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New technology fees added
Most other fees unchanged
new slt school-park
The driveway on the north side of Park Elementary School is being repaired this summer. This is the entrance used by trucks delivering meals. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

With summer school underway in Great Bend, the school board is looking ahead to the 2016-2017 year and at closing the books on 2015-2016.
Here are some of the items approved or discussed at the regular monthly meeting held Monday at the District Education Center:

School fees
Middle school and high school students will be accessed a new technology fee this year, since they will be issued Chromebook tablets. The fee is $5 for grades 7-8 and $10 for grades 9-12. Other than that, the K-12 fees will remain unchanged from the previous year.
Meal prices will also be unchanged for everyone except adults, whose lunches will increase 5 cents per meal to $3.50.

Saving on debt
Roger Edgar from George K. Baum & Company described how the district can save some money by refinancing bonds issued in 2004 at a lower interest rate. The current rate is 4.1 percent and the district could refinance the last two years on the debt at a rate closer to 2 percent. If the cost of refinancing is kept lower, the district could save some money — one figure suggested was around $50,000 — without increasing the payback time. The resolution passed by the board Monday allows the company to act as the district’s agent but does not obligate the district at this time. Further board action will be needed in a month or two.

Mileage rates
USD 428 will pay 27 cents per mile to qualified parents or guardians for transporting students to and from their assigned schools during the 2015-2016 school year. This is for families that live 2.5 miles or more from their assigned school and who live outside the Great Bend city limits but within the boundaries of the district. Eligible parents should have already turned in their forms, and Monday’s action set the rate at 14.24 percent of the average cost for a gallon of gas between September and April — $1.90.
The previous year the district paid 14.3 percent of the 2014-2015 average price per gallon, which was $2.52. The payout is expected to drop from $99,735 last year to $59,928 this year.

Summer School
Summer school, which is in full swing, is for students who have finished kindergarten through fifth grade. About 334 students are attending.
The summer breakfast and lunch programs are also going on at the elementary schools, with an average of 231 eating breakfast and 437 people eating lunch every day. Park Elementary sees the largest numbers.

Building projects
The food truck entrance on the north side of Park Elementary is being repaved this summer. Work is also being done on the playground asphalt at Eisenhower Elementary, and the roof project at Great Bend High School continues.