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BCHD praises USD 431 for Walking School Bus program
Timekeeping procedures approved
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Hoisington USD 431 Superintendent Bill Lowry accepted a check for $1,000 in support of the districts Walking School Bus program from Barton County Health Department Health Educator Janel Rose at the Tuesday night meeting. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

HOISINGTON - At the last Hoisington USD 431 Board of Education meeting of the semester, every seat was taken, and for some late arrivals, it was standing room only. The visitors, it turns out, were seniors who were there to meet a requirement of their high school government class. Each student must attend a BOE meeting during the first semester, and for many, the Tuesday night meeting was their last opportunity.
Board President Dean Stoskopf opened the meeting, noting that there is an opportunity for visitors to speak to the council, and invited the students to do so. One student inquired, “Can you make this last an hour?”
Stoskopf good naturedly stated that it was quite possible, and that he would give credit for an hour if not, much to the relief of more than one student.

Health Department praises Walking School Bus
Health Educator Janel Rose with the Barton County Health Department praised the district for the success of its Walking School Bus program, and presented it with a check for $1,000 as encouragement to continue the program.
“We are really thrilled with your program, and know that your teachers and volunteers in the community who lead the routes do a great job,” she said, adding, “We would like to help in the future, especially with changes that may be adopted with the bike and pedestrian master plan, to continue to encourage the program.”

Progress on school
A review of appropriations for the preceding month, resulted in discussion about progress on the Lincoln Elementary School build. Superintendent Bill Lowry stated that while 65 percent of the bond has been used, nearly all supplies have been purchased and are in storage. A meeting to review progress on the build is scheduled on Dec. 14, and he will ask for a breakout to be sent to board members. Also, the roof is on the building now, and window openings covered in plastic will allow work to begin this week on sheetrock. Heat will need to be on for the duration of the build because of this, he added. Brickwork on the exterior of the building is also anticipated to begin this week.

The district’s new timekeeping system was also discussed. Last month, board members received a draft policy for the new system, detailing how hourly employees will be required to clock in and out for work and mandatory lunch breaks. Lowry noted that the new system is on a three-minute swing, instead of the six-minute swing that the old system used, and rounds to the nearest five-minute interval. It also errs on the side of the employee, he said, so no one has lost any time since the new system has been used. Manual corrections can be made, also, in the event an employee is interrupted during their break for work-related reasons. They simply need to report the interruption to their supervisor, who will report it to the District Office and a correction will be made.
“Sometimes people forget to clock in or out,” Lowry said. “The district is aware of that and we are very accommodating.”
The board, reassured, unanimously approved the new timekeeping procedures.

Other items discussed included:
* Lowry’s legislative reports noted that the Kansas Association of School Boards and Schools for Quality Education are gearing up for the upcoming legislative session that will begin in January. He attended a KASB conference earlier this month, where it was resolved that schools would do what’s right for students first.
“Kids show up for school no matter what the state does,” he said. Noting that the state is currently short $350 million in its budget, and that number is expected to hit $500 million by the end of the fiscal year, there is concern over how the district will make it to June if the state does not make its anticipated payment.
Legislators are scheduling past the regular 90 days of session, he said. Some bills approved last year may be put on hold, such as the Juvenile Justice bill.
* Since Hoisington is considered a rural school, seniors will have an opportunity sometime during the upcoming session to attend Seniors Day, attending in support of small rural schools, he added.
* No administration reports were provided.

The board voted to enter into executive session for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel. Upon returning to open session, no action was taken.
The next USD 431 BOE meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, at 7 p.m.