Marion hires Leiker as Henderson’s successor

USD 408 Board of Education announced at its Feb. 9 meeting that Lee Leiker of Johnson has been hired as the new superintendent of Marion-Florence schools for the 2004-05 year.

He will begin his new assignment July 1.

Leiker is superintendent of schools at Stanton County. He has also served as high school principal at for Atwood and Colby school districts.

In another personnel matter, contracts were extended through June 30, 2006, for Marion’s three principals: Stan Ploutz, Marion Elementary, Tod Gordon, Marion Middle School and Ken Arnhold, Marion High School.

In other business, patron Beth Watson asked about the school-release policy in the light of Marion’s decision not to cancel school the previous Thursday because of the bad weather.

Superintendent Gerry Henderson, said Transportation Director Dick Maggard made these decisions at 5 a.m. Henderson said such calls are tough to make; if they had known weather conditions would have continued to be poor, they probably would not have run buses on Thursday.

Watson also asked how the board made budget decisions on such things as salaries and contracts.

Board President Rex Savage responded by saying, “We haven’t decided what direction we’re going-it takes time. What the community will support and the declining enrollment situation each year (are all considerations).”

Savage encouraged all patrons to “feel free and call board members with concerns and comments.”

Representatives from the Marion High School Key Club received permission from the board to have a pancake feed Feb. 21 in the school’s commons area from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Kylie Hardey, student spokesperson, reported the organization was new and perhaps not sufficiently organized to request the fund-raiser earlier.

“But we will be in the future,” she said.

Hardey said the organization was seeking to send members to a convention in March to Manhattan. She also described the various community-service projects undertaken by Key Club participants, including helping at the elementary school, raking yards for the elderly, a coat drive and helping with the Shepard’s Shed Teen Jean Drive for boys ages 5 through 8.

She said the organization is sponsored by the Marion Kiwanis Club.

Board member Roger Hannaford said he had worked with the student group and felt it was a “very good organization.”

The board approved the request, 7-0.

Board members spent three hours in executive session. Twenty minutes was spent discussing negotiations, the remainder discussing personnel. No actions were announced following those sessions.

In his concluding remarks of the evening, Savage reflected on the difficult budget decisions the board faces when state funding has not been revealed yet by the Kansas Legislature.

Board member Keith Collett said, “If we spent as much time educating legislators as we do our teachers, we might have a fighting chance.”

In other business:

— Martin Tice, board clerk, reported “roof specs” were to go out Feb. 10 and were due back Feb. 20; therefore, a report on the roof project at Marion Elementary was not available.

— Margo Kinman’s request for her daughter, Lydia, to attend kindergarten passed 7-0.

— Sarah Davidson and Rachel Davidson were recognized for taking third place in the state two-person debate tournament.

— A revised basketball homecoming schedule was announced. All games were to be played Saturday, Feb. 14, starting at 10 a.m. Coronation of candidates will occur during the home game Feb. 17. The “Queen of Courts” dance to be held Feb. 21.

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