Governing Body: Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, at the Axtell Public School in Axtell. Board members present were Ed Reznicek, Kent Saylor, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Kuckelman and Jeff DeMint. Board member Kathy Lippert was not present.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

The board approved the consent agenda, including minutes from the Sept. 11 meeting, October bills for the estimated amount of $337,692.45; September payroll of $668,540.73; a bid for the Ford Transit 10-passenger van; amended Resolution No. 18-2-10-2 for the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for the City of Wetmore; amended Resolution No. 18-3-10-2 to executive an interlocal agreement; the resignation of Jay Russell as Sabetha Middle School boys’ basketball coach; contracts with Lana Sheldon as SIT at Wetmore and Pete Schuetz as Scholars Bowl advisor at SMS; and a personal day request for Christa Schuette.

Representatives of the Axtell KAY Club presented to the board. Also, the board received written administrative reports from principals Sheri Harmer, Matt Garber, Sara Toedman, Rick Schnacker and Jayson Tynon, and Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz.

Surveillance

Superintendent Todd Evans updated the board regarding surveillance. In speaking with a person who puts in surveillance systems, Evans said, he found that the multitude of variables would make it difficult to come up with three options for each building. Instead, Evans said, he would like to focus on one building first — Sabetha High School — and see what could be done while staying under the $20,000 non-bid maximum. He said the board needs to determine the purpose of the surveillance — outside surveillance or inside surveillance for behaviors. The board advised Evans to move forward with contact local vendors to see what type of system could be put in for under $20,000.

Enrollment

Evans provided an enrollment summary. Headcount enrollment has dropped throughout the district. See a detailed enrollment report on Page 1A of this week’s Herald.

A meeting of the Finance Committee will be held prior to the board’s regular meeting in November, allowing that committee to review enrollment and finances to determine any recommendations to the regular board. Evans said he would like to see the finances — both revenue and expenses — to be evaluated using the actual weighting split of the schools, rather than the set 70 percent Sabetha, 15 percent Axtell, 15 percent Wetmore as has been done in the past. The actual split will be slightly different, and would be more accurate, Evans said. The board agreed to this recommendation.

Saylor presented a document showing per pupil spending in USD No. 113 as compared to other area districts. USD No. 113’s per pupil spending was $11,202, the lowest among area schools.

“I think we run a pretty tight ship,” Saylor said. “Some might say we aren’t spending enough, and some might say it’s still too much, but I just think it is interesting to see.”

SES Crossing Guard

Evans informed the board that a Sabetha volunteer — Pat Rodecap — had been serving as the crossing guard at SES for a number of years, but due to health reasons he is no longer able to do it. The Sabetha Police Department has been filling in when available, as has one community volunteer and school officials. However, Evans said, it is preferred that the position be filled consistently so that the children know who and what to expect. Evans said he would like the board’s permission to hire out the position. The board approved the request to hire someone to serve as crossing guard at SES.

Pearson Music Curriculum

The music department throughout the district has been looking into curriculum for awhile, Gatz said, and is now coming to the board with a purchase recommendation for Pearson Music. Gatz said it is her understanding that non-core curriculum has been replaced on a 10-year cycle, and this is the 12th year with the current curriculum. By purchasing off season, she said, the curriculum is significantly less expensive. The board approved the purchase of Pearson Music curriculum at a price of $27,291.32.

Combined Classrooms

Evans told board members this item was on the agenda as a follow-up from the spring. At a board meeting in late spring, the board had discussed the possibility of combining classrooms. However, board members indicated this was a conversation they would like to have in the fall, rather than in the spring. DeMint said he believes the board needs to look at this possibility, but he thinks it would be more prudent to have the conversation at the November meeting so that the board has heard the financial viability results for each campus. J. Scoby said he agrees it would be best to discuss following the viability information, so that the board knows whether any cost saving measures are needed. The board agreed to table the item until November.

Vandalism Repair

Evans informed the board that he had accepted the itemized insurance adjustment for repairs at Wetmore due to the August vandalism. Repairs yet to be done include painting, carpet replacement, and gymnasium floor repair, among other smaller repairs. Reznicek asked if any of the work could be done “in house.” Because of the extensive amount of work, Evans said, he was not sure if it could be done. Schnacker said that doing it all at once “would be a big load” to complete in house. The board approved making all repairs itemized by insurance, and advised Evans and Schnacker to work out details regarding who will do the work and when.

Wetmore Roof Repair

After numerous instances of roof leak issues at Wetmore, and having the issues fixed by the same company, Evans said he contacted a local vendor — Specialty Roofing — to look at the roofs at WAC. One of the items noted by Specialty Roofing is that the ceiling fans in the new gymnasium area need to be removed, capped and re-roofed to prevent leaks. Another item noted was replacement of the roof in the flat roofing area with TPO. DeMint said he would like to see the ceiling fan areas taken care of prior to fixing the gymnasium floor that was damaged by the vandalism.

“I would hate to fix the floor and then have the roof leak and damage it,” DeMint said.

Evans said he would look into what it would take to fix the ceiling fan areas above the gym.

Legislative Update

Evans said the Kansas Supreme Court has issued a decision in the Gannon v. State of Kansas school finance case, finding the new finance law approved by the legislature in June to not meet adequacy and equitability requirements according to the court. Evans said he believes the court is looking for data or a study that would support that what is being done is adequate and equitable. Reznicek asked if there would be another rewrite of school finance. Evans said it is a possibility.

Also at the meeting

The board agreed that Evans could begin discussions with Building Leadership Teams about traditional versus block scheduling, to see if a change back to block is something the buildings would be interesting in considering. Block scheduling could only potentially work at the Sabetha schools, Evans said.

Building tours have been set for the board as follows: Wetmore Academic Center, Jan. 8; Sabetha High School, Feb. 12; Sabetha Middle School, March 12; Axtell Public School, April 9; and Sabetha Elementary School, May 15.

A district auction has been set for 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Sabetha Bus Barn. The board reviewed the flyer.

The board entered into executive session to discuss confidential student information. No binding action was taken following the executive session.

The board’s next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Wetmore Academic Center.

Amber Deters125 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.

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