Goessel board planning meetings on school?s future

The Goessel school board met March 7, a week earlier than usual, because of spring break. There is no school March 14 to 18.

The board planned community meetings that have been set for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25, in the high school cafeteria. Community members are invited to choose one of the meetings to attend.

Free child care will be provided by Family Career and Community Leaders of America high school students Thursday evening only, for up to 30 children ages 4 to 11. Parents must make reservations for child care with Denise Nickel at the grade school office. The phone number is 620-367-8118.

Board members will be present to facilitate discussion among community members about the educational future of the community?s children.

The board identified several topics for discussion and devised a statement of their intent: ?The purpose of this meeting is to help identify the strengths of our school and community that we have come to rely upon, to help educate our parents and community regarding the funding challenges we currently face, and most importantly, to give you an opportunity to share with board members regarding your dreams and aspirations for our school district in the future.?

John Fast, superintendent and elementary school principal, said, ?It?s important for our community to hear each other talk.? He told the board it is important to let the community know what issues the school is facing, and it is important to listen to the community?s input.

He said this meeting will also be an effort to let legislators know about Goessel?s concerns. Fast said that the Kansas Association of School Boards is encouraging such meetings and wants a report about the meeting.

In addition to discussing the assets of the school and the community, Fast said, ?I want to share with (the community) what?s been happening with state funding,? as the school plans for the future amid declining finances.

Board member Dan Miller said, ?I see public education under attack. The entire mechanism of public education is up in the air.?

The board has been discussing possibilities for revenue. They wondered about either making cuts to sports and other programs or instituting fees like other schools have done.

Chet Roberts, business administrator, told the board, ?It?s not a very good picture right now. It?s scary.?

He said there?s a difference of about $100,000 between last year and this year, and he warned the board that the state might take away $35,000 more yet.

?It?s not good news,? he said, adding that the state has made cuts three times already.

In other business, the board:

? accepted the resignation of Glen Unrau as a driver for Newton vocational education students and for special education students.

?He has been very dependable and a good driver and has provided good services for our district,? Fast said.

? accepted the resignation of Brian Stucky as high school Student Council sponsor. He will continue teaching K-12 art. Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, said of Stucky, ?He?s always coming up with new and creative ideas to do with the kids. We will miss him in that position. He did a great job.?

? accepted the resignation of Jennifer Young as junior high math and science teacher. This is her first year of teaching at Goessel.

? heard Miller report on the Marion County Special Educa?tion Cooperative. He told the board, ?(Executive director David) Sheppard continues to look into a variety of needs of people with disabilities and for adults after they leave the co-op.?

Miller said the MCSEC board met in executive session for negotiations with special education staff. He said the 14-year-old furnace in the special education building needs to be fixed.

? heard from Fast and board member Darla Meysing about The Learning Consortium. Fast said Hesston has had difficulty with their Internet service. They are exploring connection possibilities with another company for wireless service instead of fiber.

?We may have to make some changes,? Fast said.

? heard Fast explain damage to the high school floor that happened when a pipe overflowed. He described other damage to the floor that is probably from a different cause.

?It’s a pretty major repair,? he said.

Added Grout, ?If you tear up a part of the floor, you have to resurface the whole thing.?

? approved an out-of-state day trip for Chad Lindeman to take the eighth graders to ?Steamboat Arabia,? which is just across the boarder into Missouri. He plans to stop in Topeka along the way.

The trip ties in with what the students have been learning about American history.

? listened to Fast report on state assessment tests. He said the third-graders had started testing; fourth- and fifth-graders would start soon.

?We have to follow a very tight protocol,? Fast said.

? heard Fast note the ?tremendous turnout? of close to 400 people for the Feb. 17 music program at the grade school.

? heard that more than 100 people attended the grade school reading night. The parent-teacher organization served a sloppy joe supper that evening.

? heard from Grout that the high school boys and girls won their first-round sub-state basketball games.

Both teams lost their second game. Overall, it was a successful basketball season, Grout said.

? heard from Grout that 25 junior high and high school students had participated in the regional science fair at Exploration Place in Wichita. All 16 high school students qualified for state competition at Friends University April 1.

Jennifer Young teaches junior high science, and Donna O?Neill teaches high school science.

? heard from Grout that five FCCLA members qualified for State Star Events in Wichita April 4 and 5.

? entered into executive session three times to discuss personnel but had nothing to report to the public in open session.

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