Governing Body: Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education 9.10.18

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, 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 Aug. 13 regular meeting minutes; Aug. 22 special meeting minutes; September bills of $511,845.31; August payroll of $162,003.51; August non-lump sum payroll of $284,794.80; site councils; resignations, contracts and personal day requests. Resignations included the following: Briana Uphaus as Axtell forensics sponsor; Melvin Baker as Axtell Junior High football coach; and Tony Howser as AJH track coach. Contract was for David Remmers as part-time Sabetha Middle School athletic director. Personal day requests approved were for Cindy Wiltz and Elysia McGill.

Sabetha High School Student Council representative Anna Cochenour presented an update to the board.

DeMint provided an update on the USD 113 Foundation. He said the deadline for the Appleseed Innovative Grants is coming up soon. Winners will be announced by Nov. 1.

The board received written reports from building administrators David Glynn, Matt Garber, Sara Toedman, Rick Schnacker and Jayson Tynon.

Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz and Technology Integration Specialist Lisa Suhr offered a presentation using the Nearpod — an interactive classroom tool for teachers to engage students with interactive lessons — on iPads. Suhr shared with board members about Nearpod and how it could be used by teachers to engage students.

Gatz shared information about the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) process. The two goals chosen by the district were Relevance and Rigor. The goal of relevance is to align curriculum and implement instructional strategies to develop authentic learning experiences for students. Rigor to monitor fidelity to local curriculum and assessments providing support for continuous improvement. Both goals have an action plan attached to them.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Todd Evans shared a study of assessed valuation in the district. Agricultural Use Land and Improvement accounts for 41 percent of assessed valuation, while State Assessed, which includes property such as power plants, accounts for 23 percent.

Evans shared that the board must publish a Public Notice of Vote for the 2018-19 Property Tax Rates, because the budget had grown 3.2 percent.

Evans told board members that the district has lost one student since enrollment. He also told the board that the district has been approved for four additional 4-Year-Old At-Risk slots.

Evans informed board members that John Calvert, who provided the training and assistance with the district’s crisis plan, will be ending employment with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and beginning employment as security specialist with the Kansas State Department of Education. Evans said that it sounds like the state would like to develop a base crisis plan for all districts.

Evans updated the board on recently completed or ongoing projects. The new fence, on the north and east side of the football field has been completed. Regarding the SHS track, the project was approved at the end of 2017 and work was supposed to be completed in May. However, the company has continued to put off the project and was unable to complete it over the summer. The work is being done this week, which is not ideal due to Homecoming, Evans said. He told board members that he asked for a price reduction, and the company has instead offered an added coat that they say is worth $4,500. However, he said, the company has yet to take ownership of the delays, which is “very disappointing.”

Evans asked if the board would like to invite the candidates for House District No. 62 to the Oct. 8 board meeting to speak. DeMint said he believes a board meeting is an appropriate place for that discussion. Evans will invite the two candidates.

Evans provided a short update on the KEIT Trust issue with Blue Cross Blue Shield. At the board’s May 2017 meeting, the board had approved legal fees to pursue a redefined agreement for KEIT Trust. Most of the other districts in the trust also had approved the legal fees. At this point, Evans said, it appears that Blue Cross Blue Shield is very open to improving the trust agreement and allowing KEIT members to have more say in the process.

Axtell Building Project

Emily Koenig of ekoe Architecture came before the board to discuss the building project at Axtell. The project’s purpose, Koenig said, is to exchange a few rooms to move the office to the forefront of the school to offer additional security. The office space will become the testing area, and the testing area will become the office space, essentially, but will also make the entry more inviting.

The project should be ready for bid in November, Koenig said, and the goal is for the project to be done by the end of January. However, she said, the end date will be dependent partly upon available of construction crews when that time comes.

Textbook Waiver Requests

The board considered a list of requests for textbook waivers. Past practice has been to approve any requests for those who qualify for free lunch.

The board had a short discussion about whether to approve requests for those who qualify for reduced lunch, as well.

Shaughnessy asked where the money comes from for these waivers. Evans said the money shows as a loss for each building, and reduces the amount of money available for instruction.

Board members agreed that they would like to continue offering waivers to those who qualify for free lunch, per past practice.

The board approved textbook waiver requests, per past practices, and authorized Evans to approve future requests for the 2018-19 school year.

Strategic Plan

Evans presented the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. A few updates were made within the plan, such as including the district’s goals in terms of relevance and rigor.

The board discussed the plan and asked questions. A few small amendments were made.

The board approved the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan as amended.

Wetmore Project

The mortar on the brick wall by the stage appears to be decaying. The wall was cleaned prior to the school year and is already covered with falling mortar, so it is apparent that a structural issue is present. Two bids were presented — for $6,870, and the other a range of $3,300 to $5,200.

The board agreed that they would like to see it fixed, but they want more information to discern the degree of damage before deciding on a course of action. Evans said he will bring more information to the next meeting.

Also at the meeting:

The board accepted a gift of $3,725 from the Axtell Booster Club for office supplies.

The board entered executive session for attorney-client privilege, with the board members, Evans and Attorney Martin Mishler. Following the session, no binding action was taken.

The board entered executive session to discuss confidential student information, with the board members and Evans and Glynn. Following the session, no binding action was taken.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at Axtell Public School.

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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