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USD No. 480 board members have questions on bills PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 09:29


• Leader & Times

Bills are a very important item for any entity to take care of, and during its most recent meeting Monday evening, the USD 480 school board spent some time near the beginning talking about the district’s bills. 

“There were a couple things that showed up in the bills that stood out to me,” USD 480 school board Vice President Travis Combs said. “For carpeting, we paid $8,000 in carpeting for Cottonwood, where did that go?”

“I couldn’t tell you the room numbers at the top of my head,” Director of Auxiliary Services Mike Rogg said. “But let me follow up on that and see where we’re at. Let me follow up on that and I’ll get you an answer as soon as I can.”

Combs also asked about some carpeting at Sunflower Elementary School.

“There was $15,000 worth of carpet purchased for Sunflower but other than what the bond issue replaced, what happened with that?” Combs asked. 

“For the bond issue, there was some that was replaced,” Rogg confirmed. “Again, let me follow up on that and I’ll get back with you.”

Combs also asked about some purchases made from Brown’s Furniture Store to make sure those purchases were all going to Liberal High School, which was confirmed by Superintendent Renae Hickert. He also asked about some Literacy First training listed in the information and asked if anyone in the district is trained to give those presentations. 

“Assuming it’s the one for pre-K, we kind of consolidated that and our presenter was out on medical leave, so they hired another presenter to come in,” Director of Curriculum and Staff Development Lana Evans said. “All of our new teachers are being trained by our instructional coaches, and it was something the pre-K had requested.”

Board member Matt Friederich also had a few questions regarding the bills later in the meeting. 

“There were a couple different times I’m seeing where we paid tuition fees to different entities like Newman University, Fort Hays State and Kansas State,” Friederich said. “I understand we’re paying tuition fees, but what I can’t get my hands on is who those are going to, for how long or how much longer we’re going to be paying those tuition fees. My main thing is can I have a list of who all is participating in all these?”

“Just briefly, I can tell you Newman and KSU are most likely for the ESL classes,” Hickert said. “With Fort Hays, I’m not entirely certain of that one. But I would definitely like to see who’s getting their ESL endorsement through Newman or K-State.”

Board President Steve Helm said he had asked a similar question at a past board meeting, to which Hickert replied those were for student teachers.

“If you’ll remember, a little more than a year ago, the board approved a stipend for student teachers,” Hickert said. “And I don’t know why it’s called tuition reimbursement, but all those are student teachers.”

Friederich then brought up $20,000 spent to fees to SWKO for some issues.

“I would like to have a narrative of what’s going on, how many more months we’re going to have of that, what’s getting fixed, what’s not getting fixed, what the goals are, I’d just like a better narrative,” Friederich said. 

“At the present, with Mr. Brewer and SWKO, there are several things they’re working with to assist us in getting our technology to where it needs to be,” Director of District Systems Michael Stovall said. “We’re moving and that’s been somewhat painstaking. With all the construction, what we’re really working on is making sure all the systems talk to each other, make sure our safety announcements are working, things like that. So we’re working with everyone to get to that direction. We’re making them turn the corner a bit to figure our what our next step and then making sure that goes well.”

Discussion continued in this vein regarding some of the technology issues for several more minutes with Friederich saying he wanted to be sure the board is properly allocating district resources to solve the issues going on. Ultimately, the board unanimously approved paying the bills listed for the board.

“It’s definitely an experience, it’s not something that just gets solved overnight,” Stovall said. “The more informed decision we can make, the better for everyone.”

“I’m not pointing any fingers and like a lot of others, I want a resolution,” Hickert added. “We have technology issues, we need a resolution. I hear from teachers who are frustrated and they want to be confident those issues are being addressed because it’s hard to teach when your stuff doesn’t work.”

Later in the meeting, the board took on some lengthy conversations and received information regarding a list of certified positions and also received information and heard a lengthy presentation regarding renewing the district’s planned service agreement with JCI. The board also took on a long discussion regarding a list of additional positions, including four maintenance employees (which were approved 4-3 with Helm, Combs and Friederich voting no), a security and sustainability monitor (approved 5-2, with Combs and Friederich voting no) and several paraprofessionals for the elementary schools, which were unanimously approved. The board also approved the purchase of choral risers for four of the elementary schools as well as a VariQuest poster maker for Liberal High School and Eisenhower Middle School. 




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