USD 428 retirements, resignations, and appointments
The USD 428 Board of education accepted the following personnel related requests and actions at Monday’s regular board meeting:
The retirement of Tery Schneider, Kindergarten teacher at Park Elementary School.
The resignations of the following four teachers: Larissa Blackwell, vocal music, Park Elementary School; Crystal Hanson, SFA tutor at Lincoln Elementary School; Chritian Haupt, SFA tutor, Riley Elementary School; Samantha Teri, SFA tutor, Riley Elementary School.
The long-term maternity leave of Aimee Wutka, SFA tutor at Riley Elementary School.
The appointments of the following three teachers: Nina Burton, fifth grade, Park Elementary School; Meagan Henry, fourth grade, Park Elementary School, Nicole Schartz, first grade, Eisenhower Elementary School.
When school lets out for summer break this May, Great Bend students that normally would have attended summer school will have many more hours of time on their hands. The USD 428 Board of Education learned that the administration, after conferring with K-8 principals, is moving towards elimination of the program that has ceased to be truly effective. High school students will continue to be able to work towards credit recovery over the summer however.
“The way we currently do summer school in the district doesn’t really give us our best bang for the buck,” Superintendent Brad Reed said. “It’s not that it doesn’t have some value, but the $85,000 it costs to staff the program could be better spent in other areas.”
Reed was quick to say the district would continue to provide breakfast at Park and Riley elementary schools and lunch at all five elementary schools in the district as it has in the past. Assistant Superintendent Khris Thexton said the district would step-up its efforts to make sure parents were aware of the program, and monitor participation. If it goes down, some locations may need to be shut down. Karl Sprague, the Director of Food Service, said this was the first he had heard of the elimination of summer school, and he felt the move would definitely affect the meal count.
“On days when summer school is not in session, instead of serving 200 kids, it drops down to 25 kids,” he said.
Board member Dwight Young asked what compels students to come to summer school. There are no penalties for not coming, Reed replied, and there is no mandate that they come. For this reason, principals report that students often miss days, which makes instruction inefficient. After some discussion, Reed invited board members who felt passionately about keeping summer school, to talk to the administration. If there is no objection, the administration will act.
Online registration and bill pay
Soon, enrolling students in USD 428 could be a whole lot less of a hassle. The district is looking to implement RevTrak, an on-line bill-pay company, which would coincide with the district’s move to on-line student enrollment for the 2015-2016 school years. Thexton reported the district has received several requests from parents to be able to both enroll and make payments online. With the growing familiarity of online monitoring of their students grades and school progress, the next step is practically inevitable.
RevTrak can provide the service to the district at no charge. Users, however, will pay a convenience fee. It will allow parents to make all sorts of payments, including class fees, club dues, and purchase of yearbooks and paying lunch tabs. The service can also send parents an alert when their student’s lunch account is getting low, so additions can be made before the account gets to zero, Thexton said.
Photo contract to be bid
Every three years, the district bids out photography services for individual portraits and athletics and activities. For the past three years, Lifetouch has held the contract, but it’s up at the end of the school year. Instead of awarding the contract for all photography services to one vendor, this time the district will split the contract.
The photography committee is working on notice of intent to bid for a three-year contract for student individual photography. The estimate will need to include among other things, a specific number of photographers per site, and references from districts with 2,500 students or greater.
Bids will also be taken for the contract for athletics and activities photography. These will not require multiple photographers or district reference letters. This should make it possible for local photographers to bid.
The board heard the first readings of and the 2015-2016 student handbooks, teacher handbooks and activities and athletics handbooks. A dress code change at the middle school and elementary schools will allow students to wear pants made of spandex or similar fabrics if shirts are of the proper length.
Hats and tails will not be allowed at the high school. Credits for Valedictorian and Salutatorian will be changed from 29 to 28 points. High school students in violation of computer and camera use policies will be subject to suspension or expulsion, and videos rated “R” will require Principal approval and will need parental consent to view in a class setting.
To reflect changes on the high school Danceline, the description has been updated from using the term “girls” to “dancers.” The term “yell leaders” will be used for boys taking part in the cheer program. Dave Meter, Activities Director, said there has been interest expressed for male participation in both programs. Band will now have a point system (55 points) to letter.
With summer break only a few months away, plans are underway for the facilities and grounds projects that will be undertaken when school is out of session. Topping the list will be a $150,000 roof replacement at Washington school, Thexton said.
Also on the list for this summer, the west field house at the middle school needs new flooring, and a wall will be removed for the orchestra. At the high school, the steps north of the field house will be removed, and sidewalk and ramps on the east side of the building will be repaired and the ramp on the south side of the building will be replaced.
In 2016, Lincoln and Washington elementary schools will receive HVAC updates. In 2017, The asphalt playground at Eisenhower will be replaced with concrete, and the remainder of the drive behind the middle school building will be completed in concrete.
Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
• Approved the K-6 math curriculum adoption introduced at the February meeting. It will cost $204,558.94, which includes a discount from the previously quoted amount.
• Approved the purchase of 20 teacher laptops, 70 student laptops, 189 desktop computers, and 230 Chromebooks totaling $263,685. School personnel will be allowed to purchase the old computers and have the software license transferred.
• Approved the three-year technology plan, required by the Kansas State Department of Education. The plan is for July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018.
• Approved 2015-2016 calendar which included one additional professional development day for teachers and the first two days of the school year will be half-days for kindergarten students.
• Approved the adoption of Skyward Financial Services program introduced at the February meeting. The process will begin in April, and will be fully implemented in October. This will cost $74,085 to purchase. Then, in future years the user fee will be slightly less than the current system, and will be a better fit for the district.
• Approved a donation by First Kansas Bank of office furniture with an estimated value of $4,000. A bank of five cubical areas and two complete office desk support systems are included. They will be used at the high school.
• Approved a request by Eisenhower Elementary to apply for a grant to take students on a field trip to the Cosmosphere.
• Approved a donation to Great Bend High School Vocational Technology Club from Midwest Energy Inc., Oversize Warning products, Sunflower Electric and Wheatland Electric.
• Heard the first reading of the K-6 music curriculum adoption.
• The board discussed the merits of passing resolutions and agreed that a resolution against the elimination of spring elections would be a good idea. Reed will draft one for the board to consider at the noon meeting at Eisenhower March 26.
• Reed informed the board that the education foundation has selected the mini grant winners, and they will be announced at an upcoming ceremony to be announced.
The USD 428 Board of Education will meet at noon on March 265 at Eisenhower Elementary School. The next regular board meeting will be at 5 p.m. on April 13 at the district office.