Unified School District 410 Board of Education opened its Dec. 9 regular meeting with a dialog among community, county and state leaders and residents at Hillsboro High School Auditorium.
The stated goal, according to Superintendent Steve Noble, was to discuss challenges of declining public school enrollment, increasing poverty and declining state revenues for local schools and governments.
Following the 75-minute session (see story on Page 5), the board continued its meeting at the USD 410 district office.
In their debrief of the community conversation, board members and Noble expressed appreciation for the public?s attendance despite the frigid temperatures.
By consensus they agreed the meeting was a ?good first step? toward meaningful conversation.
?There were a few more non school-related people there than I thought there would be there,? board member Rod Koons said about the demographics of those who came.
?Overall within our district there is interest in all levels,? he said.
Board members and Noble also reflected on comments made by State Senator Jay Emler and State Representative Don Schroeder regarding state funding.
?We?re going to have to come up with Plan A,? board member Joe Sechrist said, despite the ruling that Kansas?s current education funding system is unconstitutional because of reductions in overall funding from the Kansas Legislature.
Noble said he anticipates some legislators will propose bills to amend the state constitution to remove wording requiring funding for ?a suitable education? for Kansas children.
?They will want to remove the courts from any part of (the mandate),? he said, adding a two-thirds majority in both state chambers plus a public vote are required to amend the constitution.
“I hope some walked away (from the community meeting) that we can’t do this on our own,? he said.
?”The simple question is do we believe this is a state issue.?
In other business, the board:
? recognized John McMinn for his 15 years of service in maintenance for the district.
? voted to terminate Leah Rembolt Dec. 20 as Hillsboro Middle School secretary 6-1 after meeting in executive session.
Because the district?s policy is to honor the most senior position, Noble said, Amy Plett?whose position as district office secretary was eliminated?will be moving to the middle school position.
? approved the resignation of Annette Nienstedt as bus driver, effective Dec. 20.
? heard from Noble that the Kansas Association of School Boards had voted to allow local choice for state assessments.