ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JENNIFER PROFFITT
The USD 410 School Board of Education approved at its Jan. 8 meeting the sale of the house at 109 S. Adams to Johnnie Liles at a price of $12,101.
The house was sold via eBay on the condition that the successful bidder remove the house from the property at a date agreed upon by the two parties.
A bidder from Pico Rivera, Calif., opened the bidding at $5,000 and contended with both the Liles family and a bidder named centralksrealestate.
The district will now enter into an official agreement with the Liles family. The cost of the eBay sale was 2.2 percent of the sale price plus fees, which totaled $266.90.
Board Member Eddie Weber said, “We didn’t want to neglect local Realtors, but we thought the eBay listing would be a way to earn more money for the district.”
Weber said he felt the auction was successful.
“One reason it was successful was that the bidder was from California,” he said. “We had no idea who it was, but I think that probably brought the district more money.”
The board sold a house and gained a superintendent. By a 6-0 vote, the board extended the contract of current superintendent Gordon Mohn for three years.
The action follows the annual requirement that the board consider the extension of the superintendent’s contract at the January board meeting, as well as the past practice of renewing the contract for three years at a time.
Mohn addressed the Kansas State Department of Education Building Report Cards for each public school building in Kansas by giving board members an online tour of the KSDE Web site. The information is available at http.online.ksde.org/rcard.
The board also discussed proposed revisions to the existing board policy manual. The recommendations were developed by the Kansas Association of School Boards and were revised to meet the unique needs of USD 410.
Policy states that revisions “must first be presented at a Board of Education meeting for discussion only. Adoption of the proposed policy, rule change, or addition shall take place at the next regularly scheduled BOE meeting unless an emergency is declared.”
No emergency existed, but teacher resignation policy was a hot topic.
“We don’t have a policy at all in Hillsboro about resignations, so this is all new,” said Mohn, who added that issues arise when teachers want to leave before their contracts expire.
These early resignations, as well as those made late in the year, place the district in a difficult position when trying to fill open teaching positions.
“We have tried to do what’s best for the teachers,” Mohn said. “We hope other districts will release teachers so they can come here, and we have done the same.”
Even with this philosophy, the board discussed options to recoup some of the financial loss the district sustains with late or early resignations.
Mohn said one option would be to endorse a policy that imposed a financial penalty on teachers who ask to be released from their contracts.
Mohn said other districts impose the financial penalties based on the number of days the resignation is late.
Board President Rod Koons noted the district follows the philosophy of negotiating with the teachers in good faith, and tries to do what they need to do in order to maintain good relationships. He also addressed the reality of the need for some kind of policy.
“In the real world, if a key employee leaves, no matter what company it is, that company is left to deal with that situation as best they can, and we will deal with it as best we can,” he said.
The teacher-resignation policy, along with policies addressing the investment of funds, staff identification badges, and crowd control at school-sponsored activities will be on next month’s agenda.
Mohn also reported on the sound system in the Robert C. Brown Gymnasium, which has recently experienced problems and is in need of replacement.
He proposed renting temporary equipment to fulfill the remaining obligations until suitable replacement equipment could be found and priced, and a decision could be made.
Ken Helmer from the architectural firm of Howard and Helmer was present to help the board continue set priorities for meeting facility needs.
Drawings, revised since the last meeting, were presented. The board had requested Helmer come up with a proposal that would be closer to the board budget of $6 million.
Keeping most of the major improvements, he was able to do this.
The board was also waiting to hear what Tabor would decide concerning the new football field and running track because those expenses would be shared among the schools.
Howard & Helmer representatives will be meeting with Tabor soon.
The meeting ended with an executive session to address performance evaluations of teachers and principals, negotiations, and the acquisition of property.