Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present included Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Kent Saylor, Leslie Scoby, Ann Shaughnessy and Jeff DeMint. Board member Jim Scoby arrived later, at 6:17 p.m.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

The board approved the consent agenda, including the following: minutes from the April 8 meeting; payment of May bills of $288,450.58; April payroll of $684,642.12; the Axtell Athletic Trainer contract for 2019-20; a gift of $2,500 from B&D Buildings for Axtell weight room equipment; a gift of $2,500 from Ag Partners Cooperative for the Axtell Greenhouse project; a gift of $2,500 from Land O Lakes for the Axtell Greenhouse project; sale of iPads; purchase of iPad cases; Fiscal Year 2020 fees; purchase of grades six through 12 social studies textbooks from contingency fund; and a number of resignations, contracts and personal/dock days.

Resignations included the following: Lesha Koch, Sabetha Elementary School first grade teacher; Staci Honas, Wetmore Junior High volleyball coach; and Deb Ronnebaum, Axtell Career Planning. Contracts included the following: Michael Glatczak, Axtell physical education teacher; Nathan Bauman, Sabetha High School head girls’ basketball coach; Brooke Stallbaumer, Axtell Elementary School teacher; Mitchell Engelken, Axtell social studies teacher; Maria Celi Merino Zazo, SHS Spanish teacher; Hannah Dettwyler, SES assistant secretary; Abigail Kohake, Wetmore Elementary School teacher; Ilene Huffman, SHS/Wetmore Academic Center summer school; Liz Badertscher, SHS building chair; and Maggie Suther, SHS PLC leader. Personal/dock days included the following: Nicholas Richardson, Katie Sandmann, Brent Hayden, Holly Meyer, Katie Heiman, Nate Bauman and Sue Rokey.

The board received written reports from building administrators David Glynn, Matt Garber, Sara Toedman, Rick Schnacker and Jayson Tynon. Board member Saylor noted that all of the buildings looked very nice for the graduation ceremonies.

DeMint reported on scholarships given out by the USD 113 Foundation.

The board received written and video reports from Director of Student Learning Jennifer Gatz and Superintendent Todd Evans.

Superintendent’s Report

Teacher Recruitment: Evans reported he is concerned about filling a few of the positions currently available in the district. One is the industrial technology position at SHS. Evans said he believes it is going to be very difficult to find someone with a degree in industrial technology. The other position is the science teacher at Wetmore. Evans said the district is willing to look at a transition to teach applicant, or an applicant with a background in a different teaching area. The pool of applicants in this area is very shallow, Evans said.

Missouri Western: Evans shared that the district is working on a relationship with Missouri Western. As a four-year institution, Missouri Western “plays by different rules” than Highland Community College. The district previously has worked with HCC, but due to requirement changes, some of the teachers who previously were able to teach dual credit courses are not longer able to do so. The district is trying to find a way for its qualified teachers to teach dual credit courses.

Update on Axtell Project: The project is moving along. Change orders so far have increased the project cost. Total cost for the project at this point is approximately $200,000.

New Bus: Evans reported that the district has received the new bus approved by the board at last month’s meeting.

BC/BS Health Insurance: Evans shared that the Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance cost is going down, more than 6 percent. This is the second year in a row that the district has seen a reduction.

Brook Brubeck: The district’s Food Service Director has been recognized by the Kansas State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition and Wellness department with a Sunflower Spotlight Award.

Expense Comparison: Evans shared the year-to-date expense comparison — comparing July 1, 2018, through May 13, 2019, with the same timeframe the previous school year. To date, the district has spent $87,039 more out of the general, supplemental general, 4-year-old at risk, K-12 at risk, food service, professional development and vocational funds. The district has spent $193,407.09 more out of the capital outlay fund, and $102,353.40 more out of the special education fund. These figures are in line with projections, Evans said.

Evans informed the board that the district received a congratulatory award for meeting requirements for special education and title services.

Edelman Gift

The board accepted gifts from the Lyle Edelman family, for $2,500 to the Sabetha High School band, and $3,500 to the SHS FFA. Presenting this gift were Lyla, Ryan, Brandy and Kendrick Edelman. Receiving the gifts were Katie Topp representing the SHS band, and Chris Bauerle representing the SHS FFA.

Parents As Teachers

The board approved the Parents As Teachers proposal for the 2019-20 school year.

The program was proposed at 4.5 units to serve 36 families, at a cost of $20,000. This is the same number of units as provided during the 2018-19 school year.

SES Roof

The board considered the project specifications for the SES roof replacement.

Jay Herrmann with AHRS Construction presented to the board regarding the SES east wing roof and south wing roof. Water is standing on the roof, Herrmann said. The roof is old and has no slope, Herrmann said. What has happened below the east wing, he said, is that the water has finally gotten through the tar and concrete and is seeping into the classrooms.

Herrmann said his recommendation is for the east wing to be replaced, since it is leaking. Herrmann presented two example options for roof replacement — one leaving the roof flat at a cost of approximately $70,000, and the other to slope the roof at a cost of approximately $90,000. Herrmann said he recommends the board should consider how long the current building will be utilized when determining which option to choose.

Lippert asked when the SES roof was last coated, and also asked for a reasonable lifespan for either option. No one had any recollection that the roof had ever been re-coated. Herrmann said either option would have a 15-year warranty, but that the more expensive option would add insulation and increase efficiency.

The board approved for Evans to work with Herrmann to finalize a request for proposal to replace the east wing roof with the sloped option specifications.

SMS Boiler

The board considered the project and specifications for replacement of the Sabetha Middle School boiler, which has been out of service for the past few months. The board approved a contract for $8,700 with PKMR Engineers to work on the boiler project.

Scott McKinley with PKMR presented to board members. The boiler is 28 years old, McKinley said. McKinley presented two options — either a one-boiler system or a two-boiler system. McKinley said that he believes either option will be less than $100,000 installed.

He said they are recommending that the board put out a proposal for both options, and get prices on both options. The board approved the specifications per the plans prepared by PKMR, to obtain bids, for the boiler project.

The board will consider bids and make a recommendation by the June meeting.

Axtell Reductions

Superintendent Evans explained to the board why he wanted the Finance Committee to meet after the April meeting. He said it was important to discuss the financial picture for the next five years, and how the school finance bill might impact the district’s finances.

The current school finance bill approved by the legislature is estimated to add more than $380,000 to the USD No. 113 general fund next year, Evans said.

J. Scoby asked about whether the supplemental general fund also would increase. Evans said he is unsure how the supplemental general fund will be impacted at this point, as he has not seen any information about it.

“As we think of the viability of schools in our district, we have to think about additional money and what we do with that additional money,” Evans said.

In the past, the district has put extra money into salaries. While this is important, Evans said, it is also important to take care of all the needs in the district.

For the past few months, the board has been discussing the need to make reductions at Axtell Public School to get ahead of any viability issues at that campus.

At the April meeting, board members were presented with possible options for reductions — pending further investigation by Superintendent Evans.

Evans presented his final recommended list of reductions at Axtell Public School, totaling $52,318.72. Reductions include the following: Axtell High School FBLA, $765; Music Supplemental, $3,922; Custodial/Cook, $23,418; New Hire, $10,000; Career Coordinator, $6,187; Ag Welding, $2,026.72; and Part-Time Secretary, $6,000.

The board approved the reductions.

New Position

The board considered approval of a new position — Student and Family Liaison for the 2019-20 school year. The position primarily would be assigned to SES, Evans said, but would be available to the other buildings as well.

This position would be a person with a social work background who would work with students to help students meet the optimum level of personal and social adjustment.

L. Scoby said the district is seeing more and more needs for a position like this, and she believes it is an important position to add to the school district.

The board approved the position.

Executive Sessions

The board entered executive session to discuss non-elected personnel job performance. Superintendent Evans was present for the executive session. Principal Schnacker joined the board for a portion of the session. Following executive session, no binding action was taken.

The board entered executive session to discuss employee compensation. Evans was present for the executive session. Following executive session, no binding action was taken.

The next regular meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the district office in Sabetha.

Amber Deters121 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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