Goessel School Board hears possibility of Esports

The Goessel school board met on June 10 and heard about Esports from junior high/high school principal Scott Boden. He said some schools have Esports and mentioned El Dorado. He expects it to grow in schools in the state.

Boden said Esports would require the same eligibility as other activities. It would promote a team atmosphere at school for the students involved, noting that some students are not involved in the school sports that are currently offered. He said some gaming systems could cost $10,000.

Board member Ben Schrag said that KSHSAA (Kansas State High School Activities Association) is “paying attention,” and he expects it to become a KSHSAA activity. Schrag said a number of colleges are offering Esports. KSHSAA plans to establish two committees to gather input from KSHSAA member schools.

Boden plans to survey students when school starts to see if there is interest.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board talked about the intercom system at the junior high/high school building, which is more than 30 years old. Boden is applying for a Safe and Secure Schools grant, which could cover half of the cost of a new intercom system. The projected cost would be $45,000.

The board also discussed the mass communication system for emergency phone alerts. Elementary school principal/superintendent Mark Crawford told the board about problems with the current system, which is used to communicate with parents and others about school cancellations and would be used for emergencies. The board approved a new system, Thrillshare Communication, for $13,500.

In other business, the board:

* expressed appreciation to Citizens’ State Bank and Bradbury for helping with the cost of new basketball scoreboards for the high school gym. The current scoreboards will be moved to the junior high gym since that scoreboard is not working and cannot be repaired.

* heard that high school teacher Curtis Guhr is teaching 19 drivers’ education students this summer.

* heard from Crawford that “we don’t have any teacher openings,” noting that three para positions are still open. He also commended Leslie Duerksen and Missy Wonders, who were both new secretaries this past school year, Duerksen at the elementary school, Wonders at the junior high/high school. He said they “have been awesome,” noting that they are the “first impressions directors” for the school.

* briefly discussed whether to continue voting for board members by districts or changing all board positions to “at large.”

* talked about a meal debt policy since some students and employees don’t pay for their meals on time. Crawford said it has been a “mess” since meals had been free during Covid-19. Meals are no longer free. Crawford said we want “food service to be self-sufficient.” The school will no longer allow extra food items for those whose meal debt has reached $20.

* heard that the school is looking into allowing meal payments to be made with credit cards.

* spent a considerable amount of time discussing teacher salaries and the percentage of raises but made no decisions about pay at this meeting.

* extended a 10-month memo of understanding with Prairie View.

* met in executive session and then voted to extend Boden’s junior high/high school contract and a half-time superintendent contract for Crawford. He will no longer be the elementary school principal. Jody Schmidt will hold that position.

* heard from Crawford about summer maintenance projects.

* approved the purchase of new chromebooks, according to the annual rotation plan.

* approved the month’s expenses of $70,133.58.

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