Dr. Randy Gilson

Dr. Randy Gilson 

The Blair Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to give Supt. Randy Gilson a new two-year contract, which also included a raise.

Gilson's annual salary will be $166,000 — a $6,000 increase from his contract for the 2018-19 school year.

In his first year as superintendent, Gilson has faced a declining enrollment, which led to a cost reduction plan. The district made $1.4 million in annual reductions through attrition, a temporary early retirement incentive plan and other cost-saving measures.

President Kari Loseke reiterated that the board believes Gilson is doing a good job.

“It's been great to see the financial turnaround here this year and there are a lot of exciting things going on,” she said. “Thank you.”

Schools to see start, dismissal time changes

Start and dismissal times at each school building will change for the 2019-20 school year. Each will gain additional time to the day.

The proposed changes, which are included in proposed draft revisions to the K-12 student/parent handbook, are:

• Blair High School: Start time, 8:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.; dismissal time, 3:25 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Otte Blair Middle School: Start time, 8:15 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.; dismissal time, 3:17 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

• Arbor Park Intermediate School: Start time, 8:25 a.m. (no change); dismissal time, 3:20 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.

• K-2 schools: Start time, 8:25 a.m. (no change); dismissal time, 3:15 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.

The board could approve the changes at its Aug. 12 meeting.

District to hire new TeamMates program coordinator

A new TeamMates program coordinator position will be filled by a district employee.

The board approved adding the position to the co-curricular salary schedule with an annual stipend of $2,500.

The position, which was formerly known as Blair TeamMates director, was vacated by the retirement of Ann Hackerott.

The district also has two coordinator positions — one at OBMS and one at BHS.

Total costs for all three positions will be $6,100. However, the TeamMates Mentoring Program is providing BCS with a grant to pay for the positions.

Districts seeks proposals for lights, kitchen projects

The board authorized administration to seek requests for proposals for two projects — replacing the lights on Krantz Field and upgrading kitchen equipment at BHS.

The district received a quote from Echo Group, Inc. for new stadium lights. The quote does not include installation and concrete. However, BCS Maintenance Supervisor Rick Brant thought the project could be completed for under $200,000.

Gilson said that safety is an issue. The poles are original and have been in place since the 1970s.

“It's something that no one is thrilled about, but it's for the safety of the kids,” he said.

Loseke said the cost is considerably lower than what was originally estimated in the bond issue that failed in 2016.

“This seems much more economical and was something we felt we should at least investigate,” she said.

The BHS kitchen has several pieces of equipment that does not work, including three of its eight ovens, a dishwasher and a steamer. The district must also replace a vent hood, which does not meet fire code.

School psychologist hired

The board approved the hiring of Benjamin King as a school psychologist for the 2019-20 school year.

King replaces Jamie Christensen, who resigned in May.

King previously served as an assistant principal for Lincoln Public Schools prior to receiving his degree in psychology. He also worked for Westside Public Schools.

Library donates 3D printer

Blair High School will have a new 3D printer thanks to a donation from the City of Blair and the Blair Public Library and Technology Center.

The printer and extra filament, which is valued at $3,500, will be used in a new STEM class taught by K-12 High Ability Learner Coordinator Carson Norine.

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