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USD 431 sees unbelievable turnout at open house
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Hoisington USD 431 district office. - photo by Veronica Coons, Tribune staff

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:

Five Out of District Transportation requests were approved.

The board approved the publishing of a new district voting plan resolution that will make all board positions at-large. USD 431 voters will either approve or disapprove the plan at the November election. Superintendent Bill Lowry noted that if the measure does not pass, redistricting in the coming year will likely be necessary. Dean Stoskopf, board president, noted that one third to one half of all districts in Kansas, especially those in rural areas, have already moved to the at-large voting plan. Ellinwood and Great Bend are among those at large districts. He said that there were many reasons in the past to elect members by district, but that time has passed.

Six bids total were received for the purchase of the district’s two surplus buses. Lowry recommended the board accept the high bids. Anthony and Diane Lamea will pay $1,210 for the 1996 Bluebird 19-passenger bus, and James Melton will pay $901 for the 1997 Bluebird 65-passenger bus.

The board approved two requests from USD 403 Otis-Bison for use of the district’s buses to transport football players and cheer and pep clubs to Sharon Springs on Sept. 30; Otis-Bison will pay for fuel and cost of driver, provided one is available.

Two weeks into the school year, USD 431 administrators had plenty of good news to report to the Board of Education Monday night.
Administrators at every level in the district reported record turnouts to open houses at each building. The key, it appeared, was holding the events the night prior to school starting, allowing parents and students to bring their school supplies early.
“An unbelievable percentage of our parents showed up at our open house,” Alan Charles, principal at both Lincoln and Roosevelt Elementary schools said.
He reported most classes having a 100 percent turnout, while others were in the high 90s. Enrollment is slightly higher than 2015, he said. There are currently 235 students enrolled at Roosevelt and 111 at Lincoln.
Pat Reinhardt, principal at the middle school and Joel Mason, principal at the high school, reported similar outcomes to their open houses. The middle school currently has an enrollment of
222 students, while the high school has 215 enrolled, ten more than last year. There are also three international exchange students enrolled at Hoisington High School this year.
Teachers at every building are undergoing accreditation training during what is being called the “zero year” for Kansas Can, a new multi-level accreditation program being rolled out statewide next year.
All administrators had positive feedback to give about recent safety upgrades and remodeling completed at each building. Mason said the office flows better now at high school. He also reported that the newly installed bell system is working very well, though they are currently working out minor problems with the intercom system.
Athletic Director Matt Schultz reported fall sports are off to a good start, with middle school football and volleyball teams both winning their first games. Football coaches are now observing new Kansas State High School Athletics Association rules for contact limitation during practices following games. This affects mostly JV teams in the early part of the season. Monday night games will be followed by participation in Air, Bags, Control or Thud only practice periods the day after playing in a game. Another new rule this year is that players may not participate in football games on consecutive days. These rules will be in effect for students at both the middle school and high school levels.
Player safety was the main goal in consideration of these rules, Schultz said.
“We want to make sure that kids that aren’t being overworked,” he said. “It’s a safety action plan.”

 The board entered into executive session for 20 minutes for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel issues. Upon entering regular session, they accepted the resignation of Derek Nicholson as district custodian, and employed Martha Wondra as the middle school volleyball assistant coach and Maggie Miller as the middle school basketball assistant coach. The administrative salaries for Krisa Schneider as the part-time assistant principal for the 2016-2017 school year was approved as presented for the amount of $500. The board then voted to adjourn.
The next regular meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the district office.