By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The U.S.D. No. 480 board of education tackled a lighter agenda at its most recent meeting Monday night.
The first items on the agenda were the reports from the superintendent, deputy superintendent along with reports from the directors of business, human resources and curriculum and staff development. After those reports were given, the board moved on to new business.
One of the first items in new business dealt with the renewal of the contract between the district and Blackboard Connect Services, a software service used by the district to send important district-wide messages to parents by phone such as inclement weather warnings and other reminders. The board unanimously approved renewal of Blackboard Connect in the amount of $11,749.98
The next item to be discussed included an update to the district’s lease with its current postage solution. The lease to the district’s current solution ends in September and the board unanimously approved the lease of the postage solution from Midwest Connect, which will last 60 months.
A change in the negotiated agreement for the LNEA on Nonrenewal of Teacher Employment Contract was also discussed. LNEA had ratified the change in the agreement, the vote of which ended up being 255-22. The board unanimously approved these changes.
“As I said in the last meeting, teachers all around the state are hearing about how we as a board are working for our teachers to get them what they need,” board member Matt Durler said.
The board also granted permission to apply for a Healthy Kansas Schools grant, a partnership between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas State Department of Education. The grant funds, up to $20,000, would be used to purchase healthy snacks for pre-K classrooms on a daily basis. The board unanimously granted permission to apply for the grant. Board member Nick Hatcher expressed some concerns and questioned why this program could not be extended to all grade levels.
“I’ve got my son who’s a freshman in high school this year and there was some of the staff saying ‘please bring a snack,’” Hatcher said. “They’ve had kids in school and understand what’s going on with the nutrition program and they truly see a need for a snack during the day, a healthy snack of some sort.”
All board members agreed and said how the nutrition program has an inadequate amount of calories to sustain students throughout the day, particularly student athletes burning through calories.
The board also voted Monday night to add space to gym and special education areas in the coming elementary schools, making Liberal schools’ gym sizes uniform. The original plans called for a slightly smaller gym and Teraflex flooring but the board decided to expand the gym space and have hardwood floors instead. This will cost almost $1.9 million but still remains within the bond project’s budget.
After the completion of discussion on new items, members of the board gave their comments and talked about and complimented the recent school open houses and meals welcoming older and new teachers. The board then went into a 15-minutes executive session (during which no action was taken) and after the executive session, the meeting was adjourned.