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USD 431, community considers entrepreneurship program
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HOISINGTON — A group of community partners, including e-community, Hoisington Chamber of Commerce and the city of Hoisington  have formed in Hoisington  to consider buying a downtown building for use by the high school entrepreneurship class and possibly community members as a place to form small businesses and sell merchandise.
At its regular meeting on Monday, the USD 431 school board discussed the purchase of the building and the proposed usages at length.
There is a property under consideration on Main Street for sale at reasonable price, Superintendent Bill Lowry told the school board.
Lowry said the property would need renovations, and currently has people living in the first floor. If purchased, the building would become property of USD 431. The proceeds of the businesses would support utility fees, which Lowry anticipated being about $300 per month, and insurance.
The superintendent thought the renovations could be completed through volunteer labor. Students in the entrepreneurship program would build business plans. A coffee shop is one proposed idea.
If the program doesn’t work out, the build would be returned and the money invested would be returned pro rata.
During the discussion, Lowry agreed that success of the program could not be guaranteed. Board President Dean Stoskopf said he was uncomfortable with the district purchasing another building because the school district had downsized to save money.
Community member Brian Wilborn was in support of the project and said, “It is a way for all of us to work together and build a business mindset in the community.”
He added, “Failure is also a tremendous learning opportunity, too.”
If approved, the district is looking at the building purchase in November. An example of a school that has made a success of this type of program is the Seed Center in Stafford, Wilborn said.
The board made no decision and tabled the item until next month.
Also, the district accepted a grant for $25,000 for the entrepreneurship program from Community Bank of the Midwest.
In other business, the district held a budget hearing. The board adopted the budget at 54.8 mills, which is close to three mills lower than last year. Lowry showed a graph of the mill levy assessment rates over the past decade, and in 2006, USD 431 was at 66 mills.
USD 431’s valuation has gone up, the school is receiving more funding from the state, enrollment is going up, Lowry said, explaining why the district was able to drop the assessment.
Teacher and FCCLA sponsor Karla Reisner gave a report on the trip the club took to nationals. She also requested permission for the club to travel to Arkansas Nov. 12-16.  Two other schools will travel on the Hoisington bus and will be billed per student.
Board Member Maggie Alderdice said she had been asked why there was a textbook rental fee for parents at enrollment since the school was using iPads. Lowry said the funds for iPads came out of the textbook fund.