John Fast, Goessel superintendent and K-5 principal, told the board of education at its Aug. 8 meeting that enrollment for the 2016-17 school year is basically the same as last school year: a “head count” of 271 students.
Following enrollment the previous week, student class numbers were as follows: kindergarten 19, first grade 12, second grade 22, third grade 22, fourth grade 19, fifth grade 20, sixth grade 18, seventh grade 29, eighth grade 19, freshman 22, sophomore 25, junior 26, senior 16.
The board was updated on a recent budget review. Fast and Joni Smith, school board clerk, went to Topeka for a budget review with Veryl Peters, who works with the Finance Department.
Fast said Peters told them, “You must be doing something right…. You are standing on amazingly solid ground…. You are doing a great job.”
Fast commended Smith for her knowledge and detailed work. He said she had 88 pages of budget worksheets that led to two pages of budget summary.
Peters commended the school for the building project and complimented the school for the new facilities. He also commended the school for purchasing as much locally as possible.
Board chairman Dan Miller added his thanks for the work that Fast and Smith have done. Board member James Wiens expressed his appreciation for “such good quality folks” in the school system.
Fast expressed appreciation to the board for functioning “exceedingly well.”
In other business, the board:
• discussed the Aug. 2 primary election results and expressed hope the new Kansas Legislature will take a hard look at the current finance arrangement for schools.
• heard of new special education teachers who will be working at Goessel. Karen Bonezitz is the new speech and language pathologist. Kristen Lindsay is the new middle school special education teacher. Clare Galle is the new extended learning teacher.
• commended maintenance employees for their work: Londell Duerksen and Morris Ewert at the elementary school and Ben Schmidt and Donna Spoonmore at the junior high and high school building.
Fast said they “have done a super job…. Our grounds and buildings are in outstanding shape for the start of the new school year.”
Scott Boden, junior high and high school principal, also commended the maintenance employees. He said summer projects included updating restrooms near the office, painting, waxing floors, landscaping, plumbing and electrical work, in addition to painting and trim repair at the press box.
• heard plans for an Aug. 15 event hosted by the school board for all school employees and their families.
• approved the purchase of a van for up to $20,000. Fast said, “We have not replaced vehicles for quite some time.” The school down-sized its fleet last year, but Fast said it cannot be downsized further.
• heard a report by Wiens about plans for celebrating 90 years of Goessel High School. Joining Wiens on the planning committee are Judy Unruh, Dan Bergen, Ilona Abrahams, Diana Schmidt, Patrick Flaming and Laura Unrau.
The event is scheduled for Oct. 7-8. Plans include a meal before the Friday night football game, a firefighters’ breakfast on Saturday morning, a scavenger hunt, school building tours and Saturday evening events.
“It should be fun,” Wiens said.
• heard about upgrades for the school’s technology infrastructure. The old switches and wiring were no longer working well. The school is upgrading the switches and fiber connections to increase Internet connection speed.
• heard board member Darla Meysing report that The Learning Consortium decided the member school districts will need to pay $2,000 to cover expenses this school year. Hesston, Moundridge and Canton-Galva also are TLC members.
Fast said the big discussion at the meeting was how to dissolve TLC since it is no longer needed; schools use the Internet now. Meysing said if money is left over after TLC is dissolved, it will be divided among the member schools.
• discussed TLC cable and paying for “locates;” each one costs $45 to $50.
• heard that Fast had negotiated with Moundridge Telephone Co. for a lower price for Internet service than the price offered by a competitor.
• approved the purchase of three iPads. Fast said iPads “really work well in young kids’ hands,” and “they are very durable.”
• approved the purchase of two Smart Boards, a line of interactive whiteboards.
• heard that fees for the Marion County Special Education Cooperative will increase by 12 percent.