Conestoga School Board discusses civics, transportation, and technology

Murray, NEB- Conestoga’s Board of Education had their second meeting of the new school year in the High School Media Center on the night of Tuesday, Oct. 12th. The board held an American civics hearing, discussed transportation issues, and voted on the purchase of new Macbook computers.

The meeting started with an American Civics Hearing, which is state mandated to be held twice annually by local school boards. The purpose is to review and ensure the district is teaching within the state standards for Social Sciences and Civics. After an update to the standards in 2019, 7th grade civics and down will look a bit different. 7th Graders will now have more focus on U.S. History and working civics themes into history. Director of Curriculum Lisa Bergmeyer said, “It was heavy civics for 7th before, now you can see how it’s laid out across sixth-eighth…. I believe stating that six-eight will now incorporate the teaching of civics, economics, geography, and history”

Superintendent Dr. Johnsen underscored transportation issues in her report to the board. It is currently hard to find bus drivers; due to that shortage of drivers combined with technology glitches, there have been four to five cases where transit was lost for an activity. She told the board that drivers are able to cover regular transit to and from school, but activities are harder to cover. Board members discussed the possibility of themselves, parents, or coaches volunteering to drive transportation for activities in the future.

The last item on the agenda was for approval to purchase new Macbook computers sometime in the future. A motion was made by member Dave Duzik to approve the purchase of 180 new Macbook computers, which would cover all students and staff in the Senior High School building. The purchase would cost the school $203,000, however, the federal government will reimburse the school $72,000 for the purchase.

As for the current laptops held by students and staff, it was discussed to give seniors the option to purchase their laptop from the school when they graduate or for the school to sell the laptops to the general public.

The board will meet again on the second Tuesday in November. For this meeting, board members Allison Welch, David Duzik, Dean Nickles, Tracey Priefert, and Candace Kelley were in attendance. Board member Jason Nolting was absent. Superintendent Dr. Johnsen, Elementary Principal Eric Dennis, High School Principal Robert Geise, Director of Curriculum Lisa Bergmeyer, and Activities Director Jason Ahrens were also present.