USD 273 Board of Education Meeting 6-10-13

The USD 273 Board of Education meeting opened Monday night with the approval of the consent agenda including contracts for Katie Cox, Jr. High Science; Michelle Wise, Custodian at Beloit Elementary school; Kevin Harris, Alternative Learning Center Building Principal; Heather Isbell, Pre-School Teacher; and Peg Bohnert, Extended School Year teacher. The consent agenda also included the resignations of Angela Engelbert, Paraeducator and MTSS Coordinator; Kelsi Giebler, Paraeducator; Tina Struble, Paraeducator; Rebecca Thomas, Paraeducator' and Michelle Wise, Co-Director of the Mitchell County Early Learning Center. The consent agenda was approved.
Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Harrison expressed thanks for his retirement reception, and that he had a great day full of golf and good dinner and people. It was also Board member Connie Hager's last month on the board. Harrison presented Hager with a plaque thanking her for her service on the board from 2005-2013, to which there was applause by the rest of the board.
Harrison mentioned that B.E.S. is locked in for their carpet replacement, and that it should take about two weeks. He said that it should be a large job, and they are hoping that the carpet will not be too difficult to take off.
Harrison also mentioned that Security experts from File Safe have been to both BHS and BES and have moved the USD 273 project up on their list. He said that they will be done by the start of the school year. Harrison said that the elementary school will have 2 secured entryways with lock renovation, as will the high school. Harrison also said that the high school will have 16 cameras added.
Harrison reported that the bleachers have been removed from the BHS gymnasium, and that the new bleachers should come in in mid-July to replace them. It should take about a week to install.
Harrison announced that the Kansas Department of Education Budget meeting will take place in Salina on June 24 with Doris Gasper, Board Clerk, and incoming superintendent Jeff Travis attending. He also told the board that the Kansas Association of School Boards meeting will be held the morning of June 25th in Concordia at 7:45, or in Salina at 11:45. He said that it will be a legislative update as well as a look forward at the future.
Harrison also took the time to say that Beloit High has some extra material from the vocational department that they would like to advertise. The material for sale includes a Roller Seamer, 24-inch sheet metal break, 36 inch sheet metal shear and a Johnson Gas furnace for metal that could go on a farm building or something of the like.
At the end of the superintendent report, Greg Shamburg, School Board President, thanked Harrison for his service and dedication to USD 273.
Beloit Elementary School principal Byron Marshall said that he did not have a report, but that BES is ready for carpet work to start, that the year ended well and that summer school is going well.
In Special Ed Director Karen Niemczyk's report, she said that all 5 districts have met requirements. She thanked teachers and building administrators for their hard work to make it happen. Niemczyk said that she wishes the state would provide more information on how parents feel about how Special Ed is doing, but they do not. She said that she anticipates that she will create a survey for the local special education department, and gather her own information.
Beloit Principal Daryl Moore gave an extensive report that included summer school's progress. He said that is has started and will run into the last week of June. He also said that Darrell Kelley is finishing up his college psychology class with 25 students. 12 of the students are from Beloit High, and the rest are from St. Johns, Southern Cloud and Lakeside.
Moore also said that the class portion of the driver's education program has ended, and that the driving portion of the class will be completed by or on June 28. There are 47 students in the program. Beloit High School and St. John's students pay $120 for the program, and student from out of town pay $210. This is because the state pays $90 in reimbursement for students in the town to take the class. He said that BHS doesn't make money, and doesn't even break even from the program. Moore also thanked Beloit Auto and Truck Plaza for offering the vehicles; a service that he said makes the program possible.
Moore said that four students are taking advantage of the Extended Learning Opportunity offered my Special Education. All four students attend BHS during the regular school year, and one lives out of the district. He said that it is not credit recovery, but a program to maintain skills over the summer months, and that it is necessary. He applauded Brandi Paul on her work for the program.
Moore pointed out that the Athletic Account has been used down to $3,000, and they need money for transactions through the summer until money from enrollment comes in. The largest reason that funds are shorter than intended comes from the increased number of state track participants, and the increased entry fee. There were 26 athletes taken to track rather than the usual 12-15, and with meals and hotel costs among other costs, it gets expensive.
Moore noted that after graduating a class of 47 from the high school and bringing in a class of 65, there is an expected increase in enrolled high school students. There is an expected figure of around 248, but Moore said that the number is still fluid. He said that BHS will be getting close to 4A, and that moving to 4A could create some scheduling difficulties with athletics, and could make it so we cannot play everyone in our league to do those issues.
Moore also said that Mr. Channell, woodworking, came in for 3 extra days to help students on projects, and a building for Casey Seyfert. Channell also worked two extra days to get his shop put back together for next year. Moore asked Channell if that is usual, and he said that it was. Channell also asked Moore if there would be a possibility of getting an extended contract, and Moore said that due to budget cuts, he couldn't offer that at this time.
Moore then moved to the business of asking for an added assistant Cross Country coach position, and to add a Jr. High Cross Country program. Brad Mason, high school cross-country coach, was on hand for the discussion. Moore said that he thinks the number for next year warrant another coaching role being added. He said he would rather keep Mason as head coach and add an assistant rather than adding a separate head coach for the girls' team. Mason said that when he had the informational meeting, his class was out of room for students. He said that for the first time, there could be a boys and girls varsity and junior varsity team. He said that he also could use an assistant to help with supervising concerns when numbers are this high. Mason said that the assistant needs to be a female for supervision reasons, and that he has talked to his wife about it. Moore said if the position is established, the job listing will be posted as all others are.
Moore and Mason also expressed interest in establishing a Jr. High team. Mason said that BHS is one of two schools in the league without a Jr. high team, and that the expenses would be very low. He also said that it would be valuable for students to have another extracurricular opportunity. He said that he could be the Jr. High coach as well as high school, and is looking at around 12 potential Jr. High students going out for it if the program is established. Mason said that if he wants to have athletes competing at the state level in high school, he needs to start working with them in Jr. High, and that having a team would help.
Dr. Harrison then moved the meeting to a discussion of authorizing expenditure of the district's contingency reserve funds. Harrison said that the board has talked about using the funds at the end of the incentive period, and that the end of that period has come. He recommends that $100,000 of the $500,000 be transferred. He said with budget cuts, this has become more necessary, and that the money saved in these reserves will help the district meet the challenge of the cuts from the state. He said that it should last an additional 4 years, and that the board should expect no new finding over the next 3 years. Board member Jason Johnson moved to approve the transfer, and board member Brenda Krone seconded the motion with a unanimous approval.
The board also voted to approve the transfer of unencumbered General Gund and Supplemental General Fund balances at the end of fiscal year 2013.
Harrison also said that Amber Schmidt, who is in charge of school lunches, looked up what lunch prices, need to be, and has set a 10-cent increase. The prices will now be $2.30 at the elementary school, $2.50 at the high school and 3.30 for adults to eat, which is a 20-cent increase. Board member Mike Riemann made a motion to approve, which was seconded by board member Sharra Odle, and approved unanimously.
Karen Niemczyk said that there were 2 applicants she recommended in the Grow Your Own Teachers program. Those applicants are Amber Engelbert and Debbie Techmeier. Niemczyk said that these types of positions usually have a lot of turnover due to stress, paperwork and the other rigors of the job. She hopes that having two employees from the area will help to fix that problem. She said that there were only two applicants for Amber's position, and that the school board should feel blessed that Engelbert applied, and that hiring her and Techmeier is the right thing to do. The board unanimously approved.
The discussion then moved to the Beloit High School service learning hours program, which requires students to earn 40 hours of community service before graduation in order to graduate. Harrison said that the school has had increasing problems getting students at a level to graduate because of this program. Moore said that some parents don't think that BHS has the right to prevent graduation due to a lack of Service Learning hours. He said that teachers have been giving plenty of notice, and that still didn't prevent one student from failing to get enough hours to graduate last semester. He said that 31 out of the incoming 62 seniors 0 hours turned in. Moore said that the goal of the program is admirable, but that some students don't have success with it. He said that some parents will complain that is has their kid lying and cheating on how many hours that they have completed. He also said that the program could increase dropouts, and could keep 1-3 from graduating. Moore said that not all students are from involved families that can quickly get hours in programs that they are connected to.
BHS teacher Curtis Pahls, who worked with this year's senior class on their hours, said that he sees this from a different perspective. He said that he sees very positive things coming out of the program. He said that he understands that he doesn't have the pressure of an administrator to produce certain numbers for graduation. Pahls mentioned that there used to be a service-learning day, and that is was a wonderful way to make an inroad to kids who were troubled, and encourage service. He also mentioned that colleges and scholarships look for the service learning experience on applications. He said that there might be extra work on behalf of the school, but that it is worth it for the kids.
Brenda Krone mentioned that the community likes to offer projects for service learning to students. Riemann said that he likes the idea of small groups doing service hours, and that it makes a good impact to see groups of BHS students out helping the community.
Moore said that after calling area 25 schools, only 2 area schools require that students achieve a goal amount of service learning hours, and that they are St. Johns and Sacred Heart. Moore also said that Sabetha student lost her life on a service learning day one time. Moore said that if the board wants to keep the program, the board will have to be ready to tell students that they will not graduate because of it.
Pahls said that there are plenty opportunities through groups like Student Council, Meals on Wheels, community orchestra and others.
Alternative ideas for incentive were tossed around, while Hager said that she believes some kids still need a mentor, and that the service-learning program may provide that.
Shamburg asked why the principal seems to be the one dealing with problems, even thought the money for the programs goes to the teachers facilitating it. Pahls said that the work that the teachers do with the program is more behind the scenes, and that the only one who can deal with a situation as big as keeping someone from graduating.
After an extensive conversation, Shamburg said he would like to wait until at least next week to go ahead on a decision.
In moving to the capital outlay section of the agenda, Harrison said that there has been $84,000 added to the list of expenses in capitol outlay. He said that they include a pottery kiln for high school art, robotics for Duff Watson's technology room and the tables in benches in the BES gymnasium.
Harrison also remarked that the bid for the parking lot repair went up as soon as someone from the company came and took a closer look at the parking lot, where it will now cost around $40,000 more to repair. Johnson also said that in talking to incoming board member Monty Wessling, who was not at the meeting, he described a gutter system that could be useful in the parking lot. Harrison mentioned that the capitol outlay budget included iPad 2s for the district and Diers Painting for the gymnasium with the grand total of $85,396.62.
Brenda Krone also read a contract non-renewal declaration for Barbara A Morgan for the 2013-2014 school year, which was unanimously approved.
At 9:45, the meeting was called to an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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