The Goessel school board heard during its Aug. 12 meeting that the projected enrollment for this fall is a “head count” of 278, which is an all-time high since 2005 or 2006.
Superintendent John Fast presented the report, adding that the senior class this year has only 15 students.
On another matter, the board set the evening of Friday, Aug. 30, as the date for a ground-breaking ceremony for the building/remodeling project; it is the same evening as the fall sports preview.
Fast said he will work out details for the ceremony with Scott Boden, junior high/high school principal, and Tyler Schroeder, athletic director.
The board listened to bus coordinator Diana Schmidt and Fast talk about several busing issues and a recent conference on busing.
Fast said the Kansas Legislature has made changes to bus requirements in regard to school district borders, allowing one district to extend a bus route into an adjacent district upon mutual agreement.
Fast and Schmidt said there are adamant opinions against those changes among bus coordinators and superintendents, primarily because of concern about relationships with other school districts.
“We’ve had good rapport over the years,” Schmidt said.
The board agreed that a good relationship with surrounding school districts is important. Board member Maynard Knepp encouraged the school to continue “open communication and flexibility” between school districts.
The board viewed the school district map that Schmidt and Fast displayed. The map showed the jagged school district boundaries. The USD 411 bus routes were all marked, with specific student pick-ups pin-pointed.
Fast pointed out an especially long distance between two pick-up locations on one of the routes, which is even longer than it appears on the map because the driver has to “zig-zag” in order to avoid mud roads.
“It would be much easier if every mile would be gravel or sanded,” Fast said. However, some roads in the district are impassable when they are muddy.
The board heard that bus drivers take extra precautions when picking up children along Kansas Highway 15. The school district’s policy requires bus drivers to pull off the highway completely and drive onto the driveway. Drivers do not make any stops at all on the highway.
Also, routes are planned so drivers do not cross lanes of traffic when picking up or dropping off children.
Fast reported the conclusion to a “long search” for a bus driver.
“I’m very excited to have Joe Base as a bus driver,” Fast said. Other schools are having trouble finding bus drivers too, he said.
The board commended Schmidt and the other bus drivers for their work.
“Diana has done a super job,” Fast said. “I sincerely appreciate it.”
Board chairman Dan Miller added his appreciation for her work.
In other business, the board:
• heard from Fast that custodians Ben Schmidt, Donna Spoonmore, Morris Ewert, Londell Duerksen and Lois Janzen had been working to prepare the school buildings for the new school year. He commended them for their work.
“The crew has done an outstanding job,” Fast said.
Boden said projects included painting, waxing floors, landscaping, plumbing and electrical projects, among many others.
• heard that the first day of sports practice would be Aug. 19, with the first day of school on Thursday, Aug. 22.
• heard that open house at the elementary school would be 7 p.m. Aug. 27. Fast encourages all parents to attend.
• approved a contract for Travis Duerksen for the play director position.
• heard that the school had received good feedback for sending enrollment packets to families in the mail before the enrollment date. That way, families could come to enrollment with their information already filled out, making the enrollment process faster and more efficient.
Board member Darla Meysing said she appreciated receiving packets in the mail ahead of time.
• heard that the school ordered additional desks to accommodate increases in class size for some classrooms.
• discussed technology. Nathan Graber, Joe Biggs,and Ryan Hoopes have been working on computer issues, which includes formatting the new computers that were recently purchased.
• heard from Boden that the school has implemented a new software program that allows for customizable calendars and notifications of activity schedule changes. He said the transition from Novell to Windows should be complete for the beginning of school.
• finished assigning board appointments. Board member Lynnette Duerksen will continue on “meet and confer.” Board member Kyle Funk will be the backup representative to the Marion County Special Education Cooperative in case board member Kelly Booton cannot attend a meeting. Other board assignments were finalized at last month’s meeting.
• heard from Booton that the MCSEC had approved building improvements.
• heard The Learning Consortium report from Meysing. She said the schools in the consortium will not be assessed anything at all this year because the balance is strong.
• heard that staff in-service and staff meetings would be Aug. 19 and 20. Fast invited board members to come to the school at 8 a.m. to greet staff on the 19th. He said Wednesday, Aug. 21 will be a teacher work day.
• heard that the school had lost access to the weather lab data during the heavy rains.
• commended employees for keeping operating costs down in summer, especially being careful to turn off air conditioning except where they were working.
• heard that Wray Roofing and Goering Hardware had been called to deal with roof leaks.
“We’re still struggling with that,” Fast said.
• heard that Josh Walker of Lloyd Builders planned to give a presentation to the city council Aug. 19 regarding utilities for the building/remodeling project.
• approved the monthly bills, with a total of $59,979. Fast said the amount includes volleyball uniforms, refinishing the gym floors, instrument repairs, Go.edu, Wheat State League expense and computer expenses, including a new server and cabling network.
He said routine “beginning of school” expenses are also included in the total amount, highlighting the “Accelerated Reader” program.
“It’s a small amount of money for the use we get out of it,” he said.
Business administrator Chet Roberts said the school had spent only $1,200 to $1,300 this year for water, compared to $3,500 last year at this point.
• approved the 2013-14 budget of $3,770,263, which is lower than last year’s $4,124,823 budget. The mill levy for 2013-13 will be 59.880.