ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
The board of education for Unified School District 410 approved purchase of two 47-passenger buses at its regular meeting Monday night.
The board unanimously accepted the low bid for the buses of $108,855 submitted by Kansas Truck Equipment, which includes a trade-in allowance of $2,700.
“There’s not much trade-in value on buses,” Superintendent Gordon Mohn told the board.
The purchase will replace a 1987 Ford bus with about 115,000 miles and a 1990 Chevy bus with about 140,000 miles.
Mohn said few school districts want to keep buses with higher mileage.
“The chassis doesn’t last,” he said. “They’re the first things that wear out (on a bus).”
Mohn said that’s the situation with the two buses that will be replaced.
Referring to the low trade-in allowance, board member Rod Koons said, “I would hope we are extending our life service (with the new buses).”
Mohn stressed the importance of maintaining the district’s fleet.
“You don’t want your buses to fail,” he said.
Regarding another recommendation at the meeting, board members Eddie Weber and Dale Klassen voted against purchasing sound system equipment for nearly $20,000 for the Robert C. Brown Gymnasium.
Weber had questioned the importance of such a purchase during the discussion prior to the vote.
“I’m hesitant to spend $20,000 for one event,” he said.
Weber was referring to high school commencement, when the poor performance of the current system is most apparent.
Even though three board members-Koons, Doug Weinbrenner and Mark Rooker-voted in favor of the expenditure, the motion did not pass because board members Debbie Geis and Brent Barkman were not present to cast their votes.
Mohn said he wouldn’t put the issue back on the board’s agenda unless asked. Board member Doug Weinbrenner then asked Mohn to put the issue back on the agenda for another meeting.
In his enrollment report to the board, Mohn said head count-total number of students enrolled-is 684, while full-time equivalence-which takes into account students who are less than full-time-is 654. The official date for count district enrollment in Kansas was Sept. 20.
Those numbers are down from last year (see infographic).
Districts can opt to use either the current year, the previous year or a three-year average in calculating their budget.
Consequently, USD 410 will use its 2002-03 FTE of 678.6 for budgetary purposes.
Mohn told the board the district’s FTE enrollment at the Marion County Learning Center is the highest its been since the inception of the center.
The impact of weighted enrollment for this year will result in a decrease of $66,830 for the general fund budget. The impact of projected FTE for nextyear will be an even larger decrease.
Mohn said USD 410 is not unique its trend of decreasing enrollment. “This is pretty typical of what’s happened across Kansas (in rural areas),” he said.
Mohn also reported:
n Three options for improving the heating ventilation and air conditioning system for the Brown gym at the high school.
n HHS band director Gregg Walker has proposed taking the band to the 2005 Alamo Bowl Parade. Mohn said such a project has the potential to be “a worthwhile experience for the students and parents.”
But, Mohn told the board, he feels several questions must be answered before Walker’s request can be considered seriously, such as plans for fund-raising, specific costs of the trip, a detailed itinerary, and the level of financial commitment expected from students and parents.
“Most of all,” Mohn said, “the marching band must be able to perform in a way that will make the community proud. Right now, they have a ways to go to be a high-quality band.”
The board indicated its agreement with Mohn about his expectations concerning the trip.
n USD 410 business manager Jerry Hinerman has donated his time to assist Community in Schools of Marion County, as way for USD 410 to support the organization. CIS has received funds from a federal grant to hire someone to provide financial assistance. Jerry Hinerman will not continue in that capacity.
Instead, Tamara Hinerman, his wife, will take on those responsibilities and have her office at home.
As part of the transition, both of them will attend training sessions in November in Washington, D.C. The sessions are covered by CIS grant money.
Principal Dale Honeck said he expects to have a vending machine for milk products “up and going by Nov. 1” at the high school.
On behalf of activities director Max Heinrichs, who was at a tennis meet, Honeck also reported two games have been added to next year’s HHS football schedule-one with Chapman and one with Southeast of Saline.
Hillsboro Middle School principal Corey Burton reported good parental response-“with a lot of good comments”-to a survey about homework. He and his staff will begin to discuss assessment issues on Tuesday, based on input from the survey.
The Halloween parade for Hillsboro Elementary School students will begin at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 31, said principal Evan Yoder. Also, weather permitting, he said plans are to conduct an evacuation practice that day with the children.
In other action, the board:
n decided to hold the Nov. 10 meeting and hold a special meeting Nov. 13 to approve the bills and final reports for the month, and to work on fall planning-provided the time suits board members Geis and Barkman, who were not present to discuss the issue. If those dates are not suitable to them, a motion to call a special meeting will be made at the Nov. 10 meeting.
n approved issuing an employment contract to Janette Brubacher for $23,180 to serve as the district’s Alternative Action Project coordinator.
n accepted a donation of $71.35 from Hillsboro Ampride store for HES. Yoder will determine how the money will be used.