“You’re going to be debt-free. I think the district is in great financial shape.” — Vickie Dreiling, Certified Public Accountant with Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball Chtd.
School will start and end one week later in 2017-18 compared to the current year at Great Bend USD 428, the board of education decided Monday. The board approved a calendar with classes starting Aug. 23 and ending May 24, 2018.
That starting date doesn’t include students in grades 8 and 10-12, who report one day later, and kindergartners will attend half days on Aug. 23 and 24 before their first full day of school on Friday, Aug. 25.
Teachers will work from Aug. 17 through May 25, 2018, finishing the year just in time for the Memorial Day holiday on May 28.
Breaks include a winter recess from Dec. 22 through Jan. 1, 2018 (Tuesday, Jan. 2 will be a teacher work day), spring break the week of March 19, 2018 and Good Friday on March 30, 2018.
Interim superintendent Khris Thexton noted that teachers will have 185 contract days and 172 contact days with students.
This was the second calendar considered by the school board. Last month, board members were shown a calendar similar to the current one, where teachers will check out on May 19. Great Bend High School’s 2017 graduation ceremony will be on May 13, which is also Mother’s Day. Graduation would also have set for Mother’s Day in 2018 if the early calendar had been retained.
The board also approved the 2015-16 audit prepared by Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball Chtd. and presented by Certified Public Accountant Vickie Dreiling.
“We’re giving our highest form of opinion,” Dreiling told the board. She noted that the district ended the period with a cash balance of $19.4 million, up about $1,650,000 from the previous year. This was mostly due to growth in the supplemental budget fund and the capital outlay fund.
Dreiling reported two statute violations but said she doesn’t expect they will happen again. The first occurred when a roofer with a contract for more than $100,000 did not have a proper bond as required by statute. The second violation concerned money that flows through the district to the Great Bend Recreation Commission; due to a late payment the budget authority was exceeded.
She also noted a deficiency in reconciling accounts during the reporting period, which was due to switching software mid-year. “We did have a lot of adjustments that had to be made on the books,” Dreiling said.
There was a “material weakness” on the accounting for federal awards and expenditures because a major grant was missing from the schedule. Dreiling assured the board this was “not as bad as it sounds.” Interim superintendent Thexton said a pass-through grant for the Kansas Reading Roadmap program was not listed because administration assumed it was a Kansas grant when it fact it was federal. The district has implemented a plan to review federal funds monthly.
While there were other recommendations, Dreiling told the board, “I don’t really see too many issues.”
On a positive note, Dreiling reported that the district is down to $4.2 million in debt and is scheduled to pay that off in 2018. If no additional debt is added, “you’re going to be debt-free,” she said. “I think the district is in great financial shape.”
In other business Monday, the board:
• Approved an early class dismissal time of 1:30 p.m. on April 21 for Great Bend High School, so the school can host the District National Qualifying Speech Tournament.
• Approved releasing bids for flooring at Riley Elementary and Washington Early Childhood Center.
• Approved the purchase of a mower from Pro-Green Total Lawn Care, for $11,750 (a 30 percent discount off the list price of $16,623). Because the cost is under $20,000 the district did not have to seek bids.
• Adopted K-6 typing standards that have been implemented by district technology coaches.
• Heard a proposal for the next K-6 English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. After nearly two years of work, the ELA committee recommends “The Wonders” curriculum from McGraw-Hill for use at all five elementary schools. The cost will be $275,653 for the seven-year curriculum adoption. The board will be asked to approve the recommendation in March.
• Approved two donations and one grant application. Traci Miller, Riley special service teacher, has received a $50 Walmart gift card for Literacy Night; the Great Bend High School Future Farmers of America received $575 from the L.R. Stoskopf Memorial; and Park Elementary sixth grade teacher Eric Dowson received permission to apply for a Stand2Learn grant for $2,658. Funds, if granted, will be used to provide 10 stand-up work stations for students in his classroom.
• Accepted the resignation of Kyle Vierra, sixth grade teacher at Park Elementary, and approved the appointment of Jason Drouillard, to teach English Language Arts at Great Bend Middle School.
• Recognized volunteers in USD 428 learning centers and presented a ROSE award (Recognizing Outstanding Support of Education) to Jody Messersmith, head custodian at Park Elementary. Five teachers nominated him, noting their sincere admiration for his positive, kind-hearted nature.