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Riley, Park schools get Chromebooks
Park PTA donates $11K for playground
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The Great Bend USD 428 school board approved the purchase of Chromebook computers and software for two elementary schools when it met Tuesday. The board also accepted a donation for future playground equipment at Park School.
Final expenditures and budget transfers for 2014-2015 were also approved at the special meeting, which wrapped up the fiscal year.
Chromebooks and Google Management Licenses were purchased with federal Title I funds. Assistant Superintendent Khris Thexton said the laptop computers are for classroom use at Park and Riley schools. The total cost was $46,095 and the purchase followed federal guidelines and the district’s technology plan.
There was a deadline for when the money had to be spent and how it could be used, Thexton said. “This keeps Title I funds at zero and keeps the federal government happy.”
The Park School PTA donated $11,436 to that school, Superintendent Brad Reed said. The gift from the Parent Teacher Association is intended for the purchase of playground equipment.
The board also approved paying Fee Insurance its premium for 2015-2016 property and liability insurance, $126,371. Thexton said this is the final year of a three-year contract and he described the company’s service as “excellent.” The cost increased about $21,000 over last year, which he said was mostly because of hail damage throughout the Midwest.
Appointments were approved for three licensed teachers: Daniel Leech, social studies teacher at Great Bend High School; Darcy Leech, technology instructional coach at Great Bend Middle School; and Lori Tennis, math instructor at GBMS. The board also approved the resignation of Meredith Musil, English instructor at GBHS.
“We’re getting close on our staffing,” Reed said. “We still have some openings across the district, but things are getting close.”

Year-end transfers
The board approved end-of-year budget expenditures and transfers as presented by Thexton.
Expenditures were pre-paid expenses for 2015-16 school year, and included the property and liability insurance premium, $126,510; worker’s compensation insurance through the Kansas Association of School Boards, $240,430; and $25,456 for paper.
Transfers included money that flows through the general and supplemental fund to their own special funds:
General fund transfers – special education, $2.2 million; at-risk, $2.6 million; bilingual education, $659,368; vocational education, $466,394; at-risk (4-year-old), $57,780; professional development and textbooks, $50,000 each.
Supplemental fund transfer – at-risk, $1.4 million.
Other transfers from the general fund were: $441,516 for capital outlay, and $14,764 for the parent education program. Another transfer from the supplemental fund was $860,000 for special education.

Budget questions
“We are working to close the books for 2014-2015,” Thexton said. Preparing next year’s budget may take longer than usual, because of changes in the state funding formula. Per-pupil funding is being replaced with block grants.
“It’s a whole new ball game,” he said. The district has until Aug. 25 to submit its budget to the county clerk.
Last Friday, a Shawnee County District Court panel declared that key parts of the new state law for funding public schools violate the state constitution and ordered an immediate increase in aid. Reed said the court ruling is not likely to have any effect on USD 428 in the short term, as he expects it will be appealed.
Eventually, he said, the state should have to restore $300,000 in funding cuts to the district, but Reed said he doesn’t expect that will happen in the next year.