Goessel board ranks capital-outlay priorities

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel Superintendent Chet Roberts asked the USD 411 Board of Education to rank a list of possible capital-outlay projects at the Jan. 12 meeting in the order the projects should be pursued, depending on available funding.

Roberts said a sidewalk at the grade school would be poured this school year. Besides the sidewalk, the board unanimously named grade school windows as the No. 1 priority.

The football fence was ranked second, followed by bleachers, a maintenance shed, a bus, and computers for teachers. Gym floor at the grade school and hurdles tied for seventh place.

“This is real helpful to me,” Roberts said.”Some of these are ‘do-able…’ We won’t be able to do all of these.”

He cautioned the board about uncertain energy costs.

Explaining the need for new windows at the grade school, John Fast, principal for elementary and junior students, said it is possible to see the curtains move on windy days. In addition, Roberts said frost appears on the classroom counters on cold mornings.

Board Chairman Lynel Unrau asked about a grant for windows or computers. Roberts said schools in poverty areas have a priority on funding.

Fast said many schools that receive such grants have at least 78 percent of their students on free or reduced lunch programs.

Said Roberts: “We don’t come close.”

The board looked at sketches of different types of windows. Roberts will get bids.

Regarding another item on the priority list, Unrau said buses are purchased on a rotational bases. Jim Schmidt’s bus is the one that will be replaced next. It has been driven more than 100,000 miles.

Roberts said, “We’re getting to the point where we’re going to have to look at a bus.”

He said bus drivers like the “cab-overs” better, but those are harder for mechanics to work on. He said the turning radius is basically the same now on conventional buses as it is on cab-overs.

When board member Lynette Duerksen asked how big the bus would be, Roberts responded, “We don’t need another 66-passenger bus.”

The board discussed International Bluebird and Thomas buses.

Fast said the Christmas program went very well, even though more than 30 grade-school students had been missing because of the flu. He said the flu hit the elementary school hard. One day 37 students were home sick, and only seven first graders were in school; the rest were home sick.

In other business:

— The board granted maternity leave for Crysta Guhr, high school English teacher, and Megan Duerksen, fifth-grade teacher.

— Roberts said one high school student was accepted into the state Kansas Music Educators Association band and one into the choir.

— Fast reported that a seventh grader won the school’s geography bee and will advance to the next level. He said students are getting ready for the spelling bee. He said the junior high quiz bowl teams are getting ready for their first tournament, which will be at Remington.

— Roberts said agriculture teacher Justin Schrag will make a presentation about global positioning systems at the state convention.

— Fast said the fifth- and sixth-grade students raised $2,600 after expenses at their benefit meal for a family whose mother is recovering from a car accident.

“They did a very good job of that,” he said.

— Fast said the fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students are planning to sell Red Wheel pizza to raise money for five DVD players, balls, classroom digital televisions and new computer software.

— Fast said the junior high has added one new seventh grader and two new eighth graders.

— Roberts reported the school district’s full-time equivalence now stands at 286.4 students. He is projecting 280 students or fewer for next year.

He said the district has a large number of exchange students this year and a large senior class. Next year’s kindergarten class will likely be small.

“I’m thinking we could start moving back up after next year,” he said.

— Roberts reviewed insurance claims, which amounted to an aggregate loss of more than $22,000. Damages stemmed from the school’s Suburban hitting a turkey, another school vehicle hitting a deer, lightning damage to computers, and lightning damage to an air conditioner.

— Roberts reported he had gone to Topeka in December and talked with Don Dahl about school funding. He had asked Dahl about consolidation. Dahl thought it might be studied.

— Board member Richard Drake reported on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative, “Basically, we just paid the bills.”

— Board member Dewayne Voth reported on The Learning Consortium, “We didn’t have much either.” He said they paid the bills.

Roberts said it does not work to send faxes from the ITV (interactive television) room. He will try to find out more about that issue. He’s not sure it would be worth the $400 it would take to get it going. It could cost $10,000 for new Internet equipment for the TLC network. Grant funding is a possibility.

— The board approved the financial statements of $249,942. Roberts said the school has paid $156,000 so far for the new track. He said $190,000 had been the original total, but a new shot-put ring and new bleacher pad had been added, bringing the total cost to $202,091.

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