By RACHEL COLEMAN
• Leader & Times
With just two weeks before the USD 480 bond election, district representatives are doing what they can to educate the public about the issue.
In his report, Superintendent of Schools Paul Larkin provided the board with an update about the public meetings the district has conducted to help get the word out about the upcoming bond election.
“The schedule is getting near completion,” Larkin noted. “When all is said and done, we will have completed 50 presentations.”
Nonetheless, business as usual must go on in Liberal schools, and the agenda for tonight’s USD 480 board meeting includes a long list of routine items, along with seasonal tasks.
First on the agenda is an extra item: a public hearing for amendments to the current-year budget. The notice of hearing reports that the time is allotted in order to hear and answer objections of taxpayers relating to the proposed amended use of funds, and that detailed information is available at the Central Office, 401 N. Kansas, and at the hearing.
As the school year winds down, teacher resignations and retirements have begun to trickle in, even as district representatives start the task of recruiting replacements. In his report to the board, Director of Human Resources/Public Relations Jason McAfee noted that the district has received 103 resumes and conducted more than 50 interviews on site during recruiting trips thus far.
Larkin will attend teacher recruiting events in Las Cruces and Albuquerque, N.M., this week. Other recruiting trips planned for the spring include:
Michigan, Jason McAfee, Troy McCarter;
Colorado State University, Keith Adams, Jason Diesker;
University of Northern Colorado, Gloria Quattrone, Audrey Johnson;
Fort Hays State University, Melinda Cline, Cindy Jones.
Staff travel requiring board approval includes a trip to view recently-constructed school buildings designed by DLR. Larkin said he hopes to include school board members who are on the construction committee, an elementary school principal, a middle school principal and other appropriate district personnel. The trip would only take place after April 8, provided the bond issue is successful.
In his report, Director of Auxiliary Services Robert Burkey announced that “requests for quotes” or RFQs, will now be accepted for summertime services as well as ongoing services for the 2014-15 school year.
RFQs include gym floor recoating, weed control, fire extinguisher services, extermination services, cafeteria vent hood cleaning. Suppliers and service people may view the RFQs on the district’s website, under the “Departments/Bids Quotes” tab.
“Those over $10,000 will be brought to the Board of Education for approval,” Burkey noted.
Burkey will also bring a proposal to the board for purchase of a new lawn mower for the district. His department requested bids from four suppliers, and will recommend the board purchase the lowest local bid, a mower from Trailers & Trails of Liberal for $12,903. Another item up for approval is gym floor refinishing bids for this summer.
In her report to the board, Director of Special Education Vicky Adams announced the creation of an honorary cheerleading position for students with disabilities.
“The position has been established to assist in providing extracurricular athletic opportunities for students with disabilities,” Adams reported, which is required by the office for civil rights. No action is called for at tonight’s meeting, but Adams will update the board as the project progresses.
Finance Director Jerry Clay, who starts off the meeting with the budget revision request, will wrap things up when the item comes for a vote. Additionally, he will bring a proposal to the board to purchase a short-term insurance policy in hopes of reducing the district’s overall rates by combining property and liability insurance with worker’s compensation insurance. Currently, the two policies have different renewal dates. To get both on the same schedule, Clay suggests the board accept a bid from Al Shank Insurance for $70,129 for the three-month period. This would allow USD 480 to bid out both policies at the same time in the future, which might provide better price options.