Students graduating from Great Bend High School this month will get to keep the Chromebooks that were assigned to them in 2015, Superintendent Khris Thexton told the school board Monday evening.
The USD 428 Board of Education approved the purchase of 475 more Chromebooks for the high school and middle school, maintaining a scheduled rotation for replacing the electronic devices. The board also approved 125 Chromebooks for fourth graders and 100 for fifth graders, expanding the use of the devices to the lower grades. At $242 each, the total cost is $182,000.
Thexton said the district has money in its budget for the devices.
“The more technology we provide, the more they’re using it,” he said. “It’s another tool to help our teachers teach our kids.”
Asked if GBHS students are aware of this “graduation present,” the superintendent said they are.
“Seniors can use them in college or wherever they’re going to go next,” he said.
Board members leaving
Three board members are up for re-election in November. One by one, Kevin Mauler, Dr. Larry Kutina and board president Joyce Carter announced their decision not to seek another term. All have served multiple terms.
“It’s time for some fresh blood and new ideas,” Mauler said.
“I’ve really appreciated the eight years I’ve been on the board,” Kutina said.
Carter said she felt the same and she’ll miss not working with Thexton. “It’s nice to know the district is in good shape.”
New positions approved
The board approved two new positions for the 2017-2018 school year. The first is a middle school counselor, providing a qualified person can be found before the start of the school year. Carter noted, in clarifying the motion, that the board was approving a job for a licensed counselor, “with the understanding if we don’t find exactly what we’re looking for we’ll go with a social worker.”
Board member Susan Young voted against the motion as presented. “This age group needs a counselor position,” Young said.
The second new position is an attendance coordinator at Great Bend High School.
In other business:
• The board approved two pilot programs for K-6 science classes in the 2017-2018 school year. Project Lead the Way and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Dimensions” will be tested by two teachers at each elementary school. If the district likes the programs, they could be recommended for the science curriculum adoption in 2018-2019.
• Office Products Inc. in Great Bend was awarded the contract for 780 cartons of copy paper with the low bid of $18,784. The cost of paper has gone up, but the district has reduced the amount it uses. Last year the district spent $20,084 for 880 cartons of paper.
• The board approved the low bid for Field House flooring, submitted by Advanced Exercise and Equipment. The $68,969 bid includes installation.
• No action was taken on bids for the Washington Early Education Center parking lot. Bids were opened on May 3 but Thexton said other considerations have come up. He asked the board to reject all bids and postpone action.
•Licensed teacher resignations were accepted from Molly Mumm, vocal music teacher at Park Elementary, and Meg Clark, third-grade teacher at Riley Elementary.
• Appointments were approved for Tyler Rydman, social studies teacher at Great Bend Middle School; Linsey Van Ornum, family consumer science teacher at Great Bend High School; Tina Vondracek and Brandi Boese, special education teachers at Lincoln Elementary School; and Courtney Maska, physical education teacher at GBMS.
• Two contributions to the district were approved. The Kula Foundation has donated $25.46 to be used for student recognitions and Barton County Farm Bureau Association has donated $100 to the GBHS FFA Chapter.
• Jolene Biggs with Insurance Planning Inc. in Great Bend was approved as the district’s insurance broker.