Jacquie Disque was elected president of the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education and Aaron Emerson was elected vice president when the board met Monday at the District Education Center. The organization of the 2021-2022 board was followed by the annual approval of appointments and designations, including naming the Great Bend Tribune as the official district newspaper.
Organizational procedures were also approved. This is another annual task that includes adopting the calendar for the next year and other routine matters.
For example, the mileage rate for district employees was set at the current Kansas state rate of 56 cents per mile. Substitute teacher per-day pay has increased from $100 per day to $105.
The board also approved revisions to policies as recommended by the Kansas Association of School Boards and reviewed the district health insurance.
Revenue Neutral Rate
Before the meeting, the administration had requested a resolution in regard to the Revenue Neutral Tax Rate. However, Superintendent Khris Thexton said no action was needed at this time. The school board will most likely have a Revenue Neutral Rate hearing along with its annual budget hearing later this year, in order to comply with Senate Bill 13, adopted by the Kansas Legislature.
Thexton said the plan is to publish the budget in August and hold the hearings in September.
COVID money for Chromebooks
The district will receive approximately $100,000 in Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) money from the Federal Communications Commission, Thexton said. The ECF is a $7.17 billion program intended to provide funds to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. Ryan Axman, USD 428’s director of Information Technologies, received a quote for the next purchase of Chromebook devices for $367,400 and the board approved using the ECF money to help cover the purchase.
Last October, USD 428 placed an order for 850 units for $249,900, which was the state bid price. Orders are made about 6 months in advance. The district has a rotation cycle for electronic purchases to maintain up-to-date technology. Chromebooks are on a three-year rotation.
In other action, the board voted to accept a $1,000 grant from the KAKE Reading Caravan, awarded to Great Bend Middle School librarian Holly Tittel for the library.