Goessel expects enrollment increase this fall

John Fast, Goessel superintendent and elementary school principal, told the school board at the Aug. 8 meeting that he is expecting an increase in enrollment for the 2011-12 school year.

Fast said last year?s total head count was 256. This year he is expecting an increase of at least 10 students, quite possibly even more than that.

?We?ve had a lot of move-ins,? he said.

The second-grade class has three out-of-district students who have been coming to Goessel since kindergarten.

The student increase is all at the elementary school, according to Fast.

Despite the increase, Fast said Goessel likely will remain a Class 1A school since no growth in enrollment is expected at the high school, which is the basis for classification. He said 1A and 2A classifications change from year to year, depending on school size.

Preliminary enrollment projections included the following estimates: kindergarten 23 students; first grade 19; second grade 30; third grade 24; fourth grade 20; fifth grade 21; sixth grade 19; seventh grade 15; eighth grade 16; freshman 18; sophomore 14; junior 21; senior 23; exchange students seven.

Enrollment had not yet taken place at the time of the school board meeting, so the final numbers could be different than the estimates.

While an increase in enrollment would increase the amount of state money the school will receive, state funding cuts have lessened that amount.

Chet Roberts, business manager, said due to state cuts, ?We?re down about a half a million on cash from last year.?

Because of those cuts, he said the school has to use some contingency fund money. Therefore, following a budget hearing, the board approved a slight mill increase of 0.0199 mill. That means a $2 tax increase on a $100,000 property.

The board approved the budget total of $2.240 million for the 2011-12 school year. The mill levy had decreased for most of the past six years.

Technology issues

On the topic of technology, Fast reported The Learning Consortium had not met in August. He said TLC might be able to reduce the levy for each participating school.

But Fast added, ?We are one of the last schools that is using the old equipment.?

He said the Canton-Galva school district recently had updated its equipment.

?We?re on borrowed time,? he said. ?If we don?t get it replaced soon, we won?t be able to offer those classes. If we don?t have that capability, we limit what our students can take.?

Fast said he doubts that the school?s ITV (interactive television) equipment will last through this school year. In an effort to keep costs down, he suggested installing only ?receiving? equipment, and not ?sending? equipment. Even with limited capability, the cost would likely be $30,000 or more.

?There is nothing changing faster in education right now than technology,? Fast said.

He explained that the ITV option offers students credit hours that cannot be met at the high school otherwise, such as psychology, English and calculus college courses.

Board member Maynard Knepp said, ?Technology cost is a line item in the budget every year.?

The board also discussed other technology needs. Fast mentioned Smart Boards, noting, ?We had the infrastructure? for them.? But that infrastructure is not adequate for some other technology needs.

?We have a problem here in this (elementary school) building with wireless,? Fast said.

Wiens said, ?If we?re going to have technology, it needs to work.?

On a related matter, the board heard that Nathan Graber, the new technology employee, and Fast had attended a technology workshop.

Graber will spend half of his time at Goessel and half at Moundridge. But the Goessel school year starts sooner than the Moundridge school year, so Graber will be at Goessel more during August and then will spend more time at Moundridge when that school begins. Eventually, his time will be divided equally between the two schools.

Chad Higgins, superintendent at Moundridge, attended the meeting to express appreciation for working together on technology issues and sharing a technology employee.

Higgins said his district purchased and installed a new wireless upgrade last year.

Room environment issues

The board heard that Zana Manche, vocational agriculture teacher, has been cleaning and organizing the shop and adjacent classrooms.

Boden said Manche would like to use one area for animal science dissection and would like some air conditioning in this area.

Boden said he appreciates Manche?s concern for wiring and ventilation. He said it would cost $2,000 to bring in another electrical line for welders. The board discussed other needs at the shop and noted that it is ?not conducive for monitoring students.?

Fast said, ?We need to put enough money into it to make it function well,? noting that the shop needs major work; it is a very old part of the school facilities. Fast said Manche had been working in the shop in 110-degree heat.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? approved Lynda Schroeder as the second-section second grade teacher. Her contract is for six-tenths time. She has been a substitute teacher.

? approved the resignation of Ryan Hoopes as Student Council sponsor. He will continue his teaching duties in special education.

? approved Joanna Pyle as StuCo sponsor. Pyle is a para-educator at the high school.

? heard a legislative report from Wiens. ?We have some good people helping us, like Mr. Brookens,? he said. He suggested inviting Brookens and State Sen. Jay Emler to a board meeting, perhaps in October or November.

Wiens said Fast has done a ?great job? to promote the Goessel district at Topeka.

Wiens said more cuts are likely in the next legislative session.

? heard the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting report from Kelly Booton. He is the only new person on the MCSEC board. He said all the positions are filled. Stacey Parks was hired as the speech teacher for the co-op.

? heard from Scott Boden, the new junior and senior high school principal. He and his family will be moving to Goessel Aug. 20.

? heard that Boden had already met two-thirds of the staff.

?They?re overworked in a lot of areas,? he said, adding that they teach more at Goessel than they would at a larger school.

? heard that Boden hopes to emphasize discipline as ?how we talk to kids and how we treat them.?

? heard from Boden and Fast that the buildings are nearly ready for school to start. They commended the maintenance staff for their work. Fast said that new blue carpet has been installed in the grade school library.

? decided to host an ice cream social for employees and their families Tuesday, Aug. 23.

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