McCOOK, Nebraska -- Thanks to $10,000 in anonymous donations, the high school FFA club will have its own classroom.
The McCook school board unanimously accepted the donations of $4,000, $3,000 and $3,000 at its regular meeting Monday night at the Junior High conference room. Rick Haney, McCook School Business Manager, said the funds would be used to construct a classroom in the auto body shop for FFA
"It will be like a old-fashioned barn-raising," Haney said after the meeting, with FFA students, parents and Bison Boosters doing a lot of the work themselves.
In other business, the board also accepted the resignation/ retirement of Janet Hepp, effective at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Hepp has taught language arts for 22 years at the junior high and board members acknowledged her many years of service.
"She will be missed," noted board member Diane Lyons, adding that it was especially nice to be notified so early in the year, so plans can be made to find a new instructor.
Superintendent Grant Norgaard said that Hepp would qualify for the early retirement buyout offered by the McCook School System.
The early-retirement buyout offers teachers a portion of their retirement salary if they retire early, so new teachers can be hired at a lower cost.
Other items the board approved or commented on at Monday night 's meeting include:
* unanimously approved the McCook Education Association as the bargaining representative for certificated employees.
* The PTO is up and running for the school year and McCook School Board President Tom Bredvick said that parents who are interested in participating can call the offices at McCook Elementary or Central Elementary.
* Donita Priebe, MHS band instructor, addressed the board and told them that band students have chosen Orlando, Florida for the upcoming band trip. The cost to each student would be $987 and will require fund-raising. Students will stay for four nights and perform at Disney World, as well as visit Universal Studios and other theme parks at Disney World. The trip will be at the end of this school year. Priebe said a parents meeting will be scheduled in the near future.
* recognized John Smith as the DARE officer for the school. Smith is a three-year veteran with the McCook Police Department. "John's presence is very well appreciated," noted Superintendent Grant Norgaard.
Board members who commented during the "Positive Comments'" portion of the meeting, included:
* Sandy Krysl: pleased to have John Smith as the DARE officer. 'My son had DARE last year with John, and he is a great person to have in that role," she said.
* Teresa Thomas: appreciated the open house at McCook Elementary at the beginning of the school year, along with the "Walk to School" event and junior high orientation. "All of these were very helpful."
* Shane Messersmith: grateful for the support he's received from the community, following the vehicle accident Sept. 9 that involved his son; in that accident, five teenagers were in the vehicle and four were transported to the hospital. "It is great to see the overwhelming support of the community when something like this happens," he said, adding, "I have four new gray hairs."
* Bredvick: noted that teenager's "dialing system" following the accident Sept. 9 could be considered superior to the school's automatic dialing system, as so many were contacted in such a short amount of time. "Prayers started early," Bredvick said. "It's neat to see these kids come together in a group, after something like this happens."
* Diane Lyons: related how two parents who have kids attending McCook Elementary for the first time told her they were very pleased with the professionalism of the teachers and the facilities.
* Larry Shields: appreciated the anonymous donations given to the school. "It's great how people step up and fill those needs."
* Rick Haney, business manager: The contractor installing the new heating and cooling system at the high school is "making it as painless as possible" for students and teachers alike. "They have been good to work with," he said of the contractors.
* Norgaard: excellent job done at the Open House at McCook Elementary at the beginning of the school year. Also noted the high level of professionalism among teachers.