Churchill School Board Recap

  • 2020-06-23, 04:18 PM
  • Susan Weikel
Churchill School Board Recap

School Board June 10, 2020


Superintendent Stephens shared:

The district is continuing work to solidify the Learner Center framework. This work has brought clarity to competency skills and standards students need to be working on to master.

NIAA, (Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association) will be meeting to discuss protocols and expectations to meet guidelines set by the State for school activities, athletics, and the use of school facilities by outside organizations. Coaches will need to be trained and agree to follow the expectations set. Cleaning protocols continue to be established. Some of the items needed for the necessary cleaning are not available at this time. Stephens stressed, “Ultimately, the whole accountability for following the guidelines is so critical. We are accountable for that… It’s very difficult if one person decides it’s not important. We are going to have to work through that in terms of facilities and activities.”   It is critical that the staff of the district follow the guidelines as the district is accountable to those guidelines.

Summer learning opportunities available from the different schools have gone out to the public. The high school has virtual credit recovery going thru June and July, the Middle School has their virtual recovery program going on in June.  The district will not be holding formal summer school for elementary school. Northside will be holding extended school year services in July, but the planning for this is still in the works.

With such a short time to formulate a plan for the starting of the next school year, the district will be spending a great deal of energy planning for an organized, cohesive start to the next school year.  A big part of the reopening plan centers around personal safety equipment, facemasks, face shields, gloves, sanitizers, cleaning machines that allow for misting and fogging for quick cleaning, and thermometers. Some of the items are out-of-stock. The state has some funding but at this time it is not sure when this support will be available or how much it will be.

The leadership team met with a group of licensed staff and a group of support staff to continue the work on drafting a reopening plan. There are two models that are being investigated that would have the school year starting with not all students being in school at the same times. There will be a need for community discussion as to how the community members, daycare facilities, parents, and support programs see this rolling out.

The Superintendents’ group suggested that there would be approximately $148,000 of cuts for 2020. There is not current information of what the funding looks like for next year.

Both the Development Committee and Safety Committee are working on an updated emergency plan and a plan for the line of succession. The district has joined a consortium for a Department of Justice grant and some funding from the Pennington Foundation that will provide more training on safety.


Ms. Dowd reported that the DSA (Distributive School Account) at the state level had a shortfall of $265 million and that would be discussed at a meeting on Friday. She also indicated that the 2021 pupil rate would most likely be decreasing but there were no specifics at this time.

Trustee Hyde asked if there were any specifics regarding how the $13.5 billion stimulus package from the Federal government was to be allocated. Ms. Dowd explained Churchill County was awarded $508,000. How that money will be allocated is yet to be determined until there is more clarification on State funding. She also explained that the district is not qualified to receive the paycheck loan money. Trustee Hyde commented that he thought Oasis Academy had applied for the funding, and Ms. Dowd explained that Oasis has a 501(c) (3) and as a nonprofit is able to apply for the funds.


Friday-Saturday, November 13-14, Nevada Association of School Board's 2020 Annual Conference, Lake Tahoe, Nevada.


Trustee Whitaker reported that NASB (Nevada Association of School Boards) is continuing to work on their bylaws, the June board meeting was cancelled, and the board was planning to meet in Las Vegas in September.

Members of the board thanked those who had put forth the extra effort to see that this year’s graduating seniors had a memorable time.

NEW BUSINESS:  Alan Kalt, Chief Financial Officer for Pool/Pact, spoke to the Board about that organization and the benefits it brings to the district with numerous human resource trainings. ( The POOL is a group of government entities that have insurance as a pool. The District is covered for liability, property, cyber, environmental, and student accidents.) Mr. Kalt thanked Dr. Stephens for her embracing of the Pool programs and the hard work she has put into bringing programs, through Pool, into Churchill County that further school safety and staff awareness. Programs vary from support to Oasis Online for cyber security, Zoom trainings, misconduct, KnowBe4 software programs (virus awareness), Stop the Bleed Program, and many more. Mr. Kalt also shared dates for upcoming conferences.

Ms. Dowd requested that the Board approve the renewal for next year with Pool Pack for $452,802 with the deductible at $25,000 (set at the last meeting). Trustee Schank made a motion to accept the renewal proposal and it was passed.

Ms. Dowd presented information on 26.6 acres of water-rights located at Churchill County High School and EC Best Elementary that are unable, at this time, to be utilized. She asked the Board to explore ideas involving the transferring of some of this water to property on Rio Vista for the FFA program and dispose of any water left over that cannot be used. The water rights can be transferred, sold, or placed in TCID’s lease program.

Diane Bailey from TCID explained to the Board that this  26.6  acres of water is truly extra water and can not be used on other district property as there is nowhere to put it. “You can’t stack water on water.” Currently the district and TCID have an agreement that allows TCID to use the extra water in their lease program, keeping the rights active. The farmers that need to use this water, ‘borrow’ the water for a short time, and the fees attached to that water are paid by the user, not the district.

Trustee Schank expressed a desire to see the water stay in the valley and be used for agricultural purposes. She expressed a desire to put out to bid to sell the water rights with a minimum of $5,550 per acre. She felt the district could make more money if it went to bid. Another idea presented was to buy some land, transfer the water to that land, and then sell the land. “That would be a money maker.”

Trustee Buckmaster stated he agreed with the transferring of the water, possibly purchasing some land that Fish and Game had pulled the water from and put the water back on that piece or pieces. “If we just want to sell this…, put a minimum bid on it. The price we are going get for it is not quite $150,000, and that’s market value. For all means and purposes with our budget, I think that’s like kissing your sister. It doesn’t do ya a whole lot of good.” Buckmaster ended with saying that he thought the district should hold on to the rights at this time, develop them, investigate some other options, possible transferring them at some time.

Ms. Dowd explained that this money would not be operation money. It would all be placed in facility funds.

Trustee Whitaker asked if this was being brought up because the Board needed to take action or to review. She asked about how much management time was taken up in the business office to handle this. Ms. Dowd responded with, “Probable a couple hours.” Whitaker felt it was best to hold on to it at this time.

Trustee Hyde clarified that basically this water is leased back to TCID and that lease covers the district’s O & M costs. Hyde expressed that he was for leaving it as it is for now until they can look into it more.

The Board selected three Board members to work on and submit award nominations to the Nevada Association of School Boards. Trustees Schank, Whitaker, and Getto will be working on this.


The Board went into a closed session to discuss the following individuals regarding his/her employment contract, pursuant to NRS 288.220: Lisa Fritz, Kevin Lords, Kenny Mitchell, and Derild Parsons.


Continuation of New Business:

The Board approved the consent agenda:

  1. Approval of Recommended Personnel Action
  2. Approval of Vouchers totaling $995,492.41 from 5/58 to 6/10
  3. Approval of May, 2020, Payroll in amount of $2,528,443.03
  4. Approval of May 13, 2020, Regular Board Meeting Minutes
  5. Approval of Memorandum of Understanding extending the employment of Phyllys Dowd, Director of Business Services, after her approved June 30 resignation on a month-to-month basis pending the filling of the position or the implementing of other arrangements for the duties involved
  6. Approval of Quitclaim Deed assigning all rights to the Stillwater School Property to the Stillwater School Association pursuant to court order in case No. 1910DC-0557
  7. Approval of New Policy 5153.0 - Safe Exposure to the Sun (Students) - Second Reading 1.For Review Only: Regulation 5153.0  - Safe Exposure to the Sun (Students)
  8.  Approval of deletion of Policy 8315.1 - Suspension of Policy (Personnel) Second Reading

The Board approved the employment contracts for Lisa Fritz with changes of an annual salary of $95,000 with 230 days, Kevin Lords, Kenny Mitchell, and Derild Parsons staying at the same rate of pay for one year if transferred to a position of lower pay.

Dr. Amanda Lister expressed her concern regarding the selection process and procedures used in the hiring of the most recent administrator position.  Grant process and procedures in place for the new position include the candidate sitting for an interview with a selected interview panel. The candidates are asked questions in round table format, answers are recorded, and then they move onto the next question. “This hiring process is outdated and does not allow the committee to actually evaluate the applicant based on the skill or fit for the position. With this process in place, the most qualified applicants are being overlooked….In the current format, candidates are not evaluated based on their education, experience, talents, and abilities, but solely on their answers to the selected  interview questions. It is not comprehensive.” Dr. Lister asked the Board to inquire about current hiring procedures and to look into including an interview for all qualified candidates as well as a skills-based assessment. She also shared the idea of establishing an Inspiring Educational Leaders Committee for any interesting Churchill County employee interested in future educational leadership positions.

The meeting was adjourned and the next Board meeting will be on June 24, 2020.





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Susan Weikel



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