Marion board approves open lunches for good students

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DONNA HAJEK
Unified School District 408 Board of Education heard many requests at its June 14 meeting.

Board members approved the request from the Marion High School Student Council officers to allow juniors and seniors students who are “in good standing” to have open lunches Mondays through Thursdays and an extended lunch of one hour on Fridays for the upcoming school year.

Students who would receive the privilege would not have tardies or failing grades, principal Ken Arnhold said.

“Failing class students have closed lunches,” he added.

The board approved a request by FFA officers for six members and two officers to attend a retreat July 18-20 in Dillon, Colo., and for the board to pay transportation costs.

The board had more questions about a request by band members for fund raising for a band trip to Branson, Mo. Though many of the details about the trip were unknown, the cost was reported to be $200 for each student.

Band director Mike Connell was not in attendance because of other obligations.

After extended discussion, board members approved fund raising, but felt it need to see the contract before approving the trip. Board member Gene Bowers voted against the recommendation.

Linda Ogden, on behalf of Communities in Schools, reported on the importance and resource impact CIS has had on Marion County.

Ogden listed may of the programs under CIS, which began five years ago, that are the result of coordinated efforts by individuals and school systems, including USD 408.

Among the programs to which Ogden referred were life-skills training, after-school programs, Parents as Teachers and Marion County Report Card Partner.

She said the programs are made possible in Marion County through grants and local funding.

Upon Supterintendent Gerry Henderson’s recommendation, the board voted to continue supporting CIS.

Health incentives

Board members heard a request to continue the Healthy Incentive Program for staff members.

Janice Waner, school nurse, reported an individual who reaches 6,000 points and takes no more than one day of sick leave during the school year, would be eligible for a wellness day that could be used as a personal day.

Phoebe Janzen, Marion Middle School counselor, reported about 221 days are missed each year because of illness. If the incentive program could reduce the number of sick days by 20 percent, she said, the district could save $3,000.

Chad Adkins, MMS physical education teacher, said he would be graphing the progress of staff members over the course of the year.

The board approved the year program 7-0.

Handbook changes

Tod Gordon, MMS principal, said the only notable change in the policy manual for 2004-05 would be allowing students to wear “flip flop” shoes. He said the original reason for disallowing that type of shoe was noise, but noticed kids were then going barefooted.

“So we changed it to they must wear shoes,” he said with a grin.

The other handbook change, Gordon said, is cutting from four to three hours of mandatory stay for students in need of classroom assistance.

Arnhold told board members the cut to three hours was the most notable change in the high school handbook. He also said the language was “cleaned up a little” regarding classes students can take more than once, such as jazz band, forensics and debate.

The board approved the changes as submitted.

Stan Ploutz, Marion Elementary School principal, told board members said the elementary handbook included a change regarding cell phones.

“Students may bring them, but they cannot turn them on during school hours,” Ploutz said.

He also pointed out a change in dismal procedures that would release bused students before town students to avoid congestion.

Ploutz also offered two suggestions about the fifth-sixth grade departmentalized program schedule. Board members took no action on either suggestion.

Salary increases

After a lengthy executive session, a recommendation to increase salaries for support staff and salaried personnel failed by a 2-4 vote.

The board then took a 35-minute executive session. After reconvening, a proposal to increase staff salaries 1.77 percent was approved by a 6-0 vote.

The board also approved a raise of 1.5 percent for salaried employees. Board member Keith Collett said he was aware of the token differences in the percentage of increase for administration and teachers.

Other business

In other business, the board:

— heard Janet Killough, MHS English teacher and drama director, present the cast of “Wizard of Oz.” She also reported that MHS had received three Jester Awards from Wichita Music Theatre.

Killough said, “Fourteen out of 26 students were nominated and we received six nominations.”

— recognized MHS track athletes who competed at the state track meet, and their coaches, for their accomplishment.

— approved the curriculum guide for agri-science for 2004-05 school year as submitted by Missy Stubenhofer, curriculum director, and Mark Meyer, instructor.

— approved a recommendation by business manager Martin Tice to participate in Kansas Association of School Board’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance Program. Its bid was the lowest received.

— approved approved the disposal of the 1992 Suburban. It also agreed, by a 4-3 vote, to dispose of two 1998 Windstar vans after driver’s education courses are complete and purchase two government-lease vans. Bowers, Keith Collett and Roger Hannaford voted against the proposal.

— accepted the resignation of Joe Mish as bus driver.

— agreed to offer teaching contract to Jean Schaub.

— approved the Carl D. Perkins vocation and technical education fund.

— heard a recommendation by Henderson that USD 408 not participate in the legal effort for changing finance formulas. He didn’t feel this was a fight for small schools that do not choose to be small schools.

— welcomed Lee Leiker as the new superintendent for USD 408. Leiker said he has now moved to Marion and is excited to become a part of the community.

— said good-byes to outgoing superintendent Henderson. A special end-of-the-year board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. June 28. It will be Henderson’s last official meeting as superintendent.

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