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USD 431 begins Walking School Bus initiative
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HOISINGTON — Walking or riding a bike is a healthy, wholesome activity, and students walking to and from school gives kids great outdoor exercise. USD 431 Hoisington School District has received a  $10,000 grant for a Walking School Bus for the next school year. A Walking School Bus, where a parents walks with the kids to and from school, is one of the latest initiatives to get kids outside and combat obesity.
A parent/co-ordinator will organize the routes, and parent volunteers will walk kids to and from school each day. Participants will receive T-shirts and water bottles.
The goal is to “have students walk/bike to school to increase activity,” said Superintendent Bill Lowry. The district hopes to encourage health and as well as reducing transportation costs. An added plus is the reduction of vehicle pollution.
They do hope the walk starts turning into habits and that parents see its benefits too. Kids arrive at school alert and ready to start the day of learning.
Volunteers will teach safety crossing streets, watching for cars, and using sidewalks. The district is currently looking for a coordinator to plan the routes and seek the parent volunteers.
Lowry applied for the grant. The district also applied for and received the Safe Routes to School grant,which provided $250,000 to the community to improve sidewalks and ramps in 2012. The district will continue to seek additional grant funding to add additional sidewalks.
The USD 431 School Board heard about the grant at its regular meeting on Monday.
In other business, the board approved a raise in prices in school lunches of 10 cents per meal. Lunches will be: preK-4, $2.20; 5th-12th, $2.40; staff, $3.40; guest, $3.70; and breakfast: preK-12th, $1.70; staff, $2.15, and guest, $2.40.
They board also approved:
•A teacher evaluation system for next year.
•Republishing the budget due to an increase in enrollment.
•Use of a school bus by the Special Olympics.
•Non-staff driver Laura Klima.
•Selling surplus equipment.
The board approved membership in Schools for Quality Education, which is an organization for small districts. SQE promotes the interests of small districts. The board also approved dues for Kansas Association of School Boards.
Board member Maggie Alderdice asked about the difference in SQE and KASB. Superintendent Lowry explained that SQE would promote issues like  broadband internet for rural district and district lines that may not be of interest to large districts.
After the approval, Alderdice said, “McPherson, you know they’re holier than thou. They cracked me up at the Convention.”
Action after executive session, the board accepted resignation of Brittany VanScyoc as asst. softball coach effective end of 2013-14 school year, and contracted Christie Brungardt for asst. volleyball coach for 2014-15 school year.