Heating, teacher shortage, and attendance were the top discussions at the Cheyenne Eagle Butte Combined school board meeting on Monday night.
Two major issues have stemmed with the aging boiler systems at the main campus at Cheyenne Eagle Butte. The first having to do with the extreme temperature differences in the high school ranging from 40 degree classrooms up to 92 degrees in some parts of the building.
The second issue is at the school cafeteria on the north side of the campus where the boiler that controls the heating and some cooking equipment went down. Two temporary propane fed nipco style heaters are being utilized to warm the dining room and kitchen areas. The heaters are located at the outside of the building and warm air is forced through temporary ducts in the back door and a side window of the dining room.
Over the weekend, the kitchen heater stopped working, cooling down the kitchen to 40 degrees.
According to officials, repairing the cafeteria boiler is still, at the minimum, a month out.
C-EB High School Principal Dora Gwen gave her report to the school board and stated that the temperature situation at the school has provided unfriendly learning environment and has affected student morale.
“It’s 92 degrees in my office, I have students coming in to see me just to warm up,” said Gwen.
Gwen said that it’s not fun when its really hot during one class then the next class it is freezing.
Board member Kyle Ward stated that the problem with the high school boiler is that the whole system is old and outdated. “We can’t get parts anymore.”
Replacing the system would be a multi-million dollar venture, which leaves the officials stuck. However, school officials are waiting to see if C-EB will be selected this year to receive a new school.
The facility was built in the late 1950’s after Cheyenne Agency moved here in 1959.
Along with the heating issue, a shortage of math and science teachers in the high school has caused overcrowding in the classrooms, with 30 or more students in each class. It was reported that more than 50 students were failing math.
Attendance at all grade levels is a problem. When asked what seems to be the cause of absence, C-EB Upper Elementary Principal Cora Peterson stated that the problems arise from bullying or students not having a ride.
Peterson stated that after visiting with some parents who have to leave early to work, some students didn’t make an attempt to go to school or didn’t want to walk in the cold from different housing areas such as Habitat.
Peterson did say that if a student needs a ride, the school does provide rides and that they could catch a ride in the van.
20-1 board member Kyle Ward suggested utilizing the transit bus system to somehow provide students with a ride to school by using a punch system which the drivers could record the number of rides given to students and then the transit could bill the school. Many of the other board members agreed that this could work.
Charles Shupick asked as far as safety goes, are the transit bus drivers required to pass a background check before being allowed to drive students.
The board approved the recommendation that Melissa Neigel coach the girls basketball cheerleaders for the remainder of the season following Sharana Iron Wing’s resignation as the girls cheer coach. Neigel currently serves as the boys cheer coach. An adjustment to Neigel’s contract and compensation will be made.
Dr. Vicky Birkeland, Principal at the E.A.G.L.E. Center reported that good things are happening and continue to happen.
On Thursday morning, the E.A.G.L.E Center will be hosting a Winter Wopila
Primary Principal Terri McLellan reported that they had revamped the after school program and added 78 students and opened it up to all students.
McLellan said they got back the AIMSWEB Reading and Math data and that they have work to do. There will be a data retreat on January 21.
McLellan reported that on January 21 there will be an awards breakfast at the school cafeteria at 8:00 a.m. On January 25, there will be a parent’s planning meeting.