The Great Bend USD 428 school board approved a memorandum of understanding Monday with Barton Community College. Superintendent Brad Reed said the agreement, in effect, guarantees the school district can continue to use the college’s indoor pool for the next 12 years with a $10,000 a year lease.
College trustees voted in May to keep the pool open, with the understanding that some agreement would be reached with USD 428. BCC trustees also said a mill levy increase will most likely be needed to cover pool operating expenses and capital improvements over the next five years.
“It’s become quite a public issue,” Reed said. The $10,000 a year lease would go into effect this fall and carry the district through 2027. Because of that, he said, “The administration feel this is a good investment for us, our district and our kids.”
Board President Kevin Mauler commented on the decisions made by both boards. “I’m glad they could come together.”
An overnight trip to Garden City for orchestra students at Great Bend Middle School and Great Bend High School was also approved. Orchestra Director Isaac Enochs said approximately 70 students and 10 sponsors wish to participate in the Western Kansas Orchestra Festival, Nov. 20-21. That represents about half of the students. The estimated cost for each person is $30 for a hotel room and $20 for meals.
“Normally we don’t stay overnight,” Enochs said. This will be the first time middle school students have gone to this event.
The board spent 5 minutes in executive session for discussion of negotiations, and about 42 minutes in executive session for discussion of personnel.
Reed noted that June 1 was the deadline for negotiations to be wrapped up, or they would officially be considered at impasse. However, he has filed the paperwork for an extension.
“We felt with a little extra time we could get the agreement done,” he said. “We’re very close.” The only difference is over salaries, and then the school board and teachers both need to ratify an agreement. Reed also noted that the district is waiting for the Legislature to approve a state budget.
A full-time officer
Reed reported that the school liaison officer job held by Great Bend Police Department Officer Jefferson Davis could change, although he believes Davis could continue in the position. Reed said he has talked with the new Great Bend Police Chief, Cliff Couch, about changing it to a traditional School Resource Officer position.
It is a position Couch himself formerly held, Reed noted.
“Next year we’ll have a full-time SRO with an office at Great Bend High School,” Reed said. The SRO will continue to teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and will be assigned to all of the school buildings in the district, 40 hours a week. That way the officer can spend more time interacting with students and parents. “We’re excited about it; the police department is excited about it.”