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USD 428 administrators say school restart is going well

The first few weeks of school at Great Bend USD 428 have gone well, Superintendent Khris Thexton told the Board of Education Monday. Students had no difficulty getting into the new routine of morning temperature checks and wearing masks for most of the day.

“They were so excited to be there – they didn’t care what they had to do to show up,” he said.

“We appreciate everybody’s support and everybody’s understanding,” Thexton said, adding he hopes it continues.

The enrollment headcount on Monday at 2,753, compared to 2,809 in September of 2019. Sept. 21 is the official day for turning in the enrollment count that is used to determine state funding for the following year. A student who is enrolled on that day but absent for illness or quarantine may still be counted.

Thexton said that while he would have liked to see an increase in enrollment, he felt Monday’s headcount was “fairly level” with only 56 fewer students than the year before.

Here’s a quick look at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting:

• The board approved notification of the Title VI B and Early Childhood Flow-Through Budget Application.

The public must be notified of the Title VI B and ECH budget, which covers salaries for licensed special education staff salaries. The 2020-2021 application amounts to $1,016,476 for Title VI B pass-through funds ($32,654 higher than the prior-year) and $40,434 for ECH ($97 higher than the prior-year). The budget application will be available for public review at the Barton County Cooperative of Special Education for the next 30 days and will be approved at the October school board meeting.

• The list of Site Council members for 2020-2021 was approved.

• The board approved the purchase of a forklift for the District Education Center, replacing a 1972 model that is no longer working and is irreparable. A forklift is used regularly to unload pallets of copy paper, books, supply orders, furniture, etc. from delivery trucks throughout the year. The administration presented three replacement quotes and the board approved the low bid of $24,672 from Berry Material and Handling in Wichita.

• The board approved replacing two sets of aluminum bleachers that were damaged in a June 16 windstorm. Insurance Planning Inc./EMC approved an insurance claim to replace one set located at the GBHS Memorial Stadium (the designated section for middle school students) and one set at the Cavanaugh Soccer Complex. The replacement cost of two sets of bleachers is $35,400, with a $25,000 deductible.

• Assistant Superintendent John Popp reported that, in light of COVID-19, USD 428 will work with the families regarding the student immunization policy requiring student immunizations to be current by October 1. School nurses will monitor student immunization records and relay information to the principals to make decisions on enforcing the policy.

• Immunizations were part of the Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum Report presented by Popp and by Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser. They also reported on the mentoring program for new teachers, professional development classes, and updates related to the pandemic, including remote learning.

• Superintendent Khris Thexton’s report included information on the start of school, school open house videos, enrollment numbers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s free school meal program, Suicide Prevention Month and Fire Safety and Awareness Week.

• Grants and contributions were approved:

- Myers Chapel A.M.E. Church donated $250 to Riley Elementary School for recess activity/yard games and shoe vouchers for students in need and $250 to Park Elementary School for student lunch accounts and shoe vouchers for students in need.

- Mike Niedens with Niedens Construction donated a used 3-phase table saw to the USD 428 maintenance department for use within the district. The approximate value of the equipment is $1,500.

- USD 428 Food Service will receive $54,990 from the USDA Federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.