Governing Body: Prairie Hills USD No. 113 8.13.18

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present were Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Kent Saylor, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Ann Shaughnessy and Jeff DeMint.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

The board approved the consent agenda, including the following: minutes from the July 9 regular meeting; minutes from the Aug. 3 special meeting; August bill payments of $368,702.24; July payroll of $130,647.78; July non-lump sum payroll of $292,584.32; two resignations; five contracts; and personal day requests from Connie Hutfles and Beverly Niehues.

Resignations included the following: Joni Tangeman, part-time secretary at Sabetha Middle School; and Kaitlyn Schuetz, volleyball coach at Wetmore High School. Contracts included the following: Richard Holthaus, Axtell bus driver; Brian Cole, assistant volleyball coach at Sabetha High School; Julie Wilson, instructional support staff at Axtell; Keyanna Kocher, cross country coach at Axtell; Connie Hutfles, assistant volleyball coach at Wetmore; and Dave Remmers, part-time activities director at SMS. Consent agenda also included a correction to the June 11 minutes, to accept the bid from US Foods for $209,505.54, rather than the previously reported figure of $209,228.84.

DeMint reported on behalf of the USD 113 Foundation, that $44,800 in scholarships had been sent out for the first half of the year. He also reported that the Foundation had joined with the Greater Sabetha Community Foundation, which would provide assistance with mailings and other communications. Also, DeMint reported, the Appleseed Innovative Grant applications will be accepted until the beginning of October. There is more than $12,000 to be given out in Appleseed Grants.

The board received written administrative reports from principals David Glynn, Matt Garber, Sara Toedman, Rick Schnacker and Jayson Tynon; and Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Todd Evans shared photos of capital outlay improvement projects in each of the five buildings. Each principal shared information pertaining to each of the improvements as shown.

Work on the SHS track, which should have been completed this summer, has not been finished yet. However, Evans said, the company expects to begin work on it next week.

Final work is being completed on the SHS Press Box, Evans said. He showed board members a photo with mock-ups of the advertising signs that will be displayed, which board members said looked good.

Two additional capital improvement projects are planned through private donor funds, Evans shared. The first will be the replacement of concrete on the west side of SHS between the school and the stadium bleachers. The project is estimated to cost about $40,000 and will be paid for with donor funds. The project will be completed soon. The second is the replacement of the sound and lighting systems in the SMS auditorium. Total cost of this project also is estimated at $40,000, which will be covered by a private donor. The project could be completed this fall.

Evans told board members that the district has been awarded two grants. The first is a $10,000 grant that will help the district serve Axtell and Wetmore preschool students who do not qualify for the at-risk preschool program, so that those students still can attend preschool at the school. The Axtell and Wetmore communities do not have private preschools available to students. The second is a $17,500 Safe and Secure Schools State Aid grant, that could be applied toward the cost of the Axtell office relocation project if the district chooses to go forward with it.

Next, per a question from Shaughnessy at a previous meeting, Evans shared Food Service reimbursement rates. Generally, he said, the district is reimbursed more than the meals cost.

Next, Evans informed board members that the Kansas State Department of Education has reached an agreement with ACT that will afford all juniors or seniors who have not had the opportunity to complete the ACT or WorkKeys tests the opportunity to take the tests at no charge. Dates for these tests will be in February. On that subject, Gatz said, the district has been looking into offering ACT tests preparation for students. They will be testing one program this fall.

Finally, Evans shared enrollment figures. With enrollment mostly done, district headcount enrollment is 1,128 students — 11 students more than the 1,117 that was projected last spring.

Crisis Plan

Superintendent Evans presented the board with the final updated Crisis Plan, which the board approved. Read more about the plan in a separate story beginning on the front page of this week’s Herald.

Axtell Remodel

Board members have been for a few months discussing the possibility of a construction and remodel project at Axtell, which would address the safety concerns associated with the location of the front office.

The board reviewed architect fee proposals from David Heit with Tevis Architects and Emily Koenig with ekoe Architecture. The stated fees from ekoe were $23,400, while Tevis’ fees were $8,925. However, while ekoe’s fees included a Code Footprint and Construction Administration, Tevis’ fees did not. The Code Footprint was listed as an additional $4,000, and any Construction Administration fees would be charged at an hourly rate.

The board contacted Heit to confirm that construction administration services would be an additional hourly rate, which Heit did confirm. He said the number of hours that would be spent ultimately would be determined by the district and the comfort level with the contractor.

Axtell Principal Jayson Tynon said he is concerned about any open-ended fees, as he believes this could result in a higher-than-anticipated cost. He had stated at the board’s July meeting that he leaned toward Koenig.

Board member J. Scoby said that Tevis’ proposal plus the Code Footprint is still approximately $10,000 less than the ekoe proposal. With this difference, Tevis could spend about 60 hours on Constructional Administration before equaling the ekoe fees, he said, and that many hours would be unlikely.

Board member Shaughnessy said that, as she has stated at previous meetings, she still leans toward Koenig. She said that Koenig’s presentation was more appealing, and she seemed more invested in the project.

Reznicek said he thinks the final difference would probably be about $6,000 or less, and he said he likes the idea of going with the private architect, especially if that is the person who was preferred by those who met with both architects. He also prefers how the fee details were spelled out in ekoe’s proposal.

Superintendent Evans said he thinks the ultimate price difference is not a great percentage of the overall project, and he thinks the board could instead make a decision based on gut instinct preference. He, Tynon and Shaughnessy met with both architects, and all three said that both were good but they preferred Koenig’s plans and communication style.

L. Scoby said that, while she would tend to lean toward the lower bid, she would be willing to go with the preference of Shaughnessy, Tynon and Evans since they met with both architects.

The board approved 4-3 hiring ekoe Architecture to prepare a proposal for the Axtell project. Board members voting yes were Reznicek, L. Scoby, Shaughnessy and DeMint. Voting no were board members Lippert, Saylor and J. Scoby.

Though an architect has been approved, the board has not yet approved the project. The next step will be for the architect to prepare plans and a cost estimate. At that point, the board will make a decision of whether to move forward with the project.

Donations

The board approved two financial gifts from Kent and Donna Saylor — one of $11,500 for work at SHS painting downstairs and refurbishing the art room, and the second of $5,100 for half the cost of a section of new fencing around the SHS stadium.

The board approved a financial gift from the Stan Keim family of $1,610.13 for the baseball program. At the end of the school year, the program was negative in funds, due to the need for a third coach, as well as the team making it to state baseball.

Evans noted that the 2018-19 school year is the third year of the agreed-upon three years of funding for the baseball program by the Keim family and the softball program by the Saylor family. He said the board will need to discuss this fall what will be done with the programs.

Also at the meeting:

The board approved the bus rate for non-district trips: $1.82 per mile with a district paid driver, or $1.55 per mile with a district volunteer driver.

The board approved the request from Sabetha FFA to attend the National Convention. The cost to the district is for substitute teachers.

The board entered into executive session to discuss employee compensation. Following executive session, the board approved the negotiations package between the Prairie Hills Education Association and USD No. 113 for the 2018-19 school year. The package gives teachers approximately a 2 percent raise, Evans said.

The board entered into executive session to discuss administrative compensation. Following executive session, the board approved administrative compensation for the 2018-19 school year. The administrators received approximately a 1 percent raise, Evans said.

The board will meet again at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, for the 2018-19 Budget Hearing, as well as Kansas Open Meetings Act training for board members.

The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at the district office in Sabetha.

Amber Deters124 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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