Goessel School Board welcomes new superintendent

The Goessel school board met on July 13 and welcomed Amanda Lowrance as the new superintendent/K-5 principal. Lowrance and her family are coming from Andover. She is a graduate of Wichita State University and most recently was an Early Childhood Coordinator for the Wichita school district. She replaces Dr. John Fast, who retired at the end of the fiscal year.

Dr. Doug Moeckel of Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), who helped in the search process for a new superintendent, will hold a goal-setting session with the superintendent and school board to assist in making the transition.

The board discussed school opening plans, although state plans have been changing, due to the coronavirus. Lowrance said she would have a meeting with Marion County superintendents on July 20 and would likely know more details after that meeting. The school is sending out surveys for families to fill out and will take those into consideration as plans continue to develop. In addition, Lowrance and a task force are reading through a 1,100-page document that outlines possible school regulations.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board made board member assignments, since this was the first meeting of the new fiscal year. Board members affirmed each other for work done previously and made a few changes in assignments. Kelly Booton will continue as board chair. Ben Schrag will be vice president and will also be the board representative on a committee for school opening. Maynard Knepp and Patrick Flaming will continue as meet and confer board representatives. Sara Hiebert will continue as The Learning Consortium representative. Bryant Miller will continue as Marion County Special Education Cooperative representative, with Booton as the alternate. Kyle Funk will continue as legislative liaison and KASB representative.

As part of the new fiscal year formalities, the board also approved the consent agenda, which includes additional appointments. Joni Smith was reappointed as board clerk. Debbie Schrag and Lacie Hill are alternates. Tyler Ottensmeier is district treasurer. Citizens State Bank will continue as the official depository of school district funds. Brian Bina of Karstetter and Klenda will continue as school board attorney.

The usual 1,116 hour school year was adopted. Prices for school meals were set, as well as textbook fees and other fees.

In other business, the board:

* heard about plans for high school graduation from junior high/high school principal Scott Boden. He said graduation would be outside at the football stadium on July 18. The school asked that all in attendance would wear a mask “for the health and safety of our community.” Masks would be provided for anyone who did not already have one. Hand sanitizer would also be available at the entrances. It was noted that family groups should sit at least six feet apart. Plans were to live stream the ceremony on-line. Recorded music from previous school concerts would be used.

* expressed appreciation for a donation of 2,000 face masks and 750 face shields from the Marion County Health Department and Marion County Emergency Management. In addition, the board accepted other gifts of 450 more masks, 2 gallons of Honeywell sanitizer, and a number of pumps of hand sanitizer. Specific use of these gifts will be determined according to information from the Marion County Health Department, Kansas State Department of Education, and community surveys.

* talked about CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) money and SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) money that the school should receive because of the pandemic.

* approved Michelle Meyer as cheerleader coach and DJ Freeman as forensics coach.

* heard that six students were participating in summer school.

* heard that 35 out-of-district students are planning to attend school at Goessel.

* heard of summer maintenance projects at both school buildings. Maintenance employees were commended for their work.

* heard about leaks in the elementary school roof. Lowrance had been on the roof to examine the situation. That section of the roof is 35 years old. The board approved replacing the roof for a cost of $19,000.

* approved the month’s financial statements of $195,078.31, which included an inflatable high jump mat, packets for students during the months of distance learning from home and a program for teachers to interact with students during that time, the yearly cost for legal advice, helmet reconditioning, professional development, teacher supplies for next school year, and Study Island renewal.