WAHOO – Although it was a sensitive topic, Wahoo Board of Education President Rob Brigham felt it was necessary.

During their meeting Monday night, Brigham asked the administration whether faculty and staff at Wahoo Public Schools are receiving the resources necessary to deal with deaths and illnesses of fellow staff members, students or their families.

Brigham lost his wife, Kim, in 2018 after an illness. Kim Brigham was a teacher at Wahoo Public Schools and the family has children who were in school at the time of her death.

Brigham said death and illness directly and indirectly affects the staff, as they have to “be the strong person for kids each day.”

Lisa Russ, a sixth grade teacher at Wahoo Public Schools, was at the meeting to represent the Wahoo Education Association (WEA) during another part of the meeting. She told the board that support is there.

“We are really blessed to be in a school district and a community that offers so much support to be able to go through these things,” she said. “I think we do a pretty good job helping each other out.”

Superintendent Brandon Lavaley said Educational Service Unit (ESU) 2 has been proactive as far as developing data bases or resources when it comes to counseling.

During committee reports, Lavaley reported that the Citizen Advisory Committee met for the second time. The first meeting included a large amount of information on financials, budgeting, funding of building projects, enrollment data, availability of classroom space and other information in three hours. The committee members responded with several questions.

“There were a lot of thought-provoking leading questions,” Lavaley said.

The second meeting included information on curriculum and the counseling programs offered by the district. The committee also discussed the relationship between the Wahoo Public and Bishop Neumann school districts.

“The first two meetings have been very good,” Lavaley said.

Board Vice President Al Grandgenett said they also explained how bond issues work during the meetings. He reminded the board that they are still in the “early stages” of the process.

The committee went on tours of the facilities this week and will meet for a fourth meeting on Dec. 5 to set up the direction for how the committee will interact after the first of the year, Lavaley reported.

Earlier in the meeting, Russ and fellow WEA member Judy Stukenholtz presented the board members and school administrators with gift certificates to local coffee shops to thank them for their support of education. It is part of the WEA’s efforts to recognize American Education Week, which runs through this week.

Stukenholtz said the WEA has activities planned each day of the week to show appreciation for the work that is being done in the schools. They will also be distributing gifts to support staff, teachers and substitute teachers throughout the week.

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