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Old school, new school issues arise

By Staff | Jul 26, 2015

Though United South Central’s new school may seem completed, and the demolition of the old school seems well on its way to completion as well, USC still has a fairly big list of accomplishments to complete before the school year begins, and there is not a lot of time left.

At USC’s School Board meeting last Tuesday evening, superintendent Jerry Jensen gave an update on the progress of both the new and old school projects.

“We are continuing to sort rubble at the demolition site, and there’s still much to do there,” he said. “And our new building will be having its 11-month walkthrough to look at things that still need to be completed while also seeing how the building is settling.”

Jensen also mentioned the roof of the new school having a few minor issues as well.

“Firestone put the roof membrane on our building, and there are a few issues with the roof,” he says. “We have a Firestone representative coming to take a look at those concerns.”

Board member Tom Legred asked Jensen about the baseball and football fields when discussing the updates of the new building.

“I noticed the fields looked pretty dry not long ago. Is our sprinkler system working okay? Legred asked.”

Jensen responded by saying there was a break in the football field sprinkler system, which is now fixed.

“Some sprinkler heads had some problems too, but those were also fixed,” shared Jensen.

Board members Jon Feist and Mike Schrader gave an update to the stadium seating, as well, telling the board there was still a good amount of work to be done to the cement steps, specifically grinding and building up some of the steps, as well as putting a protective, non-slip coating on them for safety.

“The grinding of concrete itself would probably cost $1,500, which was a ballpark cap we heard from our cement people,” said Feist. He also mentioned the timeline for completion of the stadium was contingent on when the concrete would be poured.

With the new grass in place, and the stadium seats well on their way to completion, many members of the School Board asked if the football field would be ready to play on this fall.

“We’ve been told to possibly wait another year so the grass can grow in the field a bit more,” said Jensen. “We don’t want to play on the field, especially in wet conditions, and have our new turf grass ruined.”

“I would understand not playing on the field in wet conditions,” said Legred, “but what about a day when the weather is cooperative?”

“It would be really nice to have the homecoming game on our new field,” added Schrader.

Ultimately, the board decided to continue the discussion of playing on the new field for their August meeting.

In last Tuesday’s meeting the School Board also:

Increased substitute teacher’s pay from $100 to $110. With other schools in the area paying their substitutes up to $125, Jensen said USC was losing ground with competitive prices for substitute teachers.

“We need to stay competitive if we want to have quality substitute teachers for our school,” he said.

Approved the five year plan for USC to buy into the Southern Plains Education Cooperative fund balance for $19,115.64 in five installments over a five year period, totaling $95,578.20.

Approved the student activity fees for 2015-16. There was some discussion in the past whether student fees should be raised, but Sue Summer, USC Activities Director, said that raising the student fees for activities might not be the best idea.

“I recommend that we don’t raise it. Last year I waived 46 fees between fine arts and activities for students. I feel that if we keep it at the same rate for what the students pay, it’s to our benefit,” Summer said.

“I think based on the number of hardship scholarships that we’ve awarded, raising the fee, we think, it’s going to negate whatever we’re trying to raise in fees. It’s just going to put people in more difficulty” said Jensen.

The board unanimously decided to keep the student fees at the same cost as last year.

Established the dates and times for the regular USC School Board meetings during the 2015-16 school year.

August’s meeting will be held Aug. 18 at 7 p.m., while all other meetings will be held the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m.