Goessel expects steady enrollment for 2003-04

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel school superintendent Chet Roberts told the school board at the Aug. 11 meeting that he expects a full-time equivalent of 287.3 students this year.

“That will put us a little bit below last year, but not much,” Roberts said. Last year’s FTE was 1.9 higher.

Roberts said he expects next year’s enrollment to increase slightly, then decrease a bit the following year, and then increase again.

“We should stay right around 280 and 290-I feel like we’re stabilizing,” Roberts said, but reminded the board “these are just projections.”

Elementary/junior high principal John Fast said he was looking forward to a good year. He reported that there were a few enrollment “surprises”-students unexpectedly either coming into the school district or leaving it.

But Roberts said, “We haven’t had any seven to 12 surprises at all.”

At the time of the school board meeting, enrollment was not complete. Enrollment had been held that morning and would continue the following evening.

Roberts commended the secretaries for their work in organizing registration and for the packets of information they assembled. He gave sample packets to the school board. Roberts said the packets contain a waiver that parents may sign if they wish to withhold their child’s name from military recruiters. He said the law now requires schools to give student names to the military unless parents sign the waiver.

Fast commended the custodians for their summer work.

“The facilities are looking really good,” he said.

The board discussed the new state law for bus speed limits. Roberts said the new law allows buses to travel 55 mph on county roads, 65 on state highways, and 70 on divided four-lane highways.

“We have a great bunch of bus drivers,” Roberts said, “and I don’t have a problem with raising it.”

The board decided the maximum speed for Goessel’s buses would remain 55 mph on county roads, but would be raised to 65 on state highways and interstates.

The state’s maximum speed limit had been 45 on township roads and 55 for all other roads, even interstates. Some thought the 55 speed could cause a traffic hazard on the interstates.

Roberts said the football lights are up but not connected. He wanted that done by Monday. Roberts reported that construction of the new track is scheduled to begin at the end of August and should be done by Nov. 1, depending on weather.

He had been told that the first seven to 14 days will be spent on drainage issues, “which will make it a tough project, but the track itself won’t be hard to do.”

Roberts passed around a sample of the 1/2-inch surface coat that will go on the pole-vault runway. He said the track surface would be 3/8-inch thick. Roberts said the coaches have expressed appreciation for improvements that have been made and those that are in the planning stages.

Board member Maynard Knepp suggested installing an underground watering system for the track area.

“You save a lot of water,” he said and added, “It would save Norm a lot of work out there.”

Knepp suggested a system with no sprinkler heads. “Now’s the time to do it, when the track is torn up,” he said.

Drake said, “It has to be installed right” and that the pipes would have to be drained so the water would not freeze in winter.

No action was taken.

Board president Lynel Unrau commended Wally Schultz for his work on planning the track. Unrau and Roberts had gone to look at the track facility at Oxford, which is a Class 2A school.

“They’ve done a good job,” Roberts said. “They’re very satisfied.”

Unrau said Oxford maintenance personnel were pleased with their Apex surface. He said Oxford uses indoor/outdoor carpet for the cheerleaders and mats for cross-overs and cleats.

In other business:

— Fast said open house at the grade school will be held at 7 p.m., Aug. 26.

– Roberts presented Unrau the Kansas Association of School Boards boardsmanship award.

– The budget hearing was held at 6:45 p.m., just prior to the meeting. During the regular meeting, the board approved the 2003-2004 budget of $2,192,253, which is 56.982 mills, down slightly from last year’s 57.089 mills.

– Roberts said the school’s adult meal rate needs to be raised from $2.35 to $2.40 since the state’s new free-meal reimbursement rate is $2.40. He said adult lunch prices have to equal to the state rate in order to qualify for the reimbursement.

– Roberts and the board discussed locking in the natural gas rate. Drake said, “I think we should pursue it because they’re talking of doubling the price.” Roberts said the current rate is close to $5 per unit. Knepp said, “If you can get it anywhere under $7, I’d lock it in.”

– Roberts expressed appreciation to Citizens’ State Bank for the mini school calendar books. “It’s a big help,” he said. He also thanked the bank for the sacks of goodies for the school board and staff.

– The board discussed the specially equipped special education bus that is currently not needed.

Unrau said the bus is not running and Roberts said it would cost $2,000 to $2,500 to fix it. But Roberts said, “I don’t think we want to sell it; they’re very expensive to buy.”

The board decided to park the bus at the grade school for now and fix it if the need arises.

– Drake reported on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. “Most of the other districts appoint a substitute [representative],” he said.

The board decided that anyone on the USD 411 board, except Mary Rosfeld-who is a MCSEC paraprofessional in the Goessel school district-can substitute.

– Drake said MCSEC is reorganizing technology and is now contracting with the Marion and Hillsboro school districts for service instead of contracting it out.

“I think it will work well,” Drake said, adding that a new server will be needed, and all equipment had to be put under ownership of Marion for licensing.

– Board member Dewayne Voth reported on The Learning Consortium. Chuck Buller of Hesston was elected president, and Voth is vice president.

“Financially, things are looking a little better,” Voth said. “The analog equipment really doesn’t have any value,” he said.

Roberts added, “We’ve been in communication with Sprint about putting in a T-1 line. We have to have a T-1 line; we don’t have an option on it.”

– In accordance with state law, the board issues the following information about salary of key administrators: Roberts will receive $37,500 for his work as superintendent and $37,500 as 9-12 principal; John Fast, K-8 principal, is to receive a salary of $58,000.

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