Sunrise construction

Construction crews have removed the overhang at the front entrance of Sunrise Middle School, 4611 Avenue N, and cordoned off the area for hard hat use. Sunrise still is scheduled to start on Thursday and the main entrance has been moved to the south door on the west side of the building.

KEARNEY — Kearney Public Schools will get an increase in state aid for the 2019 fiscal year, the first increase in state aid since 2014.

KPS Finance Director Chris Nelson presented a preliminary budget report at Monday night’s school board meeting: state aid this year will increase by 2.81 percent, or $187,943.

This increase does not offset five years of losing state aid, as more than $1 million had been subtracted from the KPS budget each year.

However, Nelson still acknowledged the increase as “positive news.”

“At least we’ve got something good this year,” he said.

The board will set its budget and levy at the September school board meeting. The current levy is $1.22 per $100 of assessed valuation, which the board raised last year in response to decreased state aid.

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Also in his report, Nelson compared KPS to similarly sized districts in the state. KPS has the lowest non-bond levy among Hastings, Grand Island, Fremond, Columbus, North Platte and Norfolk. Adding in bond costs, the district is the third-lowest.

In per pupil costs among this group, Kearney was the second-lowest in the 2018 fiscal year, spending $10,508 per student.

Also at the Monday meeting, Kent Cordes shared that BD Construction is finishing up work at Northeast Elementary School and starting some of the major elements of the construction project at Sunrise Middle School. Both schools are set to start school on time Thursday.

The board additionally:

- Appointed Wendy Kreis, Alex Straatmann and Kathy Gifford to serve on the Committee on American Civics, effective immediately. The board had to appoint members to serve on the committee because of LB399, which the Nebraska Legislature passed earlier this year.

- Appointed Drew Blessing to represent KPS on the Nebraska Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly at the NASB Annual Education Conference in Omaha.

- Renewed memorandums of understanding with Central Community College, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the Merryman Performing Arts Center, the city of Kearney, Buffalo County and Family Physical Therapy.

@TiffanyStoiber