During his building report on Hillsboro Elementary school at the Feb. 14 USD 410 board of education meeting, principal Evan Yoder announced that a fifth-grade community garden project was approved on Feb. 1 by the Hillsboro City Council.
Work on the project began in the fall and has included guest speakers visiting HES to teach the fifth-grade students about various aspects of developing a community garden. The garden will be located on a plot of land by the Hillsboro Museums, and in the upcoming weeks, the fifth graders will decide what to plant.
“We have a lot more work to do, but it was really neat to see those kids put this together and run those meetings,” Yoder said. “I tried to sit on the sidelines as much as possible and they just did it.”
Yoder acknowledged it has been a struggle to find ways for HES to be involved in the community like Hillsboro Middle/High School, but the community garden project was something that took off.
“This was something that [the fifth graders] took to heart and it’s going to be a great thing for the community, I believe,” Yoder said.
Looking ahead, Yoder said he hopes future fifth-grade classes will continue the project.
Yoder also reported the majority of HES students and teachers returned to school after a surge of illnesses last month and that students are currently involved in a fundraising effort for the American Red Cross Kid’s Heart Challenge led by counselor Autumn Hardey and physical education teacher Collette Haslett.
HMHS principal Clint Corby reported there are a total of 73 elective courses available for high school students: 38 elective in-house courses, 24 Technology Excellence in Education Network (TEEN) courses, eight Tabor College courses, two Butler Community College courses and one Hutchinson Community College course.
Corby noted that for a high school of 178 students, having 38 in-house electives alone is “pretty impressive.”
“I knew we had a lot of offerings, but I never really, truly put it down,” Corby said.
Additionally, Corby reported on available high school activities, noting that currently, the spring drama has more participants than the fall musical, which is atypical. He also said that after not competing last year for lack of a sponsor, Bailey Kaufman, high school English teacher, has taken charge of the forensics program this season.
“Miss Kaufman came on for us and she took that bull by the horns and is doing a really good job with it,” Corby said. “We’ve got a lot of kids excited about it.”
After six years since the last district equipment inventory assessment, superintendent Max Heinrichs said Asset Services will return to complete another inventory including the equipment purchased with federal funding.
“We have never audited our federal fund spending because we’ve never had any that we’ve used for equipment,” Heinrichs said.
Federal funds were used to purchase a new carpet cleaner, new floor cleaner, temperature machines for all the buses and temperature machines for main entrances.
“Those are the types of things that we have to have audited or have it on an inventory so if somebody comes in, we can show where we spent the money and where those items are,” Heinrichs said.
The inventory assessment will cost the district $8,600 and will be repeated every three years. The detailed list will also be filed with the district’s insurance company.
Bike Across Kansas
USD 410 will host Bike Across Kansas participants overnight June 15. Heinrichs said the district will open the large air conditioned spaces including the HMHS auditorium, HMHS band and choir rooms and middle school lobby for bikers to rest. The HMHS commons will not be available for use during that time because of anticipated construction on the school’s kitchen.
Jefferson Field will be available for bikers to camp outside. Building showers will also be open for BAK participants.
BAK currently estimates anywhere from 300-600 participants.
“It’s a time for us to show up for the community,” Heinrichs said. “That’s going to be 600 people in town, so that’s going to be a big day for Hillsboro.”
In other business the board:
- voted 6-0, with Jim Paulus absent, to approve the 2022-23 district calendar.
- heard from superintendent Max Heinrichs that the district has budgeted to purchase a 65-passenger bus and a 10-passenger van for the 2022-23 school year. Heinrichs also requested the board consider purchasing a new vehicle dedicated to the district office.
- heard from Heinrichs that the 100 mph winds in December ripped off the cover of the filmer’s nest at the football stadium; it will cost an estimated $1,500 to replace.
- voted 6-0 to purchase a 2023 New Conventional Model 65-passenger Blue Bird Bus with air conditioning for $113,101 from Kansas Truck and Equipment Company, Inc.
- voted 6-0 to approve a budgeted purchase of $49,600 for HES student Chromebooks and Google Chrome OS management consoles.
- voted 6-0 to approve an audit engagement letter with Loyd Group, LLC.
- met in executive session for personnel. Upon returning to the public session, the board voted 6-0 to extend contracts for HMHS assistant principal/activities director (two years/June 30, 2024), technology director (one year/June 30, 2023), business manager (one year/June 30, 2023), TEEN director (two years/June 30, 2024). The board voted 6-0 to approve supplemental contracts to Kolby Bunch-Dennis and Owen Wegner, both for assistant HMHS track coaches.
- voted 6-0 to extend one-time stipends to business manager Jerry Hinerman ($1,000), district office administrator/treasurer Carla Harmon ($250), district office administrative assistant Pati Funk ($100), transportation/maintenance coordinator Karen Goossen ($100) for their help during the superintendent search.
- heard from TEEN representative Jessey Hiebert that Mark Wendt was elected chair and Jan Helmer, vice-chair, for the 2022 TEEN board.
- heard from Marion County Special Education Cooperative representative Jared Jost that Ron Traxson has been hired as an interim director of MCSEC through June 30.
- voted 6-0 to pay bills totaling $591,722.16.
The next BOE meeting will be at 7 p.m. on March 14 at the USD 410 district office.