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Superintendent Press Release January 20, 2023

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

As we turn the calendar to 2023, my focus turns toward the Nebraska legislation and what new bills may have an impact on our school. Cedar Bluffs Public School is financially dependent on State Equalization Aid and every year, it seems, there is legislation introduced that would change how State Equalization Aid is calculated. This year is no different. A new Governor who has made changing school finance a large piece of election campaign means there will be a great deal of pressure on legislators to make changes. In odd years the Nebraska legislation convenes for 90 days instead of 60. A longer session means changes to our Education Funding may not be decided until well into June. Each year by March 15, schools in Nebraska are required to be given their amount of State Aid they are to receive for the next year, so they may begin to work on the school’s budget. But in recent odd years, one of the first pieces of legislation that is passed is to delay that requirement usually until July 1 making it very difficult for schools to do any planning. Ninety percent of most schools’ budgets are personnel costs, so if there is a loss of income (State Aid), then it usually effects staffing. By Nebraska state law, teachers are on continuation contracts that automatically roll over on April 15 each year guaranteeing them a job the next year. That is why schools would traditionally get their State Aid calculations on March 15, so if a school had to make cuts, they could do so by notifying teachers before the automatic roll over date. So far this year I have not seen an introduction of a bill that would delay the March 15th release of our calculated State Aid. However, I have not had time to read through all 843 bills that have been introduced this year. January 10th was the final day to introduce bills.

As you may have noticed, we were able to get the canopy that covers the preschool playground removed in preparation for the link that will connect the new building to our current facility. Most of the foundation for the new building was poured this week, although the weather has not been cooperating.

One the hardest decisions a Superintendent must make is whether to have school or not during inclement weather. I have heard some people say, well its easy always err on cancelling. But I agonize over the decision. I understand not having school is a hardship for many parents, who they themselves, still may have to work, but now must find caretaking for their small child(ern). I spend hours looking at the weather reports, wondering if they are right, when the experts are often wrong. Trying to predict and track storms. I drive every bus route we have, sometimes twice. I like announcing the night before, so parents have time make decisions and set up care for their kids, if they need. Fremont is too large to do a 10am start but sometimes in a small school it is a good way to give yourself more time to make a decision in the morning, especially if you are unsure what might happen overnight, as I did this week. However, I rarely sleep worrying about the decision I have to ultimately make the next morning. I will get up multiple times during the night, look out the window, check the latest updated weather report. See if any of the other superintendents have sent a text on our shared text chain. It really is very stressful and while all the kids and most of the teacher love snow days, they are rough on superintendents. Ultimately, I try to think about that 15 year old new driver and how they may navigate the roads. Safety is always paramount in these types of decision. #Wildcat Pride!