities represented in Washington included David City, West Point, Lincoln Public Schools, and Millard Public Schools.
Higgins said the delegation took part in two days of education about advocacy and had one day on Capitol Hill to address members of Congress about their particular school districts.
Topics of discussion were career education, special education and Title II topics and loan forgiveness for teachers.
Higgins said she was proud to talk about the Pioneer Academy in terms of career education and that the discussion is what ended up encouraging Senator Fischer to come to the Nebraska City location and check it out for herself.
Higgins said the overall experience was a good one. She said the legislators gave various types of feedback and indicated that the experience was one that lawmakers found to be informative.
Higgins said she left empowered to carry the positive message of public schools to all.
"We as a public school district have to continue to do a better job of informing people about what we do...about how much we do with how little we have," she said.

Student Council
Representing the NCHS Student Council at the meeting were Chloe Higgins, senior; Sarah Murray, sophomore; and Lilly Frields, freshman.
Higgins said the members of the student council have been talking a lot about the importance of promoting school unity.
To that end, the students suggested the instructor monitored use of Snap Chat to promote events and to talk about things like the Pioneer of the Week and the Teacher of the Month.
Higgins said those types of news bits are already placed on Twitter by students, so the Snap Chat option would just be an extension of the promotion already under way.
Students sought input from the school board on the Snap Chat idea and received positive feedback to move forward with their plans.
Frields then talked to the school board members about the upcoming lip sync competition that the student council has organized for Feb. 21. Some of the details, such as the duration of the contest, are still being worked out. In the meantime, students were asking for adults to volunteer to be judges for their contest. Interested parties can call the high school at 402-873-3360 for more information.

Board members acknowledged and approved three resignations for staff members of NCPS which will take effect at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Teachers who are resigning are Marcus Price, music teacher at Hayward Elementary; Sally Emmons, a fourth grade teacher at Hayward; and Jessica Boone, a psychologist at Northside and Nebraska City Middle School.

2018-19 Calendar
The members of the board voted to approve the academic calendar for the 2018-19 school year. The school year will begin on Aug. 16 with the proposed final day of the school year being May 24.
As the calendar falls, and to preserve a two-week break for Christmas, two snow days have been built into the schedule.
This differs from the three snow days that were planned into the 2017-18 calendar.
Should more days be needed, it might be necessary for students to return after Memorial Day, 2019, to finish up. Board members were in agreement that such an arrangement would be less than ideal.
Possible work-arounds for the problem include making Easter Monday a school day or making school days longer in order to reach the mandated number of hours for student instruction in a school year.

Principal Reports
The principals for the various NCPS school buildings were not in attendance for the school board meeting on Monday, but submitted reports indicating the news from their particular schools. Below are those reports.
At Northside, students were gearing up for their Valentine's Day parties which were set for Wednesday.
Hayward's One School, One Book selection for this year is My Side of the Mountain. Also of note from Hayward, the school was recently named as Otoe County's Best Place to Work.
Seventh grade students at the middle school attended the SAIL Leadership Conference in Syracuse. Students are taking part in Random Acts of Kindness Month. National Junior Honor Society applications were due on Feb. 16. And the school talent show is set for 2:30 p.m. on March 8.
At the high school, registration will be taking place March 14 and 15. The senior scholarship workshop took place Feb. 9. Spring sports practices will start at the end of the month. And the school musical is set for March 9 and 10.