Prairie Hills USD No. 113 12.11.17

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present were Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Kent Saylor, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Kuckelman and Jeff DeMint.

Kuckelman was recognized for his years of service as a member of the Board of Education.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

The board approved the consent agenda, including the Nov. 13 minutes; payment of December bills of $278,106.32; payment of November payroll of $704,705.81; donation of $500 from Sabetha Kids Wrestling Club to the Sabetha High School wrestling team; donation of $6,694.54 for gymnasium bleacher rails at Sabetha Middle School; and a number of resignations and contracts.

Resignations included the following: George Bernasek, Axtell bus driver; Melissa Dornes, Sabetha food service; and Chelsea Stroda, Axtell science teacher. Contracts included the following: Lisa Snyder, Sabetha food service; Jacob Frey, SMS boys’ basketball; and Pat Rodecap, Sabetha Elementary School crossing guard.

Also within the consent agenda, the board was provided with Policy JGGA for surveillance, Policy EBC for security and safety for first reads. The board also was provided with the crisis management and response policy for second read and approval.

Sabetha High School Student Council representative Anna Cochenaur presented an update on upcoming activities at SHS.

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. Harmer congratulated the SHS football team on winning the 3A State Championship.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Todd Evans presented the year-to-date expenditures. To date, the district has spent approximately $245,000 more than the same timeframe last year. This is similar to what he had estimated, Evans said. In capital outlay, the district has spent about $115,000 less than last year. In special education, the spending is close to the same.

Superintendent Evans presented input from the Wetmore Academic Center Staff regarding increasing revenue and decreasing expenditures. Ideas for increasing revenue varied from housing development and vocational classes to fundraising and promoting the school via social media. Ideas for decreasing expenditures varied from combining classes and cutting positions, salaries and benefits to eliminating OTL music and eliminating weekend activities.

Superintendent Evans presented to the board regarding the HRSA Grant, which the district is pursuing. The purpose of the grant is to hire a social worker to work with elementary school students in USD No. 115 and USD No. 113.

Superintendent Evans presented the actual mill levies as calculated for this year and previous years. The former USD No. 441 had a mill levy of 47.161 for the 2016-17 school year, and a mill levy of 48.058 for the 2017-18 school year — an increase of 0.897 mill. The former USD No. 488 had a mill levy of 48.522 for the 2016-17 school year, and a mill levy of 48.607 for the 2017-18 school year — an increase of 0.085 mill.

Superintendent Evans asked board members to consider a few qualities that they are looking for in the SHS principal.

Superintendent Evans talked with the board about the district’s crisis procedures. He said the crisis team was very valuable, despite the fact that many members were very heavily impacted by the loss.

“It was nice to know that someone knew what to do,” L. Scoby said. “I was really proud that we have the people that we have — the staff that we have, the teachers. I didn’t hear anything other than good things for how we responded. I want to thank them.”

Superintendent Evans noted that lights will be being put in along the drive west of SES to the bus barn, in connection with the housing development going in west of the Sabetha School campus.

Superintendent Evans reported on an upcoming Department of Labor Inspection. The department will be looking for code violations, particularly ground fault circuit issues. Evans said it was recommended that he line up an electrician, because it is likely some electrical work to do following the inspection.

SHS Press Box

A proposal for a new, three-story press box with an estimated cost of $150,000 was presented by John Pierson and Scott Burger, members of the SHS Booster Club. The financial proposal from the Booster Club was that the Club would provide funding of $35,000, seek out fundraising in the amount of $40,000, and the district would provide the remaining $75,000.

After discussion, Saylor made a motion that the board would support half of the project cost up to but not exceeding $60,000. The motion was seconded by L. Scoby. It was approved 5-2, with DeMint, L. Scoby, Saylor, Lippert and Reznicek in favor; and Kuckelman and J. Scoby opposed.

Next, the board discussed whether advertising would be allowed. The board voted 7-0 to allow advertising on the press box. The proposal of advertisers, look of advertising and size would be subject to final approval by the board.

See full story, including discussion, beginning on Page 1A of this week’s Herald.

Parents As Teachers

Parents As Teachers (PAT) representatives Brandy Edelman and Traci Hinton presented to the board regarding the PAT Program in the district. PAT is back to a universal program, with no qualification to participate, Edelman said.

PAT is requesting to add a 1/2 unit to the district to accommodate the growing number of families wishing to participate in the program.

The district currently pays for four units, with eight families able to be served per full unit. There are 26 families currently being served, and one of those families counts as two. A twenty-eighth family’s application is currently pending, Edelman said.

There are six families on the waiting list. An added 1/2 unit would allow PAT to serve an additional four families. A 1/2 unit for the half year running from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2018, will cost $875.

DeMint asked why it would be okay for two families to still be on the waiting list. Edelman said she did not want to ask for an additional full unit when she was only prepared to immediately fully fill a 1/2 unit.

Edelman and Hinton said it was likely the two remaining families would be able to be transitioned into the program in a timely manner, but that would not have been the case with six waiting families.

“I just don’t want to tell six families that I won’t be able to get them in for a year,” Edelman said.

The added 1/2 unit was approved 6-1, with J. Scoby abstaining.

Wireless Infrastructure Request

USD No. 113 Information Technology Director Darren Reith spoke to the board about using funds available through E-Rate to make wireless system updates throughout the district.

E-Rate funding would allow the district a 70 percent reimbursement on up to a $150,000 project. He said the district needs a wireless system upgrade. Total project cost for the upgrades would be approximately $100,000, of which the district the board would be responsible for $30,000.

Reith requested that the board approve the request for proposals on this project. The board approved the request.

Multi-Age Elementary Classes

Evans asked if the board wanted to continue conversation regarding potential multi-age classrooms at Wetmore Elementary School. Due to the item being listed an information only, DeMint said, he would like the board to consider at a future meeting having discussion about combining a classroom and reducing a teaching position at Wetmore. The item will be revisited at the January meeting.

SHS Track Maintenance

Two proposals were submitted regarding the track maintenance at SHS. Both companies — United and Pro Track and Tennis — agreed that the track will need to be completely replaced in 10 years or less, Evans said.

The board approved the proposal by Pro Track and Tennis, Inc., in the amount of $52,340.

Roof Project at Wetmore

Evans said he had asked AHRS to look at the roofs at Wetmore, and the recommendation he was given is that the roofs on all three older buildings need replaced. AHRS provided specifications for replacing those three roofs at WAC, and estimated the roofing projects combined would come in below $100,000.

Kuckelman motioned to allow bid letting on the project, and J. Scoby seconded.

Lippert asked whether the board should consider Wetmore’s viability concerns when making a decision like this.

“There’s a real question on the table, ‘Can we provide the appropriate academic standards with the cuts that are made?’” Lippert said.

DeMint said he does not see how bid letting forces the district to spend the money. The discussion of whether or not to approve the bid could be had in January, after the board knows what the bids are, DeMint said.

Lippert said the board should then be prepared to have that discussion before approving the bids in January.

The board approved, 7-0, bid letting for the roofs at Wetmore, with a bid deadline of Jan. 5, 2018.

Legislative Update

Lippert reported that the legislature is not in session, but some interim committees are at work.

Evans said there has been considerable statewide attention given to Senator Dennis Pyle’s suggestion of a constitutional amendment pertaining to school closure. Lippert said a constitutional amendment would be nearly impossible to get approved.

Education Foundation Update

DeMint updated the board on the progress of the Appleseed Innovative Grants. Recipients should be providing feedback in the next few months, he said.

Executive Sessions

The board entered into executive session for the purpose of discussing legal matters. Following executive session, no binding action was taken.

The board entered into executive session to discuss the superintendent evaluation. Following executive session, no binding action was taken.

The board entered into executive session to discuss administrative contracts.

Following executive session, the board voted to extend contracts for administrative personnel. Contracts extended for two years were those of Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz, Sabetha Middle School Principal Matt Garber, Sabetha Elementary School Principal Sara Toedman, Wetmore Academic Center Principal Rick Schnacker, and Axtell Public Schools Principal Jayson Tynon. Superintendent Evans’ contract was extended for three years.

The board entered into executive session to discuss job performance of non-elected personnel. Following executive session, no binding action was taken.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 8, at Wetmore Academic Center.

Amber Deters123 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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