The Goessel school board honored Lynnette Duerksen for her 16 years as a member of the board during its Dec. 18 meeting. She chose not to run for re-election in the recent election. This was her last meeting.
John Fast, superintendent and elementary principal, commended Duerksen for her work on the board and for the extensive list of other things she has done for the school.
Fast said she had a long list of contributions to the school long before her school board years. He said she worked with the Lego Robotics program and mentioned students competing in robotics competitions at Wichita State University.
Fast recognized Duerksen’s years of involvement with the Parent-Teacher Organization, and he said she initiated the marquee.
“She had a concern for staff,” Fast added.
Duerksen responded, “They are very deserving; we have a wonderful staff.”
Board chair Kelly Booton asked Duerksen what was the most exciting thing for her during her years on the board. Duerksen said passing the bond issue. The board reflected on their amazement how that had all come about so quickly and how grateful they are for the school facility Goessel has.
The board discussed the condition of the track. Brian Lightner, coach and athletic director, attended the meeting. Lightner had done extensive research and shared his findings with the board.
He said the current track was built in 2003, and a limited amount of maintenance has been done since then. Lightner showed pictures of cracks on the west side of the track, cracks that had been filled three years ago.
Board member Kyle Funk asked about the surface underneath.
Lightner responded, “Unless you fix the asphalt, there will be more cracks.”
The track needs a new asphalt base and a new surface. Board member Darla Meysing said, “You’re going to end up spending more if we don’t do it right.”
Lightner said a properly laid asphalt base should last 20 years.
Lightner said he had contacted six companies about the track. Two national companies had responded, as well as one from Wichita and one from Nebraska.
Representatives from those companies looked at the track and sent proposals. They mentioned latex hybrid tracks and polyurethane tracks.
Lightner said he had visited tracks in the area, including Moundridge, Halstead, Burrton, Kingman, Pretty Prairie and others. He gathered information about the materials used on the tracks, how long the tracks are expected to last, cost, and the businesses that did the work.
Lightner showed samples of various surfaces and explained the difference between permeable and impermeable surfaces.
Lightner also mentioned drainage issues in the long jump and triple jump pits. He said teacher and coach Curtis Guhr has helped him dig holes and use a sump pump to drain the pits so they can be used.
Lightner told the board about other issues with the long jump and triple jump areas. He said Goessel hosts numerous track meets, and he said only one long jump pit and one triple jump pit is not sufficient; there is a need for two long jump pits and two triple jump pits.
Lightner said a second discus ring is needed as well: “We only have one facility for that.” He said that 100 students usually compete in that event.
Lightner said a second high jump area is needed as well.
The board thanked Lightner for his work.
The board acknowledged the need for work at the track, but made no decision at this meeting, noting many other financial needs of the school as well.
Fast said the past seven years “have been really tight” and “we’ve been very, very frugal.”
He reminded the board, “We are overdue for getting a bus,” noting that all schools have deferred expenses right now. He said a bus will be a major purchase, although the track will be the biggest expenditure.
Other financial needs include furnace repairs at the junior high school, new Chromebooks, replacing the school car and maintenance truck. Also the industrial mixer in the high school kitchen needs to be replaced; the board learned that a quality mixer will cost $10,000.
Fast commended the maintenance employees, who “do an awesome job of stretching out our equipment.”
Board member Maynard Knepp commented that it will rain again, and there will be roofs to repair.
“Building maintenance is huge,” he said.
Fast told the board, “If we don’t address these issues now, they become bigger.”
Fast and Scott Boden, junior high and high school principal, mentioned additional security cameras that had been installed and old ones that had been replaced.
In other business, the board:
• listened to three parents who said they are “deeply saddened by the resignation of Patrick Loganbill,” who was a teacher and coach. They said he was an “outstanding teacher,” and their children are sad. Loganbill even gave the students physical education challenges for summer. The parents were thanked for sharing.
• heard from Fast that students collected over 500 food items for the Tabor Mennonite Church Food Pantry.
• heard from Boden that the high school community service day had included: working at the Mennonite Central Committee center in Newton, raking leaves in the community, playing games with elementary school students, activities with Bethesda Home residents, making cookies for community members, garden clean-up, and school and community clean-up.
• noted the Bluebird Classic basketball tournament. Boden expressed appreciation for the many people who made it happen.
• heard that 2A sub-state basketball will be Feb. 26 to March 3 at Hillsboro.
• voted to hire Tara Churchill to teach K-5 physical education and health and one section of eighth grade physical education. She will also help with technology at the grade school.
Her contract with Goessel is pending on release of her contract from the Topeka school district. She has been a coordinator of events at the governor’s mansion, coordinating many activities for hundreds of school children. She has been a school teacher for 17 years. Churchill is a graduate of Moundridge and is a sister to Brian Holloway. Her niece is currently student teaching at Goessel.
• briefly discussed the trip the band and choir take every four years. It was noted that a down payment has been made on the Dallas trip that is coming up. Fund-raisers are helping to pay for the trip.
• noted the need for updates for the policy on social media guidelines.
• heard about the recent Kansas Association of School Boards meetings. Board member Bryant Miller mentioned a session about the full-time day-care and preschool at the Olpe school.
“Day care is a huge need in our community,” Miller said.
• heard Barbara Ganaway, a consultant on the accreditation process, will speak at the Jan. 15 training day.