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USD 355 changing math offerings
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 USD 355 upcoming events:

The Family Pajama Movie Night, hosted by the PAC, will start at 7 p.m. Fiday.
Family Fun Night at the grade school will be on Friday, May 1.  Hamburgers and hotdogs will be served.  
Eighth Grade promotion will be Monday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in the new gym.
Annual Egghead Banquet/ Academic Awards Night is Wednesday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Graduation will be on Sunday, May 10 at 3 p.m. in the new gym. 

USD 355 Comings and goings:

The board accepted three resignations at the April meeting, all with gratitude.  They included Dusty Beam as Middle and High School Physical Education Instructor and supplemental sponsor and coach, effective at the end of the current school year; Wade Doonan as District Maintenance Director, effective April 10, 2015; and Lori Caspers as cheer/dance sponsor effective April 8, 2015.

The board approved two appointments, one for Mark Cook as Middle/High School Principal with a two-year contract covering the 2015-2016 and the 2016-2017.   The second, for Eric Sjogren as Grade School Principal through the 2016-2017 school year.  Both appointments passed with unanimous support from the board.  

Ellinwood USD 355 Superintendent Ben Jacobs confirmed the district will eliminate 8th grade algebra next year.  
“With the advent of the new math standards and the data that we possess about elective math enrollment in high school, it no longer is worth the investment of time, resources, and personnel,” he stated.
There is some content covered in traditional middle school math classes, and students will still retain the ability to enroll in upper-level math electives in high school, he added.
Jacobs spoke about the budget and tax bills that are going to be produced during the veto session in the Legislation. On April 20, the revenue estimates were revealed along with details of the new block grant bill (SB 7). This law terminates the current school finance formula and implements a block grant to fund K-12 education for the next two fiscal years.
Due to Maintenance Director, Wade Doonan, leaving and the concern that our candidate pool does not have the knowledge to be considered for hire, it may become necessary to contract with a vendor to get the district back to where it needs to be with many maintenance needs. It is the districts hope that a director would be hired and the vendor would aid in any major maintenance demands. This would provide additional training to the newly hired director for a period of one year.

Derek Schoenthaler provided the district activities report, touching on student-body accomplishments with band and choir, FBLA, forensics, softball, tennis, and track.  He also updated the board on progress with the facility use study group who are working on creating a calendar that will be used amongst the Ellinwood Public Schools, Ellinwood REcreation Commission, St. Joseph’s and private entities to determine how the city’s available gym space is used.  
State assessments are underway in Ellinwood, and Principal Eric Sjogren, Ellinwood Elementary and Principal Shawn Henderson, Ellinwood Middle and High School, report is going rather smoothly.  At the high school level, juniors are being tested for history and government.  Sophomores are being tested for English Language Arts and Math.  At the middle school, seventh graders are being tested for both science and social studies, and eighth graders only for social studies.  At the end of April, all students at the middle school will be tested for math.

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
* Three bids have been received for gym floors, and bids will be compared and a recommendation presented at the May board meeting.  Bidders include Von Lintel Refinishing & Flooring, Inc.; Lankford Enterprises Inc.; and Creative Floors.
* Schoenthaler also reported on proposals presented at the KIAAA Conference concerning football “contact time,” and girl’s cross-country race distances.  
* Thirty-three students attended Kindergarten round-up April 9.
* Parent-teacher conferences saw a 91 percent turnout.
* Board members approved the 2015-2016 school calendar and tentative board meeting dates for the coming school year.
* Members approved continuing membership with the Kansas Association of School Boards and continued support of the KASB Legal Assistance Fund.
* Board members approved the new math and ELA curricula for the district.
* Board members authorized the administration to call for bids for an infrastructure  maintenance contract for the 2015-2016 school year.

Editor’s note:  This report is taken from the official meeting minutes provided by USD 355.  The next regular meeting of the USD 355 Board of Education will be Monday, May 11, at 6 p.m. at the Ellinwood School and Community Library.