A Message From Dr. Bell  

September 14, 2015
The ESU 10 August All Staff Meeting has once again been completed so the year has officially started here at ESU 10. We don’t have the celebrations that school districts get to enjoy so I cherish the moments when I actually get to see the entire ESU 10 staff in one spot. Once again I was reminded about how intelligent and dedicated this group of professionals is that have been hired to serve you and your needs. I’m also impressed at how well they interact and problem solve. My advice is to work them hard as they “partner with our customers to meet changing needs through professional expertise, training, and support.”

Speaking of the profound motto that I try to share with you monthly, that dreaded “change” monster has sneaked into ESU 10 culture once again. An alternate motto has been proposed to replace our fifteen year old standard of excellence. It was deemed that change was important to reflect the change in the mores, values, and purpose of this organization. The ESU 10 Board of Directors will consider this change at their regular meeting in September. I’ll roll it out for my next Connector article if it’s approved.

Well, the new word that will dominate our vocabularies this year is AQuESTT. Staff at ESU 10 is trying to figure it out and learn how to help as this impacts your school districts. I have a feeling this will be a very entertaining proposition as we work toward increased accountability at all levels. The Nebraska Department of Education, educational service units, and school districts will all be stressed and stretched by this effort. As long as we keep collaborating we should achieve great results.

Now it’s time to complete the budgeting process for next year. The entire ESU 10 budget of expenditures will decrease slightly this year and still meet all of the program needs requested by school districts. Loss of Core Service dollars will result in an increase in the property tax dollar request. The property tax levy though will decrease due to the high percentage increase in property valuations. In other words, it’s another exciting budget year. Property valuations for ESU 10 will exceed $20 billion for the first time in this fiscal year. The addition of the property in Boone and Nance Counties brought about by the creation of Riverside Public Schools was a contributing factor, although the average valuation in the combined 24 counties that contribute to ESU 10 funding increased by almost 20% again this year.  

Just call it a hunch, but I think I know one topic to be discussed in depth by the Nebraska Legislature this year. 

Finally, here’s a thought to contemplate as this year rockets forward. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” With that thought in mind I hope your year is going to be as wonderful as mine!