Membership of Goessel board to change

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Wade Dickerson and Harding Duerksen announced at the Jan. 8 meeting of the Goessel School Board that they do not plan to run for reelection to the board.


Board clerk Patsy Schmidt announced that candidates for those two board positions must file at the Marion County courthouse by noon, Jan. 23.


Supt. Chet Roberts informed the board that a former student, Lucinda Goossen, 19, had died in a vehicle accident, Jan. 5.


“It was a real tragedy,” he said. “She had a lot of potential.”


Principal Stuart Holmes reported that fire had destroyed the home of a Goessel family that has two high school students and an elementary student.


Holmes said proceeds of a school dance were given to the family, as well as the money the Elbiata group earned by singing at a banquet. He praised the high school students for their donations:


“We were proud of our young people and their generous hearts,” he said.


Holmes explained a proposal that would change the high school schedule from an eight-hour modified block schedule to a more traditional seven-hour schedule. He said the other schools in the TLC (The Learning Consortium) would likely change to a seven-hour day.


He also said a schedule change would make it easier to schedule crossover teachers-those who teach at both the junior high and high school levels. Holmes said the length of the school day would remain as it is now, and every class would meet every day for about 50 minutes.


Currently, some classes do not meet every day because of some longer class periods. The current graduation requirement is 28 units.


According to Holmes, course requirements that are currently offered every other year would still be offered on the same rotation basis.


“We won’t drop any courses,” he said.


Holmes said lab classes would be given extra time. SSR (sustained silent reading) would continue in the proposed new schedule.


Holmes said he met with teachers Nov. 28 and on Dec. 12 to discuss the possible schedule change. Counselor Ken Hartzler had surveyed the teachers for their opinions and ideas. No decisions have been made.


Holmes also reported on the Heart of America League meeting he attended. He said the league plans to limit or eliminate football games of eight-man teams playing teams that usually play 11-man football. He said there are only five eight-man teams in the HOA league: Goessel, Burrton, Central Christian, Little River, and Pretty Prairie.


For the 2001-2002 school year, Holmes said, “Our whole schedule will be eight-man. We’ll play some teams twice. I think overall it’s positive.”


Board member Richard Drake asked Holmes why the HOA has such a long season for junior high basketball. Holmes said the schedule is set up so every team in the league can play all the others.


“From an educational standpoint, I have a hard time with that,” Drake said.


He noted that junior high students have basketball games many Mondays, as well as every Thursday. He expressed concern that it is too much, considering that students are also involved in church activities, and a number of junior high students attend high school basketball games twice a week also. That means they are sometimes gone every evening of the school week.


Board chairman Lynel Unrau agreed: “I had the same concern as Richard years ago already.”


The board discussed payment for school lunches. Some families have not been paying their lunch bills on time. Consequently, the school board established a cut-off point at $50 per building per family.


When a family’s unpaid lunch account reaches $50, lunches will no longer be allowed until the bill is paid. Families will be sent a warning when their bill reaches $35.


Holmes said other schools in the area have tougher policies. It was also emphasized that families within certain income guidelines receive free or reduced price lunches.


Elementary school principal John Fast said the number of students receiving free or reduced price lunches has risen in the last few years.


He said that in 1997 14.4 percent of the students in grades K-12 received free or reduced price lunches; in 1998 that number had risen to 17.6 percent, 24.9 percent in 1999, and 31.3 percent in 2000.


Clerk Schmidt pointed out that the school can apply for a breakfast waiver as long as the percentage of students receiving free or reduced price lunches does not reach 35. After that point, school breakfast is mandatory.


Fast said he is applying for a $16,000 “Generation Y” grant for technology equipment. He said the chances of receiving such a grant are less than 50 percent; 15 or 16 grants will be awarded.


One stipulation of the grant is to train fifth- and sixth-grade students who can then share their technology knowledge with school staff.


Also on Fast’s grant “wish list” is equipment for an in-school television station in the robotics room. The station would broadcast menus, weather forecasts, news, and sports. Anchors would be fifth- and sixth-grade students.


In other business:


— The board approved a new charter for the TLC. Dickerson explained that the budget year would be changed so that it will begin Aug. 1 instead of July 1.


— Roberts reported he has been checking on bus prices. He found that no acceptable used buses are available. He said $60,000 had been budgeted to purchase a new bus. He is checking into Bluebird and Thomas busses. He said that ABS (anti-lock breaking systems) are now mandatory on new buses, as well as back-up alarms.


— Holmes announced plans for an FFA chili supper and work auction. He also commended the outstanding music program. He praised the girls’ basketball team for placing first in the Norwich tournament. The boys placed second in that tournament.


— Fast explained plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Week at the grade school. The week will not only focus on King, but also on other people who have been a positive influence.


— Fast reported that 150 to 200 people had attended the morning grade school Christmas program, and 500 attended the evening program.


— Roberts reported he is applying for Carl Perkins funding for agriculture and business classes.


— The board approved the financial statements of $26,041.89.

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