Goessel school board updated on MCSEC program and concerns

The Goessel school board heard a report from a Marion County Special Education Cooperative teacher at its April 12 meeting.

Dwayne Abrahams said a MCSEC representative was going to all five school districts in the co-op to communicate about the challenge of serving students with declining funds.

He said the five school districts in Marion County formed MCSEC in 1980. Prior to that time, services had been obtained from the Harvey-Marion County Cooperative.

But the schools of Marion County thought a smaller, locally controlled organization would be more beneficial. He also said that special education works best when parents, regular education staff and special education staff work together.

Abrahams has worked with MCSEC for 17 years and is currently with the Oasis program, which is a special day school for students with severe emotional and behavioral needs.

The MCSEC covers a number of other needs for students also, including early childhood special education, speech/language pathology, transition program, occupational therapy, physical therapy, visual impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, psychological needs, extended learning and social services.

Susan Levra-Wallace and Aileen Esau, both with the MCSEC, attended the meeting also. Goessel superintendent John Fast and board chair Mary Rosfeld commended the co-op for the work it does.

Board member Maynard Knepp expressed concern for ?taking care of? staff, in addition to students.

Board member Dan Miller, Goessel?s representative on the MCSEC board, said the state board of education panel had denied the request of the Peabody-Burns school district to leave the co-op.

Miller also said the co-op will have a staff reduction of three full-time employees because of retirement and moving. No further staff reductions are projected at this time.

Insurance conversation

Turning their attention to another matter, the board listened to Richard Nickel, representing Employers Mutual Casualty insurance company through the Insurance Center in Hillsboro. The district?s school buildings are insured with EMC.

Fast expressed concern with the unresolved claim the district has with EMC regarding roofs that were damaged in a hail storm last July. The damage has not yet been fixed because EMC has not wanted to pay for roof replacement.

Nickel said he has worked with EMC for 30 years, and ?this is the first time I?ve had this kind of an issue come up.? He said EMC would be willing to refer the issue to a roofing company in Wichita.

Fast said, ?The other roofing company we have worked with for many years (Wray Roofing of Newton) has provided us good services…. In the long run, EMC has treated us well.?

Fast reminded the board, ?We do have to keep the buildings insured.?

Rather than switch companies, Fast and the board decided it would be best to retain insurance with EMC for now and approved the renewal contract.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? voted to approve a contract for Robert Tiernay as band director. He has a master?s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. He recently taught at Hesston and currently teaches at Hutchinson. Tiernay and his wife have three young children.

? approved the resignation of Lynn Curiel as a cheerleading sponsor. The board expressed appreciation for Curiel?s work. Marlene Klassen, the other cheerleading sponsor, plans to continue.

? approved the resignation of Amanda Krier as assistant girls? basketball coach. Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, said, ?She did a fantastic job for us.?

He said that Krier will be graduating from college, getting married and moving back to her hometown of Beloit. ?We wish we could keep her,? he said.

? approved the resignation of Nick Brown as assistant junior high boys? basketball coach. Grout said Brown is also graduating from college, and he will be looking for a math teaching job.

?The kids enjoyed him,? Grout said. ?He did a good job.?

? approved the seniors? trip to Worlds of Fun April 25-26.

? approved the request from junior high teacher Chad Lindeman to take the eighth-grade class to the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

? heard The Learning Consortium report from board representative Darla Meysing, Fast and Grout. Goessel students can take college classes through Hutchinson Community College?s interactive television service.

Fast said HCC is working on a grant for upgrading equipment and is recommending that participating schools upgrade their equipment, too.

Grout said, ?The current equipment we have is out of warranty,? and noted the equipment at some other schools has already broken.

?Ours is currently working,? he said, although Meysing noted that it has problems. ?We?re going to have to replace our system soon.?

Fast said the program will be a ?vital thing for the coming years.?

Grout said that without the grant, Goessel?s cost would be $20,000. However, with the grant, the cost would be reduced to $8,650.

He said the new equipment would be in high definition, and the old equipment could be used for some other purpose until it breaks down completely.

When board member James Wiens asked how many students enroll in the ITV classes, Grout said many students use it. He said there are five or six classes with 10 or 12 students in each one.

The service gives the school the option of offering classes it would not be able to offer otherwise.

? heard that the high school band and choir had received ?I? ratings and trophies at a competition in Texas. Fast said the competition took place in one of the top five symphony halls in the world. He also said the hotel manager complimented the students on their behavior.

? heard about recent achievements of forensics students.

? heard the spring fund-raiser barbecue and band/choir concert would be May 6.

? heard that additional outdoor lights had been installed at the high school parking lots.

? discussed purchasing refurbished computers for the elementary school computer lab. The school could save about 50 percent by purchasing refurbished computers instead of new ones. They would come with a three-year warranty.

? heard the gardening project at the grade school is underway.

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