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Teachers Return
USD 428 welcomes teachers with Back to School Bash
USD 428 back to school bash 2019
Drummers from the Great Bend High School Marching Band are shown on stage Wednesday morning at the Back to School Bash for teachers and staff at USD 428. The entire band was on stage in the GBHS auditorium, and then musicians moved to either side of the auditorium as the drum line stayed on stage for a rousing Back to School rally. - photo by Susan Thacker

Teachers and staff at Great Bend USD 428 were back in school Wednesday for their annual Back to School Bash.

They were treated to breakfast in the Great Bend High School Commons and then assembled in the auditorium where they heard music from the GBHS band and met the new band director, Grant Matthews.

Superintendent Khris Thexton gave the official welcome.

“Schools aren’t meant to sit empty,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy that flows through these buildings and we’re happy to be here.”

He provided a quick summary of the USD 428 Facilities Improvement Bond questions. Ballots for the two questions totaling nearly $45 million in bonds will be mailed to district voters next week.

“This is our first phase,” Thexton said, noting the facilities master plan created by a study committee looked at needs for the next 30 years. The bonds would be paid back over 20 years, raising the mill levy to about 55.72 mills (a 14.42 mill increase) based on current valuations.

People have asked when the second and third phases of the master plan would be initiated and Thexton said there is no time line for that.

“At this time, this is our best option. We don’t know what’s going to happen 10 years from now,” he said.

“Every building gets touched in this bond,” Thexton said, describing plans for safety measures, storm shelters, preschools and other improvements. 

“Your vote does matter, in any election,” Thexton said. Even though it is too late to register to vote in the mail ballot election, the Great Bend League of Women Voters had a table set up at the Panther Activity Center for anyone who wanted to register to vote.

The PAC was the scene of the annual Business Showcase, sponsored by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. But before the teachers and staff headed to the showcase, Great Bend-National Education Association President Emily Mulch invited them to stay for a few minutes to learn the latest news from GB-NEA.

Over at the PAC, approximately 65 local businesses had tables set up and offered freebies and specials to the teachers and staff.

Great Bend Tribune Circulation Manager Shonita Swank had free copies of the morning paper and also signed up a few teachers for the Newspapers in Education program. NIE provides free papers and materials for teachers to use as a “living textbook” in their classrooms. Many teachers sign up for NIE every year but there are always a few who haven’t heard of the program, Swank said. “This venue is great to sign up new teachers.”

Teachers could also sign up for a drawing for a Chamber gift certificate.