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Council approves Keno funds for band uniforms
January 30, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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During their Monday meeting, members of the Gering City Council approved up to $30,000 in Keno funding for new band uniforms for the Gering schools – but not without some discussion.

Randy Raines, director of bands in the Gering schools, requested from $45,000 – $50,000 from to purchase 125 new uniforms. After the Keno Committee met, they voted to approve up to $30,000 after the schools have exhausted their own resources.

Council member Larry Gibbs asked how much effort has been applied by the band and families to raise some of the funding.

“The parents have told us they have raised $10,000 and hope to get to $15,000,” said Darrell Bentley, chair of the Keno Committee. “The real sad thing about these uniforms is that they’re about 19 years old. That’s older than the kids wearing them.”

Bentley added that when the band performs, they represent all of Gering. The band also lost some points for appearance in last year’s Band Day because of the uniforms.

“Part of the agreement is the band will have to relinquish all the money they raise before they can use ours,” Bentley told the council. “They may not use the entire $30,000. But even if they do and the uniforms last 10 years, that’s only $3,000 a year toward the band program.”

The Gering band program currently has from 70 – 80 members, but they’ll need 125 uniforms for future needs as the band grows in both membership and size of the members.

Council member Don Christensen asked why uniforms weren’t a school budget item. Bentley said he asked that of the school board and was told the building fund was a completely separate banking account.

“It sounds like the band really needs a lot of help from what Randy Raines reported to us at our meeting,” Bentley said. “Our reasoning is that Keno funds are for community betterment, and in a way, the band does that by representing our community in other places. And I think there are probably more kids getting scholarships for band than for sports.”

According to Raines’ report to the Keno Committee, Gering band students have been awarded more than $400,000 in scholarship money to continue their music education in college.

“The committee agreed we needed to do something but we did feel the band needed to take the first step,” Bentley said.

Council members also approved $9,000 for the Gering Merchants to purchase new Christmas lights in the city’s downtown area. Another $3,000 was approved to bring Roger Brooks, national known community betterment speaker, to the area in May to speak during National Tourism Week.

In other action, the council approved a new management and catering contract with Rick and Judy Keller for the Gering Civic Center. Street Superintendent Casey Dahlgrin also reported that this summer, the city would extend Rundell Road from D St., near the city stores, south to the Expressway. And interim Environmental Services Superintendent Darrell Vance said the city has received a $100,000 grant from the state to construct a new building at the landfill to handle the growing volume of recyclables.
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