USD 410 board votes down new PA system again

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN LINDSAY ADRIAN
Once again, the board of education for Unified District 410 considered purchasing a new sound system for Robert C. Brown Gymnasium, and once again the board rejected the idea.

At its regular Monday meeting, the board reviewed the proposal for purchasing and installing a new sound system in the gymnasium for $19,336. After the motion did not pass at last month’s meeting, board member Doug Weinbrenner asked that it be placed on this month’s agenda.

“If something fails, you have to replace it,” board president Brent Barkman said. “We can choose to replace something before it fails.”

The current sound system has generated numerous complaints in recent years because repeated distortions. Senior commencement, concerts, and assemblies all make use of the sound system.

Often, speakers are barely audible unless they have “the right kind of voice,” said one board member.

But spending nearly $20,000 for a new system outweighed its defects, and the board did not approve the request.

“I’m not sure it’s failed enough to be justified for that reason,” Superintendent Gordon Mohn said.

The principals from the three building presented their reports to the board.

Hillsboro Elementary Principal Evan Yoder told the board the fourth-grade classes took assessments last year in reading, math and science. In each subject, the percentage of students decreased in the “unsatisfactory” category.

Yoder said no students who were economically challenged scored in the unsatisfactory category.

Hillsboro Middle School Principal Corey Burton reported that seventh-grade students took the reading and math assessments and received standards of excellence in both categories. No students scored “unsatisfactory” on the science assessment.

Eighth-grade students took the social studies assessment and no one scored “unsatisfactory.”

Hillsboro High School Principal Dale Honeck reported that more of last year’s 10th- and 11th-grade students scored as “unsatisfactory” than the other schools. HHS also had fewer students in the exemplary category than other years.

Honeck informed the board that 87 to 88 percent of students take the ACT before graduating.

Fred Miller from the Marion County Special Education Cooperative reported that the number of students in special education has decreased 3 percent from last year.

“We’re serving all the kids that we should,” Miller said.

Another issue the board considered was new guidelines for procedures used in purchasing vehicles costing less than $20,000.

The 2003-04 budget allows $25,000 for the purchase of a new or used passenger vehicle. USD 410 plans to purchase a new vehicle, most likely a minivan, by the end of the fiscal year, Mohn said.

The board approved a new policy that purchasing vehicles costing less than $20,000 will rotate among the three local dealers: Hillsboro Ford, Irv Schroeder County Motors, and Wright’s Chrysler/ Dodge/Jeep.

When making those purchases, district personnel will deal directly with the dealership. The superintendent then may authorize the purchase if the vehicle meets the established specifications.

In other business, the board:

— approved the 2002-03 audit report. The district recently hired the accounting firm of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Lloyd, LLC, to perform the financial audit for the 2002-03 school year.

This is the first year that Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Lloyd, LLC has performed the financial audit. One of the reason given for changing the auditing company is that administrators wanted its financial operation evaluated from a new perspective.

— approved a policy to purchase a blanket or surety bond for all school employees in the amount of $2,500. The change in bonding requirement would increase the annual premium by $250.

These changes will go into effect when the district’s surety bonding policy is renewed in February 2004.

— accepted the resignation of Tabor College student Carson Greenhaw as the high school assistant wrestling coach due to a knee injury. The position will be offered to Tabor student Jake Schank. Also, the board approved issuing an assistant middle school wrestling coach supplemental contract to Scott O’Hare.

— approved two special meeting dates. A special board meeting will take place at noon, Friday, Nov. 14 in the USD 410 Central Office for the purpose of reviewing and approving the bills and financial reports for October.

A fall planning meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20, to review the superintendent’s state-of-the-district report.

— appointed Barkman as the USD 410 representative to the Kansas Association of School Boards Delegate Assembly.

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