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USD 428 saves Christmas
new vlc school board story pic
Eisenhower second grade teacher Gwen MacDonald illustrates where the Walking School Bus routes will travel starting Wednesday, April 1. - photo by courtesy of Jennifer Schartz, USD 428

Uncomfortable silence fell over the USD 428 school board meeting Thursday at a noon meeting at Eisenhower Elementary School.  With two choices on the table for next year’s school calendar, two opposing motions died for lack of a second in a battle of wills over to days leading up to Christmas.
Superintendent Brad Reed presented the choices.  Option 2, approved by the calendar committee, mirrors the present calendar, but with a teacher planning day added on Monday, Aug. 10, and kindergartners starting with two half-days as a transition to school.  Option 2A would have teachers returning on Aug. 12, and students returning Aug. 19 and 20, with the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas being instructional days.
Option 2A, based off suggestions made at the March 9 board meeting, was supported by Larry Kutina who moved to accept it.  When no second was made, the motion died, and Joyce Carter moved to accept Option 2 because it had already been presented and approved by the committee.  Again, no one seconded, and the motion died.  President Kevin Mauler opened the floor for further discussion.  Dwight Young suggested sending Option 2A to the committee first, but conceded the outcome would likely be negative, as teachers do not like the partial week before the holiday, he said.  
Joyce Carter once again moved to accept Option 2, and Young reluctantly seconded the motion.  With only five members present, Carter, Young, Kutina, Mauler and Doug Bender,  Kutina was the only member to vote nay.
Eisenhower Principal Tricia Reiser reported on the instructional facilitation team assembled for next year at the elementary school.  
“Honestly, I believe I have the best team in town,” she said.
Blythe Murphy, currently a reading and writing coach at Eisenhower, will be the technology facilitator.  Lori Harwood will move back to Eisenhower from the middle school to become the math facilitator and will be leading the implementation of the Envision Math curriculum the board approved at the last meeting.  Jenny Witig, another reading facilitator at Eisenhower, will be the ELA reading facilitator, and will be helping teachers fully implement AIMSWeb testing.  
“We’ve had some excited comments by teachers who are looking forward to having a team of facilitators on site at each school next year,” Reed said.  “There are a lot of districts that would love to do this if they could afford to.  We found a way.”  

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

Approval of a resolution against  Kansas Senate Bill, Sub SB171, which would eliminate spring elections and move school board elections to the fall.  The board agreed at the March 9 meeting to have Reed write the resolution.  It would be sent to Sen. Mitch Holmes, the chair of the committee and sponsor of the bill, that afternoon.
Gwen MacDonald, second grade teacher at Eisenhower, reported the Walking School Bus has 65 kids enrolled, and 15 adult volunteers trained to walk four routes starting Wednesday, April 1.  
Approved the following:  (retirements) Lisa Edgett,  grade six teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, Linda Heine, Barton County Special Services gifted facilitator, and Bernie Hartig, Great Bend Middle School physical education teacher. (Licensed Teacher Resignations) Jessica Hacker, grade five teacher at Riley Elementary School, Rebecca Hammeke, Success For All teacher/tutor at Riley Elementary School, Marie Henderson, math facilitator / math teacher at Great Bend High School, Dorothy Ann Hertel, grade five teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, Jami Merlau, speech-language pathologist for Barton County Special Services at Eisenhower Elementary School. (Licensed Personnel Appointment) Amy Williamson, family support worker at Jefferson Elementary School.
Approved future grant applications by teachers for the upcoming round of Cox Innovation in Education grants due April 1.

The board then entered executive session for 15 minutes for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel.  No action was taken.
The next regular meeting of the USD 428 B.O.E. will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 13, at the district office.