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Assistant Superintendent John Popp

Two open teaching positions at Great Bend High School have been filled.

Dr. Daniel Murray will teach science and Oscar Torres will teach agriculture and welding. The announcement and board approval came at a special Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting held Tuesday morning at the District Education Center.

When the board accepted the resignation of agriculture and welding instructor Kevin Hoff earlier this month, Assistant Superintendent John Popp said the welding program at GBHS could be in danger if a teacher wasn’t found.

On Tuesday, he commented on the latest hirings and the positions still open in the district.

“These two are local people who saw an opportunity to teach and fortunately have a path to being licensed for us,” Popp told the Great Bend Tribune. “It is very hard to find licensed teachers, especially in June. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses have a special exception for teacher licensure for some positions.

“Specifically for welding, if we are able to find someone who is a certified welder and has more than five years of experience employed as a certified welder, the KSDE (Kansas State Department of Education) will issue the district a license for the teacher to teach under for a set period of time. So, that is what we were able to do. And it is a very important find as we would have been hard-pressed to continue to offer welding courses without someone who can teach the students how to weld.”

There are still eight openings for licensed teachers and the district is still looking to hire fully licensed teachers, Popp said.

“Four of these are instructional coach positions that we will leave open because we need to fill classrooms.  The other positions are filled with substitutes or other people who are not fully licensed.  I do not expect to be able to hire any additional licensed teachers at this time, but there is always a chance someone shows up that we were not expecting.”  

Ending 2021-2022

The special school board meeting was scheduled to approve budget transfers for the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year and pre-paid expenses for the 2022-2023 school year. That and other business on the agenda took just over 20 minutes.

Pre-paid expenses that were approved included two insurance renewal payments.

The district property insurance for the 2022-2023 year will cost $286,472.26. The renewal quote was $84,056.42 higher than the previous year. It was purchased through the Kansas Educational Risk Management Pool (KERMP), a member-owned consortium made up of K-12 Kansas school districts.  

The 2022-2023 student accident insurance was also purchased through KERMP at a cost of $15,867.45. This insurance provides accident insurance for K-12 students involved in athletics and other school activities. Another company’s quote submitted for this insurance was $31,500.

Another pre-paid expense for the next school year was $30,320 for paper.

In other business, two donations to the district were approved:

• The GBHS FFA club will receive $1,215 from Liberty Steel & Wire Peoria (Red Brand Fence), thanks to a funding initiative through the Great Bend Co-op, a local Red Brand dealer.

• Helping Hands Preschool will receive $5,000 from the GBHS Kayettes for playground equipment.