Marion schools will join MCAA for 2004-05 year

Tod Gordon, Marion athletic director and Marion Middle School principal, told the USD 408 Board of Education that he has received an official invitation for Marion-Florence in the Mid-Central Activities Association.

Ken Arnhold, Marion High School principal, and Gordon visited with the league March 10. Both Arnhold and Gordon reported at Monday night’s USD 408 board meeting, they came home with a “good feeling.”

Gordon said he was impressed with the organization’s acceptance of input from athletic directors with the school principals.

Hoisington also will join the MCAA.

Gordon said the MCAA is looking at dividing the competition by geography at the middle school level to reduce travel.

Names for the division have not been finalized, but an eastern division would include Halstead, Hesston, Smoky Valley, Collegiate, Hillsboro and Marion.

A western division would include Ellinwood, Haven, Hoisington, Lyons, Nickerson and Sterling.

At the high school level, divisions also would be formed by geography-except for football, where enrollment size will be the determining factor.

The division with smaller schools would include Ellinwood, Halstead, Hoisington, Lyons, Marion and Sterling. The division with larger schools would include Collegiate, Haven, Hesston, Hillsboro, Nickerson and Smoky Valley.

The new alignment will take effect for the 2004-05 school year, according to Gordon and Arnhold.

Martin Tice, board clerk, didn’t paint a pretty picture for school budget projection spending. Tice is anticipating an additional loss of $150,000 this year from the Local Option Budget authority, which has already been cut $60,0000.

With no change in student base, no schedule change, having 21 certified staff wages frozen, and no increase for administrators, $14,000 is the projected cost.

A $13,000 cost is expected due to the 14 support staff frozen and again, giving no increase for salary support staff.

Tice added that a projected 15 percent in health insurance rates cost an additional $45,000.

The total loss to the budget would be $282,000.

The projection to balance these costs was to reduce two full-time certified staff members ($64,000) and two members from the support staff ($28,000).

Cutting equipment costs in half ($50,000), transportation replacement cost also by 50 percent ($50,000) and repair costs to $100,000 would create a net balance of $10,000.

Tice said several unknown costs need to be factored, such as utilities, fuel and curriculum, as well as any potential cuts in the state budget.

Zac Ewert, Steven Boone, Jordan Trapp, Marion’s state wrestling competitors, were introduced by coach Chad Adkins. Adkins recognized Ewert as the only senior wrestler. Adkins said Ewert has the possibility of being Marion’s only student to lettering all four years in three different sports.

“I hate to jinx him,” Adkins said, “but I don’t think I will. Zac has more heart than three or four kids combined.”

Chelsea Arnhold, also a state wrestling competitor, was not present.

Adkins praised the wrestlers and commended them for their participation and achievements. He also recognized the two senior managers, Rhonny Bowers and Allison Wegerer.

In other business:

Julie Trapp reported that “Survivor” night, involving 220 students this year, was a success. Gerry Henderson, superintendent, said Trapp also coordinated many after-school activities for students.

The board passed a proposal from Missy Stubenhoffer, district curriculum coordinator, to broaden the oral communication credit to include debate and forensics as well as speech.

The board approved a request to allow a child to attend kindergarten in Marion next year even though the family lived outside the district.

The board approved a request from Valley Methodist Church to use school facilities for its vacation Bible school program.

Henderson reported receiving a thank-you from Oasis students whom had received 10 old computers from the district.

Stan Ploutz, Marion Elementary School principal, reported a committee for crisis management conducted a successful evacuation drill. He also noted the “Carnival Night” sponsored by Parent Advisory Council went well.

Board member Keith Collett said, “The music department is back!” as he commended Marion High School’s performance at the recent convention of the Kansas Music Educators Association.

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