ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel junior/senior high school principal Stuart Holmes highlighted recent student accomplishments at the March 10 school board meeting.
“The band, choir, and Elbiata turned in stellar performances at KMEA (Kansas Music Educators Association), as did the boys’ basketball team when they earned the regional championship,” he said.
Elementary principal John Fast reported that six sixth-grade students had participated in the KMEA youth choir, having qualified by submitting audition tapes.
Holmes commended Goessel’s two students who placed first and second in the Marion County spelling bee.
“Plans are to celebrate our outstanding test scores on state assessments on March 19,” he continued.
Ten teams of teachers and students will participate in games and other activities as a reward for their achievement.
“We’re proud of our kids,” he said.
Board member Richard Drake added, “Two-thirds of the (Marion County) conservation awards went to kids from our school.”
Besides honors, the two principals reported other activities as well. Fast said fourth- through sixth-grade students would present a musical Tuesday, March 18.
He said that two teams, each consisting of nine sixth-graders, will go to Wichita State University March 29 to participate in the WSU robotics competition.
State assessment tests will be administered in March; fourth- graders will take the science test, and fifth-graders will take the reading assessment test. Fifth-grade invention day was March 6.
Holmes reported that FFA members held a work auction and hosted a staff breakfast. “Drive Your Tractor to School Day” and “Dress as a Farmer Day” were other activities during National FFA Week.
He said the eighth-grade play “Pollyana” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Thursday, March 27, and 7 p.m., Friday, March 28.
Both principals reported that inclement weather had caused some calendar changes. Fast said Family Reading Night was canceled, and he will try to reschedule it. Holmes said the QPA accreditation visit was postponed to March 12. The junior high Quiz Bowl tournament at Goessel was postponed to March 25.
Turning their attention to another matter, board members and administrators discussed the state budget and how it affects schools.
Board chairman Lynel Unrau and superintendent Chet Roberts had attended a government relations conference. Unrau said he learned that only three states are not having budget trouble.
“Many are worse than we are,” he said.
Added Roberts: “I had the opportunity to listen to the budget director, Duane Goossen. He went through the history of how we got where we are today. They’re not expecting a big turn-around soon…. It is a concern. It will affect all of us.”
Unrau also heard other speakers, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who said schools would not suffer further cuts. Unrau attended a session of “Schools for Quality Education,” where consolidation was discussed.
“Consolidation is not always the answer and is not always necessary,” Unrau said.
Roberts said a study will be done this summer, but no consolidation bill had come out of legislative committees yet.
In other business:
Two special meetings were held Feb. 25 to discuss administration configuration in executive session. The issue was again discussed at the March 10 regular meeting.
The board decided not to hire a replacement for Holmes, who resigned as junior high/high school principal. Instead, the board decided to add to the duties of Fast and Roberts.
Fast will become the K-8 principal, adding junior high to his responsibilities, and Roberts will be the 9-12 principal, in addition to his duties as superintendent.
The board accepted the resignation of Wendy Goerzen as cheerleading sponsor. Goerzen said she wanted to watch games as a mother instead of a coach or sponsor. She was the sponsor for one year and had been a coach for four years.
Drake reported on the recent Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting he had attended. He said policies have not been reviewed for a long time, and the co-op board approved a contract with the Kansas Association of School Boards to review and rewrite them.
He said the co-op board is reviewing the efficiency of its staffing. He said a preliminary count shows fewer students in special education next year.
Board member Mary Rosfeld said enrollment at the Oasis school is up. According to Drake, 23 students are enrolled there now.
Roberts reminded the board that next year will be the last year for charter-school funding.
The board discussed fencing for the football field. Roberts would like to see the fence on the north and east sides of the football field done now and put in gates later, along with the rest of the fencing.
Fence around the south practice field has already been installed.
Harold Stultz attended the meeting to propose that Goessel offer wrestling in conjunction with Hillsboro. No action was taken at this point.
The board briefly discussed Parents as Teachers.
“Our district has only one student served right now” through this program, Roberts said, noting that he thinks it is a good service with no economic restrictions for qualification.
It was noted that parents and students must receive annual notice of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, informing them that they may deny the military access to student names for the purpose of recruitment.
The school had received a request from Joyful Noise Day Care, but Roberts said the school cannot give money to fund a day care. Grant money is available for after-school programs, though.
The board viewed the junior high hall that has been improved in appearance.
“I’ve had a lot of positive comments about it,” Roberts said. “It looks pretty classy and is very much appreciated.”
Roberts said the curtains in one classroom are too long and cannot be opened or closed. He has made arrangements to have them fixed.
Roberts commended Patsy Schmidt for the work she had done on the classified employee handbook.