Goessel board OKs purchase of bleachers for jr. high gym

The Goessel USD 411 school board voted Feb. 11 to replace the bleachers in the junior high gym for a cost of $68,880.

Several board members voiced concern with the current bleachers and commented how much the public will appreciate new, safer bleachers.

The new bleachers will be enclosed, and no one will be able to fall through them. Also, hand rails will be included on the steps for additional safety.

Superintendent John Fast had researched bleachers and checked with other schools. He showed drawings of Hussey and InterKal bleachers saying they are the ?Fords and Chevys of bleachers.?

Since the Hussey bleachers could not be made to fit the space available, the school will work with InterKal. The bleachers will have space for wheelchairs and will provide more space between the players and the fans than the current bleachers do.

Asked how many times the motor-driven bleachers will need to be opened and folded in a season, athletic director Justin Coup said 25.

Asked if the bleachers would be used for more than athletics, Coup said they also would be used for music festivals and assemblies.

The board also approved a bid from Lankford to refinish the junior high gym floor for $13,895. Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, said the project should be done by Aug. 1.

The board approved additional improvements. Hett Construc?tion of Marion will be hired to pave the driveway just east of the high school. The sidewalk in that area will be extended, and the entrance to the athletic stadium will be more easily accessible for everyone, including those in wheelchairs.

Board chairman Lynel Unrau commended the board for taking action to update the facilities.

School board members listened as Grout and Coup reviewed student numbers.

?We?re looking at our junior high athletics programs,? Grout said. ?Next year we might have only six girls in junior high sports.?

Grout and Coup suggested including sixth graders in junior high volleyball and basketball, and maybe track. State rules prohibit sixth-graders from participating in junior high football.

?Right now, it?s just a need to fill out a team for the girls,? Coup said. ?We might not be able to field a team otherwise.?

Coup said he had checked with administrators from other schools that use sixth graders. They recommended that if sixth-grade girls are included, then sixth-grade boys should be, too.

Coup said sixth-graders could be included on a yearly basis, as needed, adding, ?Some schools have done it for 30 years.?

Asked if the issue had been discussed with parents, Grout responded: ?We?ve had some opinions…. We?re hoping to get response from parents…. We?re not asking for a decision tonight…. There are compelling arguments for and against.?

A decision will have to be made by May because of scheduling, officials and insurance.

In other business, the board:

  • changed the date of the March meeting to March 3. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the board room, located in the elementary school building.

  • heard Grout report that Goessel was named a Bronze Medal award winner in the U.S. News and World Report study of ?best high schools? in the nation. Grout said Goessel was one of only 39 high schools in Kansas to receive the award. This means that Goessel is probably within the top 5 percent in the state. Nationwide, 1,086 schools were honored. Grout said only one school in Kansas received a silver award and none received a gold award.

  • heard Grout report the high school Scholar?s Bowl team had placed second at the regional tournament Jan. 31, which qualified it for state competition. At state, the team came within one question of making it into finals.

  • accepted the resignation of high school Spanish teacher Kenton Allen. ?He came out of retirement to help us,? Fast said, adding that Allen also taught at Canton-Galva. ?We thank him very much for his services.?

  • heard Grout say improvements are being made to the school?s Web site.

  • voted to continue the agreement with Newton High School for vocational technical classes.

  • listened to administration explain problems with computer software.

    ?Our current Power School is not serving us well, especially in our office management,? Fast said. Staff and administrators had looked into several options and decided that Go.Edu would better fit the needs of the school district. The board approved the change. Grout said the transition will start before summer.

  • the board reviewed a tentative schedule for the 2008-09 school year. Fast has been checking with staff, the league, Hutchinson Community College and Canton-Galva on scheduling issues. He said the plan is for 180 contact days with students.

    Fast said the district is keeping with Aug. 14 as the first day of school even though some districts are planning to begin Aug. 11. He said school would be out before Memorial Day.

    Specific holidays were not discussed, but in-service days were. Board member Maynard Knepp said of those half-days: ?It?s a pain for families that have elementary kids.?

  • listened to business administrator Chet Roberts review the budget and expenditures, comparing the current school year to last year. ?We?re down about 7 percent on utilities,? he said. ?We?ve had a pretty cool winter compared to last year.?

    However, he said motor fuel is the biggest expense.

  • heard Meysing, reporting on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting she had attended, say the board met in Peabody to look over its facilities. No decisions regarding facilities have been made.

  • voted to support the current fee structure for the county Parents As Teachers program.

  • heard Fast report that family reading night will be March 4 at the grade school.

  • heard Fast report the musical by fourth, fifth and sixth graders, ?In Quest of Columbus,? will be March 6.

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