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    How Efficient is Nemaha Central

    Where Is The Money Spent?

    I recently wrote about the importance of voting in the upcoming election, and I mentioned that it was important to be informed about where candidates stand on issues prior to casting your vote. One issue that seems to be at the top of some of the elections is education. Specifically, school funding has been at the top of the list for candidates, especially for state-level positions. You will hear debate about the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of how schools spend the funding provided by our constituents of our district as well as the State of Kansas.


    The financial information for Nemaha Central Schools is available on our district website; however,  if you don’t deal with school budgets on a regular basis, the information may need more explanation. The Budget at a Glance for 2018-2019 provides you with information about the current year’s proposed budget as well as actual expenditures from past years. It is important to remember the amounts in the current year’s budget are proposed and actual expenditures may be lower at the end of the fiscal year. The budget is approved in August and the Board of Education must put in amounts so that they have authority to spend amounts that may be higher than the actual cost. For actual cost and expenses, it is better to look at the past year’s amounts. Below is the past two year’s data for Nemaha Central taken from Budget at a Glance (page 3):



    Candidates will talk about getting more money into the classroom while they are campaigning, but what does that mean? This table shows that expenses are broken down into ten categories. Which of these should be included in the definition of funding the classroom? The obvious may be “Instruction” which ranges from 64%-68%; this includes teacher salaries and some noncertified staff. “Student Support Services” takes between 3%-4% and includes expenses associated with our school counselors, social worker, nurse, and psychologist. Each of these is important to the success of students in the classroom as well as the effectiveness of the district. “Instructional Support Services” makes up 1% of the cost and includes library cost as well as professional development for staff. Again, this is very important to the effectiveness of our district. “Administration and Support” includes the administrators and other staff that work in the offices to support the students/staff and costs the district 11%. “Operations and Maintenance” are self-explanatory and makes up 6%-7%; again, this is a critical area that we must have to continue to be efficient. “Transportation” makes up around 3-4% of the cost and getting students to the classroom is an important part of their education.  “Food Service” which comprises of 3-4% cost to provide nutrition to students is another essential part of our district. “Capital Improvements” includes the cost to improve our facilities and has been less than 1% of the cost. (This will increase this year with the new addition) “Debt Services” is to pay off the Bond that was used to build NCEMS and is 4% of the cost.


    Several candidates think if one were to eliminate “Administration & Support” and “Debt Services” it would solve the problem as these areas take away from dollars in the classroom.  From Nemaha Central’s budget, 85% of our district’s cost would still impact students. 


    I think that a strong argument could be made that this data shows Nemaha Central is efficient. If you have questions about this or any topic related to Nemaha Central Schools, feel free to contact me at dkohlman@usd115.org or call 336-6101. I will cover the topic of how effective the money spent in our district is in a future article.

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    It's Election Time!!

    We have entered election season and with that comes the best of America, as well as some of the worst of American politics. Most of my life I have found politics and government to be very interesting. I believe that the right to vote and to have a voice in who our leaders are at the local, state, and national levels is one of the most important civic duties to maintain our country. However, along with the positive, comes the negative.  Unfortunately, it seems that is what our elections have become, negative.


    As an educator, I can tell you that the way that some of our political leaders act while they are representing us would not pass the rules in school on how to treat others. The name-calling, bullying, and vitriol only get worst during campaign season. I just don’t understand why campaigns must become attacks on one’s opponent and not focus on what the candidate will bring to the office if elected. The strengths, skills, and experiences that a candidate brings to the position he/she is running for is more important to me than how much mud he/she can sling about his/her opponent.


    I am not naïve to the fact that issues have more than one side to them, but I don’t need candidates to tell me about the other person’s side. What I need to hear from the candidates is where do they stand and why do they believe that it is the better option. Candidates need to be honest about their ideas, beliefs, and reasons for their stances on the issues.  Leave it up to me, the voter, to decide where I stand without misleading information.


    Again, I believe that the United States of America is a great country and one of the reasons for that is because our election process allows for people to have a voice in who represents them. I tell people that if you don’t vote, then you can’t complain about what happens after elections. One of the most important curriculum in education is about the importance of voting. In the General Election of 2016 the voter turnout was 72.3% in Nemaha County and 67.1% across Kansas. During the August 2018, Primary Elections Nemaha County had a 33.8% voter turnout which is more impressive than the total Kansas turnout of 27.1%. This was in an election where the Republican candidate was decided by 343 votes. So, if you think your vote doesn't matter, the results would disagree with you. Take the time to vote using your polling place on November 6 or use advance balloting which you can find out more by visiting the Nemaha County Election website.


    There is an important step prior to casting your ballot to become an informed and educated voter. This sounds simple, but as I stated earlier if you just rely on campaign rhetoric and materials, it gets more complicated. Take time to learn what each candidates’ stance on all issues are and do even more to learn about their stances on issues that are important to you. To find unbiased information isn’t easy, but it is worth the effort instead of relying on robo calls, mailers, and campaign ads. Be sure that you ask questions so that you understand the information, data, and statements a candidate use. For a look at who is running and what positions you can go to this website for that information.


    As November 6 approaches the negative of today’s American political system will only get worst with more and more mudslinging. I hope that every eligible voter in USD #115 Nemaha Central district will take the time to become an educated constituent Then, be sure your voice is heard and you are part of the system by casting your ballot. Look for my follow up article on one of my favorite issues education.

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    Click on the link below to get the NCEA scholarship application:

    NCEA Scholarship Application

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  • Feature image-3


    When the lights go out, Artemus, head of the family publishing business, is found dead with a knife in his back.  Everyone is a suspect.  Who did it?  Reginald, heir to the business?  Major, who wrote the company’s best-seller?  Alexis, four-time widow of husbands who died at the dinner table? Destitute nephew Bernie from the mail room?  Or Eileen Morrow, executor/ attorney? Whodunit??

    Murder, mystery and lots of laughs!  The audience gets involved and the cast mixes with the diners during the courses.  Before dessert, audience members fill out a ”Whodunit” sheet!

    There will be 3 shows:


    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9 at 7 pm

    Students FREE ~ Adults $5




    CURTAIN at 6 pm

    $15 for dinner and show; Reservations required: contact asteiner@usd115.org

    until Wednesday, November 7

    Show only:  Students FREE ~  Adults $5

    No advanced seating for show only


    Sunday, November 11: UNDERSTUDY MATINEE AT 2 pm

    Students FREE ~ Adults $5



    CAST:                                        MAIN/UNDERSTUDY

    ARTEMUS WARD                     Austin Gerety/Seth Wilson

    BERNIE JONES                        Dawson Willmeth/Sam McWilliams

    EILEEN MORROW                    Maya Rettele/​​​​​​Aspin Parker

    JEANNIE DELL                                  Phoebe Ulmer 

    ALEXIS WARD-REGENT-         Isabella Sudbeck/Desiree Garner



    REGINALD WARD                     Roland Voracek/Pablo Gerosa

    DR. TONI BULLFINGER             Abby Yunghans/Jessie Deters

    MAJOR Dominic Hammes         Peter Ganstrom

    WALK-ONS/AUDIENCE CAST    Diamond Bentley and Ethan Stewart



    Directors: Ellie Haynie and Angelia Steiner

    Stage Manager:  Michelle Koch

    Student Director:  Megan Deters/Maya Rettele

    House Manager:  Megan Deters                   

    Costume and Props Manager:  Allison Schmelzle          

    Lights/Sound: Jessie Meyer, Garrett Schmelzle and Faith Henry

    Set Design and Construction: TBA

    Makeup and Hair Katia Quintero, Ashley Heideman and Colleen Blume

    Backstage Crew Malissa Deters


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  • Feature image-4

    Veterans Program Scheduled

    NCEMS students and staff will be honoring all who have served our country and recognizing our area veterans in the annual Veterans Day Program to be held Friday, November 9, at 1:00 PM in the NCEMS gymnasium. Following the program all veterans and families are invited to the school cafeteria for refreshments. 

    To submit a veteran's picture for the video, you can bring it by the school office where staff will scan it and give it back to you, or you can send a picture file in an email to Amy Kuckelman: akuckelman@usd115.org with the veteran's name, branch and years of service included.

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    NCHS Employment Positions Available:

    High school English/History - Start January 2, 2019

    Automotive teacher - Start Aug 2019

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    Need to know if school is dismissing early? Can't remember what time the basketball game is? Have no fear! Textcaster is here! By signing up for the "USD115 Alerts," you will receive both text messages and e-mails to alert you of things such as school cancellations, early dismissals, canceled events, emergencies, major athletic events, etc. People can sign up to receive information from one or two groups- elementary/middle school and high school; or you can receive information from both the groups. Before signing up for these alerts, check your cell phone plan for text messaging capabilities and charges. This program is sponsored by Community National Bank of Seneca. Click the following link to sign up for your free alerts:

    Sign-up for Text Caster Now

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