By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The USD 480 school board tackled a lengthy agenda at its meeting Monday night.
One of the first items attended to in the Good Things portion of the agenda was naming West Middle School’s Zeb Tiedeman as May’s Teacher of the Month. West Middle School Principal Troy McCarter praised Tiedeman’s work as the school’s band instructor.
“He’s lived up to high expectations,” said McCarter upon presenting the title. “And one thing I can tell you about him is when you go to his classroom, he models everything he expects of his kids – if he has high expectations of his kids, it’s only because he has high expectations of himself.”
The other part of that portion of the agenda praised Liberal High School for its recently being named an AVID demonstration school. The school was also recently named the number two high school in the state and is only the second school in Kansas to get the AVID honor. The first one was given more than 10 years ago.
LHS principal Keith Adams talked about the process the school took to get to this point and said the students worked incredibly hard.
“It’s something we’re very proud of, we worked our butts off for this,” said senior Tania Sarabia, who has been with the AVID program for several years. “It’s a way to show Liberal High School that we can do anything we want to – we worked so hard for this and working hard does pay off...it’s like a legacy for students to keep rising and rising.”
Another major item covered in the meeting was the presentation given by school nurse Michelle Hays, who updated the board on the challenges facing the school nurses. Hays talked about the severe understaffing of the nurses and all of the maladies the nursing staff has to help with in the district, including for students with diabetes, brain injuries and other chronic illnesses.
“I hoep that you can see that the school nurse is not just someone in an office doling out band-aids,” said Hays. “It does require some complex skills and independent judgement.”
Hays also talked about how it’s not just the nursing staff having to be trained in dealing with certain problems – the teachers and administrative staff in the schools are also being trained to help when needed. After Hays’ presentation, Superintendent Paul Larkin commented on how at future board meetings there will be discussion on how to alleviate some of the burden.
“I had no idea there were so many things for the nursing staff,” said board member Steve Helm.
There were several other items under the New Business section, including several summer projects like the HVAC replacement, concrete replacement and additions and a roofing project. The roofing project will be completed by DV Douglas and drew some comments and criticism from board members Steve Helm and Tammy Sutherland-Abbott due to the nearly $20,000 difference in bid amounts.
Director of auxiliary services Robert Burkie defended his reccomendation, saying he chose DV Douglas over the other companies because of the superior overall quality of work compared to before and that it will save money in the long run.
“It’s maybe $20,000 here but at a 20 year warranty, we’ll come out a lot better off because we had been spending over $20,000 on repairs,” he said.
The board approved several other items under the New Business section, including a Phase 1 environmental study, geotechnical studies and land surveys to be done before the district closes on properties. A Memorandum of Understanding for the retention of the recently implemented Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) program at Liberal High School. The board also approved the rehiring of classified staff and replacements to several positions, including director of auxilliary services.
One of the last items to be approved was the renewal of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment for 2014-2015 for $47,750. The board also approved an update to its contract with DLR Group, Inc.
The last things on the agenda were board comments, an hour-long executive session and then a 20 minute executive session concerning discussion of personnel matters for non-elected personnel and other matters requiring legal counsel. There was no action taken after the executive session and meeting adjourned at 9:42 p.m.