Marion school board approves school bus purchase

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DONNA HAJEK
The USD 408 Board of Education approved the purchase of two new school buses for Marion and Florence schools at the board’s July 21 meeting.

Business manger Martin Tice presented two bids: one for a 2003 47-passenger bus for $52,415 with delivery in 30 days; the other, a 65-passenger 2004 bus for $54,280 available in 30 to 60 days.

Both bids were approved.

A trade-in allowance of $3,500 was offered, but the board chose to advertise the sale of two older buses and two used Suburbans and receive sealed bids for them. It was agreed to take the trade-in allowance if the bids are not acceptable.

As part of their discussion, board members addressed the use of seat-belts on buses. It was noted that lap belts are the only realistic possibility, but enforcing their use is unrealistic. But Superintendent Gerry Henderson said the high-back seats made school buses safe for children in case of an accident.

This meeting was the first for three newly elected board members: Chris Sprowls, Sarah Cope and Kathy Meirhoff. They joined continuing members Rex Savage, Gene Bowers, Keith Collett and Roger Hannaford.

The board re-elected Savage as its president and Gene Bowers as vice-president.

The board also approved the appointment of Tice as board clerk, Becky Summerville as treasurer, Chris Costello as board attorney, and the Marion County Record as the official newspaper.

By using its rotation policy, Marion National Bank was chosen as the district’s bank.

Other appointments made for 2003-2004 were: Chris Sprowls to the District School Improvement Team; Roger Hannaford to the TEEN board; Keith Collett as the special-education representative with Sarah Cope as the alternate volunteer in training.

The board spent significant time discussing new legislation regarding the distribution of state funds. Tice reported the transportation fund is now eliminated as a separate fund, and those expenditures are now added to the general fund.

This, however, creates a situation where supplemental funds must be used for something else-which moves expenditures from the general fund to the supplemental general fund.

Knowing special education funds will be needed in the future, Tice suggested the board “carryover” those funds.

The board accepted his recommendation in order to have access to those funds in the future, and at the same time maintain the present mill levy.

The board was reminded of a retreat planned for late August or early September at Country Dreams Bed & Breakfast near Marion. Henderson will be the facilitator of the retreat and asked board members to suggest issues for discussion.

Henderson said his initial plans is to review budget issues, leadership options, and how to serve special-needs students. Bowers suggested the board address the “technology role and where we want to go.”

In other business, the board:

approved a 2003-04 school calendar of 1,116 hours over 186 days.

agreed not to increase school fees, textbook rental or lunch and breakfast services.

accepted a letter from Mary Griffith, Future Educators of America sponsor, requesting permission to raise money for the organization. It was discovered during the annual audit that permission for fund-raising was not requested last year. Griffith’s letter eliminates the discrepancy for this year.

accepted resignations from Tammy Gross, bus driver, a position that will not be replaced, and from Tassie Britton, a cook at Marion Middle School.

approved requests from three families for acceptance of out-of-district students. Five additional students will join the school system.

accepted the bid from J&K to provide milk for the coming school year.. Three milk bids were submitted.

agreed that the board’s April meeting, which lands on a school holiday, will be held as scheduled, and that board-meeting times will remain the same.

approved faculty handbooks as submitted.

approved the appointment of Rhonda Hett remains as food service representative, Henderson as hearing officer for free and reduced meals, Henderson as suspension and expulsion hearing office, Tice as the representative for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, Becky Summerville as an additional signer for KPERS, Tice at the representative for Kansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield; and Henderson and Tice as authorized purchasing agents.

was told the board will meet ion special session at 4 p.m., July 24, to approve the publication of the 2003-04 budget.

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