410 board hears of robotics effort

Robotics instructor Creigh Bell and his students opened the Feb. 13 meeting for USD 410 Board of Education with a video from their recent VEX Robotics Competition at Ponca City, Okla.

Robotics is one of the new pathway courses offered at Hillsboro High School this year.

The Ponca City event, the first in which his students have competed, provided a good learning experience, Bell said, adding that as the competition progressed, their skills to maneuver their robots improved.

At last week?s meeting, pairs of students showed board members their robots, most of which were stripped-down versions of those in the video.

Bell said that upon their return his students were eager to begin redesigning and making changes to improve the robots performance for their next competition.

Elmer Westerman, who volunteers and assists Bell in advising the students about engineering their robots, also attended the competition.

?You can be proud of these guys,? Westerman told the board.

Presentations by Lori Soo Hoo of Parents as Teachers and Penny Stoss of McPherson/Marion counties Head Start program emphasized the value of early childhood education. USD 410 partners with both organizations.

Soo Hoo told board members PAT needs to know by April the amount the district plans to contribute as a PAT partner.

Their reports were followed by David Sheppard, director of Marion County Special Education Cooperative, who made his annual report to the board.

Keith Goossen, transportation director, reviewed the bus routes, ridership and the vehicle replacement plan for the district.

He said mileage was up about 10,000 miles compared to last year.

In his superintendent report, Steve Noble said he expects the operating budget for the next year will be flat, projected to be $5 million, providing the base state aid per pupil stays flat.

?We can hope that we’re at our worst,? Noble said.

Noble also reviewed three options for school financing by the state as well as discussions underway by the Board of Regents and the Kansas Department of Education to develop articulation agreements for career and technical education programs.

In other business, the board:

? approved a request to use a district bus for a history tour from the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies at Tabor College. CMBS will be charged at regular rate for the bus driver, mileage and fuel.

? approved the district?s purchase of the remaining balance of $1,630 for TSA?s laser engraving machine so students can produce, market and sell projects.

? reviewed a draft of the 2012-13 calendar. An official proposal will be presented to the board in March.

? met in executive session for 45 minutes regarding matters of personnel.

? approved contracts for principals Evan Yoder, Greg Brown and Max Heinrichs; Aaron Stepanek as HHS assistant baseball coach; and Michelle Melton as cheerleader sponsor for 2012-13.

? heard brief reports from board members Mark Rooker about TEEN and Gary Andrews about MCSEC.

Board member Deb Geis was absent from the meeting.

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