Therapy dog to be used at HMS

In Monday’s monthly meeting of USD 410, the school board members voted unanimously to support the purchase of a therapy dog to be used in the Hillsboro Middle School.

Last month, Tonja Wienck, Middle school counselor, presented information regarding the purchase, use, and care of a therapy dog to the board. The board asked Wienck to bring back a written policy for the use of the dog.

Monday night Wienck presented her report and said she was willing to accept the financial responsibility for the dog.

The Hillsboro Leo Club has agreed to provide the initial fee of $100 for the dog, which Wienck said will cover the cost of the dog, vaccinations, and tags.

“When I went into this,” said Wienck, “I thought a lot of money would be involved, but the training facility is a not-for-profit organization and the cost is minimal.

These dogs are raised and trained from birth just for this purpose.”

Board member Reg Matz asked whether a special insurance coverage would be required for the dog, and Wienck explained the dog is “covered just like a school employee,” and that no extra coverage is required.

Board President Doug Weinbrenner asked if Wienck had heard of any negative experiences with a therapy dog in other schools. She said she had not heard of any negative experience with a dog in any of the many school systems in the area who are currently using Therapy dogs.

There was some discussion regarding the costs of maintaining the dog and Wienke reassured the board she was willing to be responsible.

“Most of the other schools have the dog food donated, and the medical care donated by a local vet. Even if that doesn’t happen I am willing to take the responsibility for the dog.

“If it didn’t fit into my lifestyle, or wasn’t okay with my family, I wouldn’t be doing this,” she said.

Matz moved and Watson seconded the motion to accept the dog with the understanding the district is not responsible for any major financial responsibilities for the dog, but may cover some minor charges. The motion passed 7-0.

In other business the board voted to accept the memorial gift of $7,845.93 for the establishing of the Earl Wineinger Memorial Scholarship.

Earl Wineinger had a life-long commitment to Vocational Education in both the Marion/Florence and Hillsboro School districts, starting in 1960 and continuing until his death in May 2000.

Superintendent Gordon Mohn explained Mary Lee Wineinger had requested that USD 410 serve as the ‘caretaker’ of the scholarship money which is available for any Marion county student meeting the criteria.

The student must be a Marion county senior high school student who is “of high moral and ethical character with a strong desire to continue their education. Field of study will be limited to an agricultural related field with preference given to agricultural education.”

Reg Matz was chosen to be a part of the energy management proposal subcommittee to work with other school officials and EMT, Inc.

EMP, Inc. is an engineering company that, according to Mohn, designs, manufacturers, programs installs and services a computerized temperature control system. The small company, under the direction of a retired military officer, has worked with several school districts in Kansas, including Silver Lake.

The firm requires the district appoint a subcommittee to work with the project, and recommends a member of the board be a part of the committee.

Mohn feels the savings possible through the EMP’s temperature control system is worth looking into, “at least through the preliminary engineering stage,” he said.

According to information provided to the board, three types of savings are determined:

“These are the lowest savings ever obtained in the specific type of facility with a CTC system, a theoretical savings analysis of the facility and savings afforded by obtaining the average square foot utility cost of a facility of the building class and type. The “savings” used to project a financial payback is the lowest of these three. The payback analysis includes a cash-basis month of payback, a loan cash flow and capital investment analysis or internal rate of return.”

The board voted to purchase the Skyward Student Management Software package for $31,853.

Mohn explained the current student software, is DOS based and is not “user friendly” and feels the suggested software, available in Windows, will be more useful to staff and possibly parents.

The price for the system includes the software package, conversion of existing data, training and upgrades.

The conversion will start sometime this spring.

The board voted to extend the superintendent of schools contract for another three-year term.

Dane Davis has been working as a custodian in the district since Nov. 27, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Donna Henderson.

Davis was originally hired temporarily through Manpower.

A contract has been issued to Davis which will become effective once he has completed 240 hours of work he contracted with Manpower to fulfill as substitute custodian.

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