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Seneca School Board discusses school security situation
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THREE-PEAT Spelling and Geography Bee Champion, 8th grade student Storie Recker is doing something in middle school that is pretty amazing. She has won the school spelling and geography bee for the third year in a row. Storie will advance to State in the spelling bee, as she was the winner of the West Sectional Spelling Bee. She competed with Al Rewey, right, and Nick Kirchoff (not pictured) in the Spelling Bee.

SENECA - It probably happened at most school board meetings held in the last couple of weeks and that’s understandable—the Seneca School Board was no exception. When the agenda at the February 21 board meeting got around to public comments, the board talked about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Seneca School Board member Larry Kelley started the conversation about “what was going on last week at the national level.”

Kelley said he believed that all doors in the school should be locked at all times and controlled from a central location.

“You need permission to enter the school from a central location, no matter who you are,” Kelley explained.

Board member Shawn Lenzendorf said the school should consider using Kim Redman’s room adjacent to the front door as a new secure office area.

Kelley insisted that regardless of who it was, including staff and students, they would need to enter through security at the front door that would include the use of bulletproof glass.

Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland told the board that there was no way to create a perfectly secured school. He explained some of the problems the district faces in securing the current school buidlingg.

“We can do some things, but you have decide to what degree you’re willing to go for security,” Boland said.

The district administrator also told the board that the problem wasn’t the adults involved, it was the students-including the elementary school students and the special ed students that require help.

On another point, Lenzendorf told the board that people had been asking him about the possibility of a second gym.

“Well the gym we have now is used non-stop,” Boland acknowledged.

However, the cost of getting another gym was probably prohibitive for the district.

Boland told the board that Wellness Day under the direction of teacher Diane Yager was scheduled for Wednesday, March 14.

Under new business, the board agreed to buy a new John Deere mower at a cost of $14,800. During the discussion, the district administrator pointed out the current mower is 21 years old and will need significant service if it is not replaced.

Boland also told the board that going with another John Deere mower meant that the various attachments owned by the district would work on the new tractor and not have to be replaced. The new mower is 4WD and will have a hard cab.

The board discussed a new contract with the Stratton Bus Service, the company that provides school bus transportation for the district. Stratton is asking for a 2.5 percent increase in each of the three years of the contract.

The board seemed to feel the increased price for service was reasonable, but had some questions about the two oldest buses being used by Stratton. They are 2011 models and the board decided to request that Stratton replace one of those two buses with a newer model.

So, no action was taken on the contract.

In other business, the Seneca School Board:

• heard the student count done in January recorded a small increase to 302 students

• learned that fifth grade teacher Marlys Oldenburg received grant funding from a ‘Donors Choose’ Grant for two in-class science projects

• approved the purchase of ‘stop saw’ requested by shop teacher Kally Koch that will stop instantly when it senses moisture and will thereby eliminate most table saw accidents

• learned that Seneca Schools student Storie Recker won the spelling be for the third year in a row

• recognized Becky Ruff for her work getting a grant to purchase breathing bags for use in CPR training and also recognized Kally Koch’s ag shelters class for shelves they built for the school