School Board Working to Keep Early Learning Center Running

A number of parents concerned about changes in the Early Learning Center program were present at the regular monthly meeting of the USD 273 Board of Education meeting Monday evening, at the District School Office to express their concern for what is going to happen and the hardships it is going to put on their families because of rate increases.

Superintendent of Schools, Jeff Travis told those present the Early Learning Center is now running at maximum capacity with eighty-eight children enrolled in the program. A change to the grant has put more responsibility on the center. It is not covered under the Board of Education's budget. Travis made a proposal to increase the cost per student per day by one dollar each with a three dollar per day increase for drop-ins. This would increase the budget by $47,000, he said. The 4 day minimum was eliminated.

"We do not want to increase the daily rates but in order to keep the doors open we have to make a change," Travis told those present. The superintendent feels changes need to be made now instead of six months down the road when the program it is really in jeopardy. This is a top-notch facility and the lease is good for the next year. They are hoping there won't be any raises in the cost of the lease, he said.

Mandy Fincham questioned why parents were only given two months notice when the School Board was told about this change last year. A member of the advisory board said she just found out about it three weeks ago herself. Many of those present said this will really put a strain on their family budgets.

Board member Sharra Odle asked what the odds of getting a Corporation to Sponsor the program. Travis said they have just now started to look into to this. Board member, Greg Shamburg, moved they wait until December 1st to implement the rate changes. This would give them more time to try to get corporate sponsors. Board President Jason Johnson put this up for a vote and the board voted 5 to 0 in favor of this action with board member, Brent Budke, absent from the meeting. The rate changes will take effect December 1st.

Superintendent Travis also gave a report on enrollment projections from September 20, 2013. They are hoping to hold this steady with last year's enrollment. He also gave an update on Health Insurance. There will be an In-service Day for Teachers on September 20. He reminded them the Fall Kansas Association on School Boards Regional Meeting will be on October 1, in Osborne. Anyone planning to go should let him know within the next week. The superintendent said he is having administration meetings every Monday or on Tuesday if there is no school on a Monday. Travis shared that the School District is exempt from the Concealed Weapon laws unless they hold a meeting in the Beloit City Office Building where this is required.

The superintendent said they are about to get the new USD 273 website up and running. Some of the Current Highlights include the school supply list, the school calendar, Board of Education Documents and information, information on the 273 Board of Education activities, information from the Superintendent of Schools, and information about the Board of Education and their recent activities. He asked about getting bids on the new parking lot on the south side of the building. He plans to use the same engineering firm they had do the other parking lot. "We need to figure out a more efficient way to pull in and out of that parking lot," Travis said.

Board Chairman Jason Johnson introduced Cory True, President of the Beloit High Student Council. True in turn introduced his Vice President, R.J. Jackson and the other officers of the organization who gave an overview of what their organization does during the school year and the activities it sponsors. Committee Chairmen for the various activities included Sheridan Koster, Decoration Committee; Aubrey Wichers, Fundraising; Bethany Pingel, Recognition Committee; and Emily Brandt, Charity Chairman.

Brennan Eilert, gave a report on the activities of the Beloit Elementary Parent Teachers Organization. They kicked off their fundraiser on Friday August 16. Orders are due Monday August 26th. The students earned $17,000 for BES. Eilert thanked all who helped with the Family Fun Night. 600 people were served. 334 grandparents attended Grandparents Day. The next Box Top competition begins September 16 and ends October 11. The Pizza Hut Sales Night starts September 23 and runs from 3 p.m. to close. 20 percent of the night's proceeds go to the PTO so she encouraged everyone to purchase pizza during that time since 20 percent of the proceeds that evening go to the PTO.

Karen Niemczyk, Special Education Coop Director, reported their department has been awarded the TIP grant in the amount of $22,801. It is used to fund AIMSweb for coop-wide grades K-8 and the Behavior 360 Software for Special Ed. Staff has been trained and this is up and running. The State Performance Plan Indicator 11 is the compliance indicator for timely evaluations. All students referred for Special Ed eligibility must be evaluated within 60 school day of the referral. All five districts of this coop achieved 100 percent compliance. The focus on this years' Leadership Conference was Emergency Safety Interventions. Niemczyk reported this Coop is ahead of most schools in developing these policies and training strategies for the Well-Managed classroom program.

Beloit Elementary Principal, Byron Marshall, reported gave an estimate on the number of students in their building but said these are subject to change. They had 444 students last year and have 454 right now or about 395 FTE. He talked about the Adopt a Classroom program. Marshall thanked the local businesses that donated money or supplies to all BES classrooms. 334 grandparents attended Grandparents Day this year. Upcoming events: September 23, is in-service day for Go Math for teachers. New lunchroom tables will also be installed that day. Installers said these are the second oldest lunch tables they have seen in the State of Kansas. September 27 is Homecoming at BHS so BES students will be dismissed at 1:45 p.m.

Daryl Moore, BJSHS Principal reported on activities at his building since the first of the year. Their attendance is still in flux. At the present it is down about 11 students but this is subject to changes until reclassification on October 20. They have had a great number of changes in the building this year with new people and new personnel in the building but Moore is very pleased that everything seems to be going smoothly. The number of students involved in current classes at the Technical College and CCCC is very high. They currently have about 81 students taking 287 credit hours at CCCC. Many of the students will take college classes second semester.

Casey Seifert talked about the number of student athletes in Volleyball, Tennis and Cross Country and said they are all doing well. They are hoping to stay in the 3A School range for football season. Several other schools are looking at going down to 2A schools and if they do this would greatly affect the Beloit football schedule. He will be attending a meeting that will set the Beloit football schedule for the next two years.

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