LEXINGTON – In a letter to the Lexington Board of Education, school board member Jeff Wightman tendered his resignation as a member of the board effective immediately.
Wightman was selected from four applicants to fill the position of Dawson County Judge, a seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge Carlton Clark in December.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman appointed Wightman to his new position on March 27, 2013. He will begin his duties in the first part of May.
The school board plans to take applications to fill the vacancy left by Wightman. According to Lexington Public Schools Superintendent John Hakonson, state statutes require that the board fill the vacancy within the next 45 days.
As a result of Wightman’s resignation, school board member Rod Reynolds was nominated to take over Wightman’s position as Vice President of the board. Reynolds left vacant the position of school board secretary, which was turned over to board member Larry Steinberger by unanimous vote.
The reorganized school board focused on financial issues for most of the Monday meeting.
Among items approved was a contract with Hakonson for 2013 to 2015. Also approved was an administrative salary schedule reflecting a 3.4 percent total package increase and the classified schedule reflecting a 3.9 percent total package increase.
Classified staffing includes non-teaching positions, such as secretaries, technology personnel and payroll personnel, among others. Administrators include school principals, the assistant superintendent and the chief financial officer, among others.
Changes to health care options for staff not covered by collective bargaining is on hold for the time being. LPS Chief Financial Officer Erin Heineman said the district is waiting to see what options uninsured staff will have under “Obamacare.”
Heineman warned that future coverage for many staff members would probably offer fewer benefits at a higher price.
Financial constraints may be a common theme next year as the district is projecting a decrease of $2.2 million in funding from the state through the Nebraska Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA). About $1 million of that is attributed to an overpayment from last year, but the remaining $1.2 in cuts will come from a reduction in aid from a variety of line items, such as elementary class size allowances and instructional time reimbursements.
Heinman said that sequestration will also result in another five to eight percent in cuts in government aid, but the district has cash in reserve in anticipation.
“We’re going to have to watch the checkbook,” Heineman said.
In other business:
– LPS officials announced the creation of a Facebook page for the district. The public may access it at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lexington-Public-Schools/604005419628959.
– The school board approved the use of the district’s charter bus to be used by the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Director Susan Bennett made the request as Lexington is hosting the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Executives (NCCE) conference here Aug. 14-16, 2013. The bus will be used to make a trip to the winery one night and to the lake the second night for a meal and a social mixer.
– The board of education also approved a recommendation to dispose of 10 non-functioning cell phones and to solicit bids to sell two Android X phones that are nearly new. Per school board policy, the sale or disposal of school district property requires the approval of two-thirds vote of the members.
– Lexington Public Schools will host a retirement party for this year’s retirees at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at the Holiday Inn Express in Lexington. The public is invited.