Henderson informs board of intent to retire

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DONNA HAJEK
Unified School District 408 board members sat quietly Monday night as they heard a letter read announcing Gerry Henderson’s intent to retire after six years as superintendent of Marion schools.

By a majority vote, the board accepted the notice, also releasing Henderson from his contract, effective June 30, 2004. All members thanked Henderson for his devotion and noted he would be missed.

“It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had,” Henderson said.

The report of audit manager Donna Fadenrecht was accepted by a unanimous 7-0 vote. Fadenrecht, representing Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk and Loyd, LLC from McPherson, explained a new procedure being implemented: fraud auditing interviews with random school personnel and board members to investigate any knowledge of financial mishandling.

She thanked board members for returning the “related party information” questionnaires, explaining these helped to avoid conflicts of interest.

Henderson asked Mike Fruechting, technology coordinator, to give an overview of recent computer hard-drive crashes. Fruechting said the back up of data had not been lost, although it was a hectic time.

Fruechting said the main file server for the high school and middle school crashed. The high school and middle school’s database was retrieved with the assistance of the Novel hotline dialing into the Hillsboro system.

However, nothing from the elementary’s data was available; this data was retrieved from the copy backup.

“No one lost any data,” Fruechting said. “The backup system worked perfect,” he said, adding, “time loss is tough to measure.”

Fruechting said he “learned from the problems in case something should happen again.”

Henderson asked Fruechting to elaborate on the school’s “next step.”

Fruechting said that presently there are two main file servers, costing $1,200 to $1,500 each. One is shared at the high school and middle school, the other at the elementary. These are replaced yearly, and integrated into the system as a workstation.

Henderson asked Fruechting to price a newer system with built-in redundancy and more hard drives, allowing a change from one hard drive to another if needed with no down time.

The board discussed at length the matter of activity supervision. “Kids are playing at the games, not paying any attention to the game,” Henderson said. He also noted that kids are being dropped off at games, having no parental supervision during the activity.

Other towns ask kids not to “play around” by intercom announcement, noted Michelle Adkins, second-grade teacher.

Board members agreed the younger kids playing football were not as big a concern as the older kids “hanging out” behind the stadium. Rock throwing and juvenile smoking have been a problem at this area.

Tod Gordon, activities director, suggested lighting behind the stadium might be an option in the future to help with security issues.

Expectations for supervision from the parents could be articulated in the elementary school newsletter, suggested Katie Rahe, kindergarten teacher.

Several disciplinary actions were discussed. Henderson asked the board, “Are we willing to commit to a possible solution of unaccompanied kids?”

Chris Sprowls, board member, suggested hiring a police officer to help patrol during the last games of the football season.

A recommendation for activity supervision will be presented at the November meeting.

Martin Tice, business manager, reported on the proposed roundabout at the Florence intersection of U.S. highways 77 and 50.

He said Kansas Department of Transportation requests “input;” the decision is to be made within the month. He added if this road construction transpired, “Highway 77 would be closed and the shortcut down 8th Street in Florence would be cut out.”

Keith Collett, reporting on the Special Education program, said the financial “status on the gifted and talented program is getting about what we pay for.” He said there wouldn’t be many changes until there is more money for the gifted program.

Sprowls, in his report from the Kansas Learning First Alliance and Kansas State Department of Education conference, revealed a school improvement graduation requirement would consist of three units of math above Algebra I. All state assessment tests will be done on line in the year 2006.

Uniformity of report cards for kindergarten through 12 was discussed, but, Sprowls reported, the conference’s main concerns wa the “No Child Left Behind” federal initiative.

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