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View of storm from Plattsmouth school administration building

A severe storm that included heavy rain, strong winds and tornado warnings moved through Plattsmouth early Monday night. Plattsmouth Board of Education members were holding their monthly workshop in the administration building when the rain began to come down. They moved portions of both the workshop and their regular meeting into the basement after tornado sirens sounded in town.

PLATTSMOUTH – A severe storm Monday night forced Plattsmouth Board of Education members to short-circuit a large portion of their monthly meeting.

Board members had arrived at the district’s administration building with a full slate of items on both their workshop and regular meeting agendas. There were six discussion points scheduled for the workshop and 28 action items planned for the regular meeting. The storm narrowed down the list of the regular meeting to six action items.

Board members were able to finish most of their workshop before tornado sirens sounded. Plattsmouth High School Activities Director/Assistant Principal Shaun Brothers gave a report on the successes PHS students had enjoyed during the past school year. Board members discussed ways to attract candidates for several available custodial positions, and they heard reports from members of Operations, Finance and Curriculum/Americanism committees.

Operations Committee Chairman Tony Foster said the district is exploring the idea of adding a second school resource officer to the payroll. The second officer would work primarily at the middle and elementary schools. The district currently employs an officer at the high school.

Curriculum/Americanism Committee Chairman Mike Brodersen said the district experienced growth in K-8 test scores during the past year. He also asked the full board to set aside money to purchase new microscopes for science classes at the high school.

PHS science teacher David Davis told board members the school currently has 13 microscopes in working order. Some of the items are from the 1950s and replacement parts are becoming harder to find. New microscopes would cost approximately $250 apiece.

Tornado sirens caused a 35-minute disruption of the board’s business. Many people moved to the basement while others tracked the weather on the main level of the building. Everybody then went downstairs into a garage portion of the basement. Board members set up chairs and concluded the workshop at 7:05 p.m.

Board President Ken Winters announced at the start of the regular meeting that he would suspend most of the action items until a later date due to weather concerns. Board members approved the monthly bills and passed an updated food services contract with OPAA! Food Management for 2018-19. Food prices for meals at all buildings will increase 2.31 percent next year.

Board members approved five additional extended contract days for Dr. Stephanie Snell to be used from June 12-Aug. 9. Snell will perform additional duties as the school psychologist during this time.

Board members then approved an additional 20 extended contract days for David Davis to perform duties as the career academy director. Davis will oversee each of the high school’s three academies and will make new connections with local busineses and organizations.

The board then returned upstairs for a lengthy executive session regarding contract provisions and salaries for support staff at Plattsmouth. The board resumed the public meeting after 8:15 p.m. and voted 8-0 to pass the support staff contract provisions. Members then voted 6-1-1 in favor of adopting an updated support staff salary schedule.

Karen Parsons abstained from the vote because a family member is on staff. Foster voted no because he disagreed with the starting pay for custodial staff members. Foster told the board he strongly felt custodians needed to be paid more than the current wage. Board members learned in their workshop that the proposed pay scale for custodians would be $10.30 to $13.45 per hour.

The board’s final action item concerned curriculum for the READ 180 Universal program. Members voted 8-0 to purchase Houghton Mifflin Harcourt reading materials for $38,852.46.

The board could either hold a special meeting in June to take up the items that were suspended from the agenda, or members could take action on them during their regular July meeting. Winters said members of the public would be notified when that decision is made.

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