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Waseca, MN (507) 837-6767


NRHEG to see major renovations

Members of the NRHEG School Board accepted the resignations of secondary media center paraprofessional Loren Skelton, elementary teachers Laura Garlow and Amy Johns, head cheerleading coach Joni Churchill and school nurse Rachel Schue during the monthly school board meeting the evening of Monday, May 20.
Representatives of the firm SitelogIQ summarized the schedule and process for construction which will begin June 3 at both school sites and be complete by August 8. More than $2 million worth of work will take place at the elementary building; about $1.75 million at the secondary site. 
Parking lot paving will be added, enlarged and/or upgraded at both locations. Considerable work will also be done inside the buildings, much of which has to do with air handling and electrical improvements. The fire alarm system at the elementary site will be updated; aging doors will be replaced at the secondary school.
Representatives promised school leaders would “never have any surprises” since the firm will have staff supervising all elements of the work. SiteLogIQ will not be carrying out construction, but has been in charge of putting the many tasks out for bids, selecting, and now supervising the contractors as work proceeds.
Nikki Cromwell was hired as administrative assistant to the secondary principal; she will be in the position held for decades by Teri Kormann. Secondary teacher Bailie Thom was hired as the new head cheerleading coach. Bethany Tennis will now be the head volleyball coach. Janae Janicke has joined the custodial staff.
An unpaid leave policy regarding staff absences introduced at an earlier meeting was revised by the district’s policy committee after staff representatives requested a review. The updated policy is now being advanced toward board acceptance, and received its second reading in its altered form.
The school district has purchased a new freezer unit for the secondary cafeteria at a cost of $43,080.
School board members were notified 58 seniors will be taking part in the graduation ceremony set for 2 p.m. Sunday, June 2, in the Secondary gym. Board members Rick Schultz and Rich Mueller volunteered to be among those who hand out diplomas during the ceremony.
Superintendent Michael Meihak told board members the district has had trouble finding affordable group insurance for staff. Faced with yet another substantial rate hike, the district has gone with an “individual choice health reimbursement arrangement” (ICHRA).  Under this system, employees will be given the dollar amounts specified in their contracts toward insurance, and will then be expected to find their own providers. Meihak estimated about 80 percent of employees will be able to find less expensive insurance on their own than would have been acquired by the district.
Angie Aaseth, district technology coordinator, described the work underway to keep the many electronic devices used by staff and students up to current technological standards, while also building and maintaining the system infrastructure needed to keep them connected.
She mentioned the many “pieces” involved and described the process as “a bit of a puzzle.” She went on to say she is “deprovisioning” about 300 iPads used at the elementary school and replacing them with new equipment. She also mentioned that, going forward, third-graders will now have Chromebook computers rather than iPad tablets. Aaseth said she is also replacing a number of MacBooks used by staff, and that some of the “SmartBoards” installed in classrooms as much as 14 years ago are now being replaced with a new type of interactive Smartboard. 
She also told school board members she has been looking for funding from outside sources; thanks to a program called Erate, she was able to acquire some equipment that would have cost $15,000 for only $4,000.


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