In addition to congratulating the Great Bend High School Boys Bowling team for winning the State Championship this season, the Board of Education voted on which calendar the district would adopt for the 2013-2014 school year at Monday night’s BOE meeting.
USD 428 Superintendent Tom Vernon told the Board, of the four calendar choices (Calendars 4, 5, 6 and 7) district staff, faculty, students and patrons were polled on in January and February, numbers 6 and 7 were the most popular. Calendar 6 started school in the middle of the week, Aug. 14, and Calendar 7 started school on Monday, Aug. 12, and allowed an extra day for Winter break and for Presidents Day off. The board voted to approve Calendar 7.
Board member Cheryl Rugan inquired about the possibility of extending the school day by 15 to 20 minutes during the 2013-2014 school year, which would amount to an extra seven to nine days instruction time where students are in front of teachers. The result could mean school could start a week later, allowing the district to save some utilities and personnel costs. Board members approved a motion to study the option over the next month, and discuss the possibility with the Great Bend NEA to determine if there was enough interest to merit going through an IPB process. If approved, the school calendar could be amended to reflect changes, and if not, it would remain as presented.
Progress on projects
Assistant Superintendent Dan Brungardt brought different colored brick samples for the exterior of the GBMS gym. The construction of the gym is on schedule.
“The contractors are waiting for a test for concrete strength, which should occur next week,” he said. “As soon as they get results, they will be able to tie rebar in and start pouring the foundation.”
In the mean time, power at the middle school will be turned off Tuesday during Spring break to work on the electrical system.
At the High School, the city has agreed to allow the district to access the new parking lot by turning into the drive on Morton Street. Eighteen spots will be made available. The alleyway will also be modified, and the north access will become the responsibility of USD 428 maintenance. Brungardt recommended hiring a contractor to put in the driveway and sidewalk out front, and use district personnel to put in parking spots later in the summer.
The Board was presented with updated student, teacher and athletics handbooks to read through and consider for approval at the next regular BOE meeting on April 8. Some of the changes to student handbooks include the addition of a readmittance policy following contagious diseases for elementary school students, the inclusion of competitive 7th grade sports information. This led to discussion about the importance of keeping the instructional league, or would the district be better served by having an A,B, and C team, and treating the C team essentially as an instructional league, unless another school played a C team.
At the high school level, changes to policies for use of tobacco and electronic devices, updated lunch prices and lunch rules that take into consideration new scheduling at the high school.
Head count low
Mr. Brungardt shared the official student-counts from the recently completed state audit. The budget is set in July, and the official head count is taken on Sept. 20. In January, the state audited the head count, and that is when the district learned if it overestimated or underestimated in July, Brungardt said. This year, the district underestimated the head count by 15.8 full time students. Weightings for bilingual and at-risk among others brought the total to an equivalent of 40.8 students. The district will republish the budget in order to receive the additional $156,590 in state funding it qualifies for.
The Board accepted the resignations of the following certified teachers: Mrs. Jessica Badgley, SFA teacher and tutor at Riley Elementary School, Mrs. Cindy Beck, math teacher at GB Middle School, Mrs. Nancy Kelley, special services teacher at Park Elementary school, and Ms. Alicia Owen, second grade teacher at Eisenhower.
Summer capital improvement
A slate of possible summer projects were presented. The Board approved Brungardt’s request to consider hiring LST Consulting Engineers at a cost of up to $5,000 to conduct a building assessment of Riley Elementary School in order to compare options for the replacement of the schools existing HVAC system.
“Through the years this system has been troublesome, with a history of performance problems,” Brungardt said. “One compressor has failed, and the other is beginning to falter. The replacement cost will be over $30,000.”
In recent years, the current boiler system was retrofitted with a chiller system so the 1980s section of the school could be cooled, Brungardt explained, and at this time, efficiency needs to be considered.
Other projects under consideration are replacing the fire panel at the middle school, recoating the roof of the District Education Center, possible replacement of the GBHS stage lights with energy-efficient, longer-lasting lights, and possibly recoating the track at Memorial Stadium.
“It’s been nine years since we put in the track,” Brungardt said. “It’s used quite a bit by the students and the public.”
Other business discussed and actions taken by the Board included:
• Acceptance of an anonymous donation of $1,000 to Great Bend High School Activities, to be utilized for the sport of track.
• Approval of a request by teacher Holly Tittle to apply for a Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center School Field Trip Transportation Grant for Park Elementary School. The grant, for a maximum of $500, would fund the travel costs for the spring field trip to Hutchinson for 42 students and 2 sponsors.
Bus bids, as accepted by the BOE on 2/26/13, have been presented to the State of Kansas to assure, prior to ordering the bus, that the bids meet grant specifications.
Brungardt updated the Board on the ongoing GBMS gym construction and the GBHS parking lot.
The BOE received a message from the superintendent of Skyline Schools USD 438 expressing gratitude to USD 428 for their generous assistance on 2/12/13 following mechanical problems with their bus which was transporting students to Hays for the FHSU Science Relays.
• Received information about the proposed new Health textbook to be used at Great Bend High school. The Board will make a decision at the April 8 meeting.
• Yearly purchase of hardware and software was approved unanimously.
• Approved the purchase of graphing calculators for the high school math classes.
• Approved the purchase of 60 iPad minis for the Great Bend Middle School, utilizing funds from the math grant that are required to be spent on technology.
• USD 428 Curriculum Director John Popp reported the English Language Arts teachers have submitted their list of novels for next year, but are continuing to study new writing software that will meet the needs of the common core curriculum. He will provide more information at the April meeting.
The BOE moved to meet in executive session first for five minutes for the discussion of school security, for 15 minutes for the discussion of negotiations, and a third time for 10 minutes for the discussion of nonelected personnel. No actions were taken.
The Board will meet again at noon on Tuesday, March 26 at Lincoln Elementary School.