The USD 460 School Board met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, April 22.
During the audience comments, Hesston resident Jackie Nelson expressed concerns regarding the process of hiring coaches as teachers.
• The Educational highlight featured business teacher Dori Roth and FBLA National Qualifiers Liz Reimer and Kiley Varney.
Varney and Reimer gave the presentation that qualified them for national competition.
The second educational highlight was presented by Trevor Foreman, the technology education teacher and sponsor of the robotics program.
Foreman gave an update on the team’s exceptional performance and awards at the recent Sack Attack competition.
Student Nolan Casimir, a member of the team, demonstrated one of the robots.
• School Board member Chuck Buller gave the Kansas Association of School Boards reports.
Buller reported that the new conceal carry law does not apply to schools, since schools are not municipalities.
“If someone has a permit, they still do not get to carry in schools,” he said.
• Superintendent Paul Becker gave an extensive report on several items.
Becker addressed the Local Consolidated Plan audit.
“Tuesday [April 23] at 1 p.m. we meet with a state rep and discuss what done with Title 1 reading. Elementary School Principal Chris Roberts will be a part of that along with Title 1 people. It should be a 45 minute conference call. We are not anticipating any issues with that,” said Becker.
Becker addressed the Anti-Bullying plan review with the school counselors and curriculum director Darla Smith.
“Darla met with counselors to go over the plan and review. There are things they came up with that we will consider for the future. Some of this is just getting on the same page and talking among counselors. The State Board voted 6-3 that they are going to hire a vendor to do some additional things with districts with bullying. For us, I didn’t think that was needed,” said Becker.
Becker and High School Principal Ty Rhodes attended an active shooter seminar in Emporia.
“I thought it was pretty good. There were no specifics as far as suggestions, but they went through the Columbine and V-tech shootings. They were very eye-opening. There were things in columbine that I didn’t know where there.
“With columbine law enforcement changed their viewpoint. Before then, they were trained to negotiate. In this case, it was the worst thing they could have done. After that it’s all about time. Getting in and one highway patrolman said, “The public would rather see a law enforcement officer killed than a student or teacher.” All life is precious, even with what we’ve been talking about. But it has become a matter of how can we buy time. That is one variable that schools can control. We are looking into that. It was very helpful,” said Becker.
Becker reported there will be a health insurance rate increase for district employees.
“The rate will go up $59 for a single, which turns out to be, for the people we have, $60,000 if we want to continue that. To keep the grandfather clause, we have to keep within 5 percent of the premium increase. That is a lot more than what I was hearing. One district in Kansas is going up 60 percent. I’m afraid, this is just me, based on some of the regulations, I think that cost will go up again next year. With no new money coming from state and those who are on health insurance and take a family plan, the single went up 14.8 percent and the family over 15 percent. Any employees on family plan have less take-home money than last year unless the district gives them a raise,” said Becker.
Becker also reported 59 children at Kindergarten Roundup.
• Board members discussed cost estimates of the FBLA National Competition trip.
“Based on registration of $94 per student, a cost the district will cover, as well as Dori’s expenses, the students will be responsible for raising $1,400.
A list of fundraisers was requested for the Board to approve at a future meeting.
• Budget projections for the FY2014 budget were shared. The superintendent expects next year's enrollment to be 810-820. It is expected that the Court of Tax Appeals will render its decision on AGCO's tax protest in the next month or two. The result of this case will affect the budget.
“With vocational, we will be adding $26,000 because we will have more pathways. And it could be $93,000 to $94,000 for vocational.
“In at-risk, when enrollment went down, we were down about 10 students.
“Transportation, with fewer numbers, dropped a little bit,” said Becker.
However, Becker said when looking into the Local Option Budget (LOB) finances became more complicated.
“On the LOB side this gets tricky. The state continues to put in the same amount of money. Basically, this year they built around 80 percent prorate which is down 5-6 percent. The rate should end up 79-80 percent. It’s pretty close,
For next year the prorate is set for 76 percent. I asked how much in tax dollars we’ll be short. It is looking like between $50,000 to $60,000 that’s about 1.6 mills. If we raised 1.6 mills, we would get the same dollars we got this year.
“Which really, we’re not in a position to take any less. Since the AGCO tax protest, we had to plan if they got all of that.
“Latest news on that - that process, I’m hoping, within the next month will be determined. What I’ve been told is that the original, what AGCO put, was asking their assessed valuation to drop down to 24 percent of what they were paying. In the process, their own appraisers come out that it’s about 60 percent and the county came out to be 80 percent. Basically down 20 percent from what it was.
“Say assessed valuation was $5 million, county came in at 80 percent. That lowered it to $4 million. So basically with that, the anticipation might be that’ll come in around 70-75 percent. Since we planned for that, if we break even, 50 percent for AGCO, that washes away the 1.6 mills. Assuming assessed valuation will go up.
“Based on that knowledge we might have additional latitude where we wouldn’t have to raise mills to get more money back. Again, a lot of that will be determined from what information we get from the county in June and July,” said Becker.
School Board President Mick Petrocci asked if AGCO could appeal the decision.
“We have to plan as if they’re going to get it all over again,” said Becker.
• Board members discussed responsibilities for the Staff Appreciation Year-End
• The board moved to adopt the amended FY2013 budget.
• The board moved to approve an executive session for the discussion of non-elected personnel in order to protect the privacy interests of the individuals to be discussed and the discussion of matters considered to be negotiable items to protect the public interest.
The Board returned to open session at 9:00 p.m.
The board moved to accept the resignations as presented. Resignations include Sally Burkholder as HMS RS Leader, Lynn Wright as HES Teacher Assistant, and Jan Hastings as Special Routes Driver.
• The board moved to employ the slate of returning licensed staff (teachers) for 2013-2014, as presented.
• The board moved to employ the new hires as presented.
New hires include Clint Rider as MS/HS P.E. Teacher and Head Football Coach for 2013-2014 and Logan Moulds as Summer Groundskeeper Assistant for summer 2013.
• Fiscal Year 2014 budget, bus discussion, and FBLA fundraisers will be future agenda