Goessel School Board commends teachers, students and parents

The Goessel school board met on May 11 by zoom and discussed issues related to the Coronavirus. Superintendent/elementary school principal Dr. John Fast commended teachers, students, and parents for their work during the “continuous learning” that took place when schools were closed as a precaution. Teachers prepared lessons, and parents worked with students at home.

Fast reported about the “grab ‘n go” meals that the school has been providing. He said 125-130 students have been participating. They could come to the school every Tuesday for six weeks for a take-home pack of 3 lunches and 2 breakfasts. Fast and Boden handed out the “drive-by” meals. Three school cooks and four volunteers prepared the meals.

Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden said that the high school seniors would like a graduation. Since graduations are not currently allowed, they are hoping for a July 18 graduation date, although the plans have not been finalized.

Fast mentioned that the school is hoping for summer school to be approved for late July or early August to offer support for students who need it. He said there is a possibility of obtaining Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help pay for summer school.

Boden said the Kansas State High School Activities Association has set June 1 as the possible starting date for summer activities.

Fast said the school will continue to follow state guidelines as plans are made for school to resume. He said that $22,000 in CARES money could be available for the school for supplies. He said that masks, thermometers, and gloves will be important when school resumes. Fast said that custodians had already purchased a sanitizer mister. He commended custodians Ben Schmidt and Londell Duerksen for their work in ordering supplies.

Board member Pat Flaming asked about protective equipment for students. Fast said that Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education, is in communication with schools about appropriate equipment that could be necessary when school resumes. Smoky Hill Education Service Center is helping schools obtain supplies.

Board member Maynard Knepp wondered about procedures. Fast said the state will want schools to be consistent and would provide guidelines. “There will be some very big questions,” he said.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board heard the following enrollment projections from Fast: 19 students in kindergarten, 22 first grade, 19 second grade, 19 third grade, 19 fourth grade, 16 fifth grade, 24 sixth grade, 24 seventh grade, 21 eighth grade, 22 freshmen, 20 sophomores, 36 juniors, and 24 seniors, for a total “head count” of 285 students and a projection of 1A classification. Fast said this number does not include preschool students. Preschool family night was canceled due to schools being closed, so the school was not able to get an estimate from that event.

In other business, the board:

* heard about storm protection. Fast said the storm shelter at the grade school will be available to anyone who needs shelter from severe weather. It is a ground-level shelter on the northwest side of the building. The school asks that social distancing be respected as possible in the shelter.

* heard that the school will need a long-term substitute cook.

* approved the resignation of Sherri Sells as freshman class sponsor. She will continue teaching junior high science.

* approved the resignation of Donna O’Neill as Quiz Bowl coach. She will continue teaching high school science.

* approved Emily Gibson as fifth-grade teacher.

* heard that there had been no state assessment tests due to schools being shut down.

* heard about hail damage during a recent storm.

* heard about recent accomplishments of students.

* heard a Marion County Special Education Cooperative report from board member Bryant Miller. He mentioned that director Dr. David Sheppard is planning to retire. Jennifer Schneider has been hired as a speech teacher.

* heard that Bus #2 sold for $3,825

* approved the $375 fee to retain membership in Schools for Quality Education, a group that represents mostly 1A and 2A schools in Topeka. Fast said that SQE advocated for us when the legislature wanted to consolidate small rural schools, including Goessel. SQE was instrumental in blocking the consolidation effort.

* discussed teacher work stations that need to be updated, to be paid from capitol outlay.

* heard the financial report from Fast. He noted that the electric bill and motor fuel costs are significantly lower than usual for this time of the year since there has been no school due to the Coronavirus. The board heard about the copier lease, postage meter lease, janitorial supplies, radio work for a bus, football fieldwork, headphones for the computer lab, lunch refunds, and a bill to Lankford for refinishing the gym floor. Fast said it “looks very, very nice.” The board approved the financial statements for a total of $166.565.05.