Auburn Public Schools Will Open Aug. 19 with a New Preschool and Solid Finances
Superintendent Steve Schneider with the Auburn Public Schools said the district’s first year as a two-campus school went well and all involved look for an even better 2010-11 academic year. At the conclusion of the building addition/remodeling project approved by School District #29 voters a couple of year ago, classes for 2009-10 were held on two campuses instead of three. The change resulted in the former middle school building located along Highway 75 to instead serve as a location for some offices and storage.
Schneider said, “All of the staff enjoyed new technology available in both buildings. We’re looking forward to having even more instructors regularly use this technology. New textbooks come with software accompanying it. We have really been encouraging the use of it by our faculty.”
He added, “We had a great school year overall in 2009-10 with no glitches involving the new and remodeled buildings. We had just a few minor items needing attention and they were promptly fixed.”
Preschool Is New This Year
Schneider said the district will operate a new preschool this year with the expenses for it being paid over the next three years out of a $346,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Education. Samantha Wehenkel is the preschool coordinator and teacher, and Kathy Jones is the language resource person. Wehenkel formerly served the district as a special education teacher. The preschool will be operated in the two classrooms located on the northeast end of the Calvert campus. He said 29 students were registered for the preschool at start of this year.
To be eligible for the preschool, children must be at least age 3 by August 23, 2010 but not older than age 4 by October 15. Children born prematurely (36 weeks gestation or less), children of teen parents (age 19 or less at the time of birth), children with a verified disability, and children of families who demonstrate financial need will be eligible for a fee waiver or scholarship to attend the preschool. Tuition for all other families is $80 per month for a four-day week, $65 for a three-day week, and $50 for a two-day week for either morning or afternoon sessions.
Preschool classes will begin August 23 and conclude May 19, 2011, and will follow the school calendar for days of attendance. Classes for grades K-12 begin Thursday, August 19 for a full day.
“I believe we now have a top-notch and full-service school district,” Schneider said in referring to the addition of the preschool.
Schneider said the school’s new physical education curriculum is being implemented with the hiring of Alyssa Berg as a new PE teacher.
The district has received a grant for the purchase of I Pod Touches for use by second grade students with their reading curriculum.
The superintendent said the district is starting the 2010-11 school year in good shape financially. He expects the tax levy that will be assessed for School District #29 to be about the same as last year and maybe a two-cents lower levy than that amount collected five years ago. He said final financial figures won’t be known until Nemaha County’s official valuation for tax purposes is approved.
The County Assessor previously released a preliminary property valuation total which was substantially higher than the year before, but that figure will likely change following action taken recently by the Nemaha County Board of Equalization following property valuation protests filed by a number of patrons.
Regarding this school year, Schneider said plans are to move the district’s central office from its downtown Auburn location to the former middle school after its lease expires in November at its present 820 Central Avenue location. The former middle school at 1713 J Street now houses the special education office which was moved from the Midway Building. “We will be getting ready to move later on,” he commented.
Schneider said State Aid to Education for District #29 represents a decrease of about $300,000 from last year, but it still includes some $550,000 in federal stimulus funds. Despite this being the last year that stimulus funds are available, the district will be able to maintain its programs due to the increased real estate property values.
Schneider said the district enters this school year with about 805 students in grades K-12. The 2010-11 kindergarten class has about 60 students and the school graduated around 55 seniors this May. “We still have a couple of smaller class sizes in the lower grades and they are working their way through the school system. I would expect our enrollment to remain around 800 students for the next few years,” he added.
The administrator looks for this school year to be normal in regards to the number of days and hopefully there won’t be as many snow days as last year when there were seven.