By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bond issue information available
Parents’ mileage checks available
new_slt_school ...concrete.jpg
Great Bend USD maintenance staff pour new concrete approaches outside Riley Elementary School. In addition to regular grounds and facility maintenance, maintenance staff are using the summer months to tackle improvements projects that are in their wheelhouse. photo courtesy Andrea Bauer, USD 428

Great Bend USD 428 has updated the information about the upcoming bond election on its website, The menu at the top of the website now includes a link marked “Bond.”

Superintendent Khris Thexton mentioned the update at Monday’s school board meeting and District Public Information Officer Andrea Bauer provided a three-page summary of the “talking points.” Bauer said that the website previously featured the district’s master plan study but it now focuses on what is being proposed. It includes an online calculator that the public can use to estimate the tax impact on their property if the bond issue passes. There are residential, commercial and agricultural calculators.

Thexton said public meeting dates will be announced on this site as well as the dates of facility tours. The website will also soon offer virtual tours thanks to Park Elementary Principal Phil Heeke and his school’s drone club.

All registered voters within the school boundary are eligible to vote, Thexton said. Voter registration deadline is Aug. 6 and the website will include a link to facilitate registration. Ballots will be mailed to registered voters on Aug. 20 for the Sept. 5 election deadline.

There will be two questions to vote on. Question one seeks $41.75 million for renovations and new construction throughout the district. Question two seeks an additional $3.12 million for a new gymnasium at Great Bend Middle School “to accommodate 50 percent student population increase.” If Question one passes, sixth graders will move from the elementary schools to GBMS, where a new wing will be built for them.

Thexton said the purpose of the webpage is to provide information.

“We want to help eliminate some of the misinformation that may be out there,” he said. A bond election committee is also working to share information with the public, he added.

Mileage checks available

In action items Monday, the board approved 40 appointments, designations and organizational procedures using two consent agendas. This is routine as the board organizes for a new school year and includes choosing a board president and vice president. Chris Umphres will continue as president and Lori Reneau will be vice president.

The Great Bend Tribune was again named the official district newspaper.

During the financial presentation, Thexton noted that mileage checks to parents of students who live more than 2 miles from school have been written and will be available at the District Education Center beginning Tuesday, July 9.

A final consent agenda at the end of the meeting included the appointment of two new teachers. Sarah Bretches will teach math at Great Bend High School and Alexis Vanasse will teach special education for Barton County Special Services.

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428's Board of Education meeting:

• Chris Umphres was elected president of the school board for 2019-2020 and Lori Reneau was elected vice president

• The board approved a consent agenda that included 2019-2020 appointments and designations similar to the previous year. Deanna Essmiller and Cheryl Rugan previously served as board representatives on the interest-based bargaining team and Mrs. Rugan is not running for reelection. Essmiller was reappointed and board member Don Williams was chosen to take Rugan’s place.

• The board approved another consent agenda that included 2019-2020 organizational procedures, also similar to last year. One change is that the state mileage reimbursement rate for district employees increased from 54.5 cents to 58 cents per mile.

• Board polices were revised and new policies added as recommended by the Kansas State Association of School Boards. The board first reviewed the changes at the June 10 meeting.

• Assistant Superintendent John Popp discussed professional development and the list of possible national conference that people may attend this year.

• Superintendent Khris Thexton discussed building projects updates such as carpeting and concrete work; summer meals; and the school board update. New information is being released via the district website and the bond committee, in an effort to inform the public.

• A donation and a grant application were approved.

• The board met in executive session from 5:53 to 6:45 p.m., to discuss confidential student information relating to actions adversely or favorably affecting a student. Administrations joined the board for the first 30 minutes, then left as the executive session was extended several times.