Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education 9.11.17
The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present included Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Kent Saylor, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Kuckelman and Jeff DeMint.
The board adopted the agenda as amended.
The board approved the consent agenda, including the Aug. 14 and Aug. 28 minutes, September bills for $332,818.02, August payroll of $396,552.09, bid process to purchase 2017 or 2018 Ford Transit 10-passenger van, site council meeting minutes, the district auction list, textbook waiver requests and authorization for Superintendent Evans to approve future Fiscal Year 2018 requests, FMLA leave for Alisha Lindeen, and a number of contracts. Contracts included the following: Jacque Stallbaumer, Sabetha High School junior class sponsor; James McGuire, bus driver; Anissa Bloom, Wetmore concessions; Shawna Bitts, SHS science teacher – second semester and SHS semester one before and after school program.
The board received written administrative reports from principals Sheri Harmer, Matt Garber, Sara Toedman, Rick Schnacker and Jayson Tynon.
L. Scoby asked for numbers of students participating in activities.
At Wetmore, participation numbers are as follows: high school football, 13; high school volleyball, 14; high school cross country, five; middle school volleyball, 13; and middle school football, seven.
At Axtell, participation numbers are as follows: high school football, 19; high school volleyball, 16; high school cross country, six; middle school football, seven; and middle school volleyball, 14.
At Sabetha, participation numbers are as follows: high school football, 55; high school volleyball, 41; high school cross country, 14; high school tennis, 19; high school cheerleading, 14; middle school volleyball, 31; and middle school football, 46.
Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz reported to the board on results the district recently received from state science assessments taken last spring. Since new standards were adopted by the state in 2013, these are the first assessment results that have been released. While a “field test” of assessments was done in the spring of 2016, no results were provided.
The results show that the district as a whole is above state average at every grade level tested — fifth, eighth and 11th.
However, as split schools, this was not the case. All three schools were above state average at the fifth grade level, two of three were above state average at the eighth grade level, and one of three was above the state average at the 11th grade level.
Since Axtell scored higher than the others in grades fifth and eighth and Sabetha scored higher in 11th, Lippert said, it appears that the schools could potentially learn from each other.
“What are we doing at these different levels that is working in the schools that are scoring higher?” she asked.”
Gatz noted that the district does build time into the calendar for content and curriculum team meetings, but this process does take time.
Since adoption of the new standards, Gatz said, the district has been working to align curriculum and textbooks to come into line with the standards.
Saylor said it is important to find multiple solutions to address the new standards.
J. Scoby said he wants to ensure the district does not “neglect the basics.” Gatz said, and Superintendent Todd Evans agreed, that the new standards move in a positive direction — incorporating basics with problem solving and real life examples.
Superintendent Evans reported to the board that one arrest has been made in connection with the Wetmore Academic Center vandalism.
The person arrested was at one point in time a student in USD No. 113.
Evans gave estimates on the total damages, including clean-up and repairs that has completed and clean-up and repairs yet to be done that have been estimated by the adjuster — totaling approximately $53,000. This does not yet include repairing the damage to the varsity gymnasium floor, which could be an additional $12,000. So, the approximately total of vandalism damages is $65,000.
“That’s more than a prank,” Saylor said.
What cannot be recouped, Evans said, is the loss of a school day. Lippert said that she believes the board previously estimated each school day eliminated saves the district $10,000, so it could be assumed that the cost of that lost day is $10,000.
Superintendent Evans also reported to the board the district ACT scores. The district’s average composite ACT score for the 2016-17 school year was 22.1, above the state average of 21.7.
The district’s average is above the state average in all four categories — English, mathematics, reading and science. These scores reflect the scores from the final test taken by 2017 graduating seniors.
SHS Plant Soil and Science Lab
Principal Harmer updated the board on the SHS Plant Soil and Science Lab.
Progress is being made, with a number of finishing touches coming up — including plumbing of watering tables.
Saylor asked if any target projects are ready. Harmer said the main project was getting the building up and running, and once that is completed teacher Chris Bauerle can look forward at specific projects.
Supplemental General Resolution
The board considered an resolution to increase Supplemental General funding to 33 percent.
This resolution would allow the board to, in future budget cycles, increase the Supplemental General funding from 30 percent of the General Fund up to 33 percent. Generally, Evans said, it would give the board more flexibility with where budget funds are most needed and most efficiently raised.
Because of the additional state aid for Supplemental General, he said, if the board chose to raise the Supplemental General in the future it could potentially reduce taxes by reducing the capital outlay mill levy while still generating the same amount of money.
The difference, Evans said, is that the district gets 6 percent state aid from capital outlay money, and 20 percent state aid from Supplemental General.
J. Scoby said he understands the idea, but he has seen government entities in the past “have the flexibility and use it to pull the full amount, so I hesitate to go there.” Additionally, J. Scoby said, that state aid does come from somewhere.
“It comes from our pockets somewhere,” J. Scoby said. “It comes from us. It comes from the public.”
DeMint said that “if our taxes are going up or not, they are going up or not. If we are not maximizing our full ability now, why would we do it in the future?”
“I guess a lot of it comes down to the trust we put in you [Evans] to keep our budget in reason, and hopefully the board will keep very mindful of trying to minimize the amount of affect that it would have on the taxpaying public,” J. Scoby said.
The board adopted the resolution, 7-0.
Superintendent Evans presented the board with information he had gathered from other area schools, law enforcement and the insurance company regarding surveillance. Following discussion, the board requested that Evans move forward with gathering cost information for varying degrees of security.
For detailed discussion, see story on Page 1A of this week’s Herald.
Also at the meeting:
The board approved the updates made to the 2016-18 Strategic Plan as presented.
The board discussed building tours. Beginning after the first of the year, board members will start touring buildings prior to meetings held at those locations. Tours of the three Sabetha schools will be scheduled prior to Sabetha-based meetings, as well.
Per the district website discussion from the August meeting, Superintendent Evans said administrators had held conversations about keeping the website better updated.
Evans said he does not believe additional personnel is needed at this time, but that staff will be making a more directed effort to keep the website updated.
The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, at Axtell Public School.
Amber Deters116 Posts
Amber Deters is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2005. She specializes in school board, election and legislative reporting, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Amber is a 2005 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in journalism and mass communications, print journalism sequence. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and three children.