Goessel board reviews cost-saving measure with longer school day

The Goessel school board discussed at its Aug. 10 meeting the decision to lengthen the school days by a few minutes and therefore shorten the length of the school year.

The change was made in an effort to save money, considering the short-fall of money available to schools.

The coming school year will still have 1,116 hours, the same as always; but, it will not have as many days.

Superintendent John Fast estimated the school will save between $8,000 and $10,000 a year by using this calendar. But, he said the administration will watch the impact on teaching and learning, and a committee will collect feedback to determine if it is a worthwhile decision.

So far, he has heard positive comments about it.

Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, said now every class period at the high school will be 46 minutes long. In the past, some had been a bit shorter.

Grout said the new schedule will actually work better for those students who take inter-active television classes through Hutchinson Community College. Grout said making the change is not difficult at the high school.

Fast said buses first will pick up junior high and high school students at the end of the school day; elementary school students will be picked up after that. In previous years, the sequence was opposite.

50th anniversary

On another matter, the board heard plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the elementary school building.

Fast said activities on Friday, Sept. 25, will be for the students. Retired teachers have been asked to help the students understand the significance of that day.

Fast said teacher Brian Stucky is working on a panel presentation of stories for the public at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27. Music and a PowerPoint presentation will be included. The program will be followed by an open house until 4:30.

The grade school was built in 1959, with 189 students enrolled in grades 1-8.

Board clerk Patsy Schmidt commended the committee for its celebration planning. Board member James Wiens agreed, ?It?s very nice that they?re doing that.?

Transportation issues

The board also discussed transportation issues. Fast reported that Jim Schmidt will drive the new bus. All the regular route buses have under 100,000 miles, with the exception of one, which has 154,000 miles.

Fast had prepared a picture presentation of every vehicle the school district owns. Recent hail damage was noted. The affected vehicles are scheduled for repair.

Fast noted the need for every vehicle. Speaking about the buses, he said, ?There are times we?ve had all the sub buses out,? in addition to the regular-route buses.

Grout agreed with the transportation needs: ?There were several days we took kids home in vans,? he said.

Other business

In other business, the board

n accepted the resignation of Rod Boese as custodian at the junior/senior high school. Boese has taken a position at Bethesda Home in Goessel.

?He has worked hard for us for quite a lot of years,? Fast said. ?We want to wish him the best in his new position.?

n accepted the resignation of Spanish teacher Marvin Nance. ?He did a good job for us,? Fast said. He taught at Goessel two years.

n approved a one-half-time contract for Laura Salmeron for the Spanish position. She taught at Valley Center for 35 years and lives in Newton.

n heard that Harold Davis will be the junior high special education teacher. He has 15 years of experience.

n reviewed decreasing enrollment figures for the past several years. In the 2005-06 school year, 271 students were enrolled at Goessel, 263 in 2006-07, 254 in 2007-08, and 245 in 2008-09.

Fast said, ?At this point, it looks level? for this year. While the senior class will have 31 students, the kindergarten class will only have 21. The impact on the budget for the following year was noted.

It was reported that 46 students received free or reduced-price lunches in 2005-06, while 30-plus received free or reduced-price lunches last year.

n listened to Chet Roberts, business administrator, discuss the budget. He said the mill levy has gone down for nine consecutive years.

?I don?t know any others that come even close to that record,? he said.

n heard Grout report that 20 students are expected for high school cross country, 20 for volleyball and 27 for football. He said the junior high sports programs are expecting large numbers also. He said that practices would start Aug. 17.

n expressed appreciation to the custodians for their work in preparing the buildings for the new school year.

n heard board member Dan Miller report that the Marion County Special Education Cooperative board met in Florence and approved a 15-cent increase to the base pay for paraprofessionals.

He said sub-contractors are working hard to finish the building in Marion. Miller thanked board member Darla Meysing for her years on the MCSEC board.

n heard Meysing report that The Learning Consortium met in Moundridge with Chuck Buller of Hesston as the chairman. She said Goessel?s funding share will be about $2,000.

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