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USD 431 considers construction project
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HOISINGTON — At the Hoisington School Board meeting on Monday, the school board heard preliminary plans for separating the  Hoisington Middle School Library into two rooms.
The Title I teacher sees 40 students per day in the library and needs a quieter work place. There is currently a partition.
She will add more students next year and has seen increased work load. HMS Principal Pat Reinhart told the board research is now done online and outdated encyclopedias and books will be removed in the library, freeing up more space.
This item was tabled. More information will be provided at the next meeting regarding the upgrade.
School funding
Superintendent Bill Lowry gave the legislative report regarding school funding, which passed the Kansas Senate and House last weekend at an end-of-the-legislative session bill to meet the Supreme Court’s ruling to fund education.
Preliminary reports show that USD 431 will receive approximately $60,000 more dollars. The legislature increased base state aid $14 per full time enrollment, took away at-risk weighting and added more funding through the Local Option Budget, assessed through property taxes.
The mill levy for USD 431 is approximately 58 mills, down from 62 or 63 mills from seven years ago. With the new bill, Hoisington area residents may see their mill levy assessment decrease 2.5 mills.
With the school funding with the new legislation, the district would see $15,665 total in base state aid increase, but would lose $11,556 at-risk funding.
Lowry said he thought that Gov. Brownback would sign the bill.
However, “I wish that it had been a clean bill,” said Lowry.
The bill had added-on legislation such as tax credits for at-risk students for private schools and takes funding for education from other areas.
All-day kindergarten will not be funded through the state, but Hoisington retains its commitment to all-day kindergarten.
“We‘re committed to early childhood education,” said Lowry. “It’s what’s best for students.”
Also, the pending legislation waiting for Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature eliminates teacher tenure.
Lowry doesn’t anticipate any major changes to staff retention. “We’re here to help everybody improve,” he said.
Board President Dean Stoskopf said that there will some type of process replacing tenure, and added that there were 15 due process hearings held last year in the state.
Lowry told the board that tenure began in 1957 in Kansas.
He added, “I believe you’re getting better or getting worse.”
Senator Mitch Homes voted for the legislation and Representative John Edmonds voted against it. Board Member Maggie Alderdice said that she is not one to mince words, but “look who is in the senate.”
In final business, the board:
•Approved an agreement with Providence for the drug dogs to work at HMS and HHS.
•Approved a calendar for 2014-15. Lowry told the board that more time is needed for teacher collaboration for implementation of the College and Career Ready Standards. After consulting with teachers, Lowry created a school calendar. The school day for teachers will be from 7:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. for teachers. School start time for students will be the same as this year. The number of school days will be identical to this year, but will allow for more time with students.
The district will hold school lunches this summer for kids, which will be free up to age 18. The cost for adults will be $3.75.