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Board acts to stop disturbances
Middle School IDs now required at events
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In other action, the school board:

• Approved taking the low bid to purchase a minivan from Marmie Motors for $22,856 and an eight-passenger van from Marmie Ford for $22,650. Both are replacement vehicles that take the place of vans with over 200,000 miles.

• Heard an enrollment update that indicated student head count in USD 428 is holding steady. As of Sept. 1, the enrollment was 2,971 compared to the audited enrollment on Sept. 21, 2009, of 2,968. "I think it looks pretty promising," said Dan Brungardt, district director of business operations.

On a related note, a request from a parent to transfer a child from Park Elementary School to Jefferson Elementary was denied by Superintendent Tom Vernon. Vernon said out of 89 requests, 31 were rejected. "The reason we have (school boundary) districts is to keep balance" between enrollment in each school. Looking at the numbers presented by Brungardt, Vernon said the numbers are as balanced now as they have been in a long time.

• Heard the first reading of a policy governing memorials and memorial services in the district. In short, it would emphasize that school facilities exist primarily for education and that students should be protected from undue emotional stress. The board first brought the issue up prior to the death of 14-year-old Alicia DeBolt, hoping to establish a policy prior to a time it would be needed.

• Approved two monetary contributions to the district. Mark and Krista Ball gave $2,500 to the Great Bend High School Activities Department to help buy meals for students on the road to events. The family of Loretta Weiser gave $580 to Lincoln Elementary in her memory.

Discussed using current USD 428 architects (Horst, Terrel and Karst of Topeka and Overland Park) or roofing consultants Benchmark Inc., or some combination, to design new roofs for district buildings in the roofing rotation this year. The administration will come back with some price comparisons when the Board meets at noon, Sept. 23, at Lincoln Elementary.

• Discussed going from three postage meters to two. Usage will be studied through September to determine what might be the best option. They also looked at purchasing postage from The site sells postage, but requires the labels or stamps be put on by hand. Postal machines doing automatically.

• Were told Abby Carpet of Great Bend had installed the new carpet in the GBHS auditorium at a cost of $3,688.26. It was less than $20,000, so the project didn’t have to be let out for bid.

A fight between an eighth and ninth grader at the Great Bend High School football game Sept. 3 prompted the Unified School District 428 School Board to discuss Monday night what to do with unruly Great Bend Middle School students who cause trouble at sporting events.

The conclusion — more and better supervision is needed.

The solution agreed upon is to issue middle school identification cards with the students’ pictures. They will be required to present the cards to gain admission and, if they cause problems, their cards could be taken away and they could be banned from future attendance.

"This isn’t a place for parents to drop off their kids for three or four hours," Superintendent Tom Vernon told the board, meeting at the District Education Center. Depending on what the student was doing, a letter could be sent to the parents or the child could be asked to leave (whether or not the child had a ride home).

Kicking kids out caused some concern among board members who worried about letting the children go without supervision. But, "we can’t baby-sit their kids 24 hours a day," said board member David Holste.

For the middle schoolers, "it is more of a social activity," Vernon said. "Few go to watch the game." This leads to fights and arguments.

"This has been a problem forever," said Dan Brungardt, district director of business operations. Periodically, the issue has to be addressed.

Under current policies, kids in sixth grade and younger are required to sit with their parents. Those in middle school have a special section of bleachers (north of the main seating) where they are supposed to remain. It was also discussed Monday that even middle school students would have to attend with their parents or guardians.

High school Principal Tim Friess said they were shorthanded at the Sept. 3 game. "We didn’t have enough people there," he said. But, "we are taking steps to change that."

Even so, Friess said he had no objection to the ID card system.

There is already an ID card machine at GBMS, so the plan wouldn’t be difficult to implement. They hope to have it in place by the next home football game on Sept. 24, along with stepped up supervision.

It would apply to all home sporting events.