HHS student asks board to spare music, drama cuts

Although the USD 410 Board of Education agenda lists a slot for patron concerns at its regular meetings, often no one requests time to vocalize any.

But that wasn?t the case Monday evening.

Speaking for other students, Briana Loewen and parent Brenda Riggs asked the board to consider maintaining its current financial support for annual musical and drama productions at Hillsboro High School.

Loewen presented a petition signed by high school students, parents and middle school students asking the board to continue the current schedule of productions.

?We appreciate you guys coming out,? said Rod Koons, board president. ?That?s why we have patron concerns on the agenda. It makes me feel good that people are concerned about what?s going on in the district.?

Making cuts in the vocal and drama departments is one of multiple possibilities as the board and administrators determine $300,000 to $350,000 in cuts for next year?s budget, said Superintendent Doug Huxman.

Although some positions will not be filled, the plan is to keep all personnel who will be returning next year, he added.

Huxman said among the cuts being considered are eliminating some software programming, cutting back on summer help and trimming travel expenses.

Budget constraints will also impact plans regarding the access road to the parking lot planned for west side of the USD 410/Tabor College athletic facility project area.

Cost will affect the quality of the road, whether it?s rock, chip and seal or asphalt. Those costs will be shared by Tabor College, which is also facing budget cutbacks.

?We may be doing the minimal for now (to access the parking lot),? Huxman said.

Keith Goossen, maintenance and transportation director for the district, reviewed projects planned for the summer, which included making roof repairs on the high school building and replacing carpet in the middle and elementary schools.

?Keep us posted on how those things are getting along,? Koons said.

District technology director Jason Henry was on hand to answer questions about a proposed three-year computer rotation and acquisition for the district.

Costs would average out to $95,000 annually, Huxman said, adding that computers are going down regularly and not worth repairing.

?We believe the proposal in front of you is do-able,? he said. ?We wouldn?t have presented it if we didn?t it was do-able.?

The proposal includes financing a one-on-one computer initiative for high school and middle school students using mini-laptops.

Koons questioned the value of going this direction.

?I hope other districts (having individual computers for students) isn?t our main motivation for doing this,? he said

Henry said easy access is a primary reason for students working with individual laptops.

Greg Brown, Hillsboro Middle School principal, said the district?s teacher are well-prepared to take this step.

HHS principal Max Heinrich added, ?This is how our next generation communicates.?

Heinrich said he is in contact with other districts regarding their policies and challenges.

The board gave its support to continue working on this initiative.

Board member Debbie Geis reported bids to remodel the building acquired for Marion County Special Education Cooperative came in much higher than hoped and a determination will need to be made regarding the next steps.

The building administrators reported state assessments are nearly completed. Some handbook revisions are under consideration.

Huxman also reported that following the recent election, no one has been determined to fill position No. 4, but the board may have to make an appointment.

?We have at least a week to wait, and we?ll know more,? he said.

In other business the board:

n approved a bid of $24,107 from Glanzer Pro Audio of Hillsboro for the sound system for the USD 419/Tabor College stadium.

n accepted the resignations of Judy Hiebert, who is retiring from her position as HES cook; Ronda Wiens as HES cook, but she will continue as a bus driver; Mike Jilka, HMS head girls? basketball coach; and Len Coryea, HHS head football coach.

n adopted the school calendar for 2009-10.

n approved 2009-10 master contract for teachers.

n met in executive sessions to discuss personnel and student matters. No action was taken.

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