USD 383 Board of Education, March 7, 2018

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:

The work session focused on facilities in terms of what might be considered for a bond.  Dave Colburn mentioned changing the entrances for the middle schools to improve security, and he wondered if there should be a standard established and what could be achieved to improve safety.  Eric Reid, Asst. Supt., reported on the two community meetings that had been held, in which approximately 30 persons had attended each time.  The meetings had discussed the possibilities of building a new elementary school, making elementary schools K-5 instead of the current K-6, creating two early learning sites, and the tax implications of a bond.  Board members had been provided a summary of the community meetings, and Leah Fliter said she was struck by the amount of discussion focused on a second high school because the board had not discussed it much.  She thought the board would need to clearly communicate why they might not go that route due to the expense of acquiring land for a second high school and many other variables.  Mr. Colburn said he’d had a similar discussion with the Chamber of Commerce about what is really needed, and a second high school isn’t a need.  He thought there were many other needs that stack up before the board would get to a second high school.  Mr. Reid thought that people view adding a wing on to the high school as just pushing a second high school down the road of something that will eventually have to be done.  Katrina Lewison thought it wasn’t so much about the money, but rather, why move 9th graders up to the main campus?  She also thought it was a misconception people have that building a second high school would be more cost effective.  Jurdene Coleman asked if there is data from other districts that would be helpful in determining when a second high school is needed, and Mr. Reid said that the second high school decision tends to be a community-driven decision, meaning districts build second high schools for different reasons.  Several board members commented that the decision to have one or two high schools should be based on what’s best educationally, since the current high school isn’t overcrowded.  Darrell Edie commented that a new high school might cost $120 million, and the elementary level is overcrowded, and the board needs to emphasize that.  Mr. Colburn cautioned the board that one or two people can make a lot of noise about a particular issue, but they’re not responsible for making decisions and looking at all of the options.

Regular meeting:

Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, provided the board with a legislative update.  Districts’ cash balances have been discussed, and Mr. Faust noted that the majority of USD 383’s cash balances are in restricted funds, with only 20% in the general operating fund.  Mr. Colburn commented that half of the state’s payment comes in June at the end of the fiscal year instead of July, so it makes it look like districts have a lot of money at the end of the year.  Mr. Faust reported that legislators are considering a bill that would change the mill levy from the current 20 mills and would gradually raise it to 26 mills, then 32 mills, and then 38 mills, which could impact support for a local bond issue.  He also said if the proposed Pres. Trump budget were approved, USD 383 would lose about 15% in federal funding.

The board also discussed a position statement with the plan to send the approved statement to state and federal legislators.  In light of the school shooting in Florida in February, the statement was in regards to the district’s needing help in developing solutions that will reduce the likelihood of future incidences of school violence.



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Riley County Commissioners Meeting, March 5, 2018

Report on the Board of Riley County Commissioners Meeting for March 5, 2018

Observer: Bill Schenck-Hamlin

Topics of the Business Meeting

1 Commissioners proclaimed that the first day of Spring is to be celebrated as National Agriculture Day.
2 Commissioners signed a Riley County Position Action form to hire an asphalt supervisor.
3 The minutes for the March 1, 2018 meeting were reviewed and approved.
4 Commissioners approved the Tentative Agenda for the March 8 and 12 meetings.

Press Conference Topics

1 Commissioners noted that they were in communication with Lynn Jenkins and other representatives about upgrading the radio communication system in Riley County. They stated that the upgrade will be important to NBAF and the people in Riley County.
2 People’s State Bank donated real property to the County for a fire station. The donated property exists in Leonardville, where the fire station will be built.
3 Captain Rich Fink of the RCPD said that they have been pulling resources together for Saint Paddy’s day. Also, a drowning occurred last weekend in which local fisherman overturned his boat and drowned. Captain Fink warned people that lake water is icy cold this time of year and hypothermia is a real threat to life.
4 Gina Scroggs reported on two events for Downtown Manhattan. First, Downtown Manhattan will sponsor a 5-mile run for breast cancer. Money raised will benefit the Johnson Cancer Research Center on campus and Downtown Manhattan. KSU Marching Band has joined the event. Beer and pizza will be available. Last, Downtown Manhattan has hired a new manager who will be developing special events for Manhattan. They are presently working on a new concept, called “Third Thursdays.” The point is to encourage people to come downtown.
5 Megan Dougherty from Walk Kansas reported on an event that will take occur from March 18 to May 12, 2018. The purpose of the event is to get people outside and exercising on a more regular basis.
6 Laurie Harrison reported that the National Weather Service from Topeka, KS will present information on severe weather and precautions the public can take to minimize the effects. The presentation will be at the Wareham Hotel on March 26, 2018.
7 Leon Hobson received an award for Government Engineer of the Year. On another topic altogether, Hobson reported that pre-cast concrete box culverts needed to be installed at four different places: Parallel Road, Center Hill Road, Cavalry Road, and Sherman Road.

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Riley County Law Board, February 20, 2018

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Tuesday, February 20.

After two questions the consent agenda was approved unanimously.

There was a call for public comments and Aaron Wright, a former RCPD officer, read a statement calling for the new director to use total transparency, implying that the current director did not and played favorites.  He urged the law board to pick an outsider as the next director.  His comments were distributed to the board members.

Detective Brian Johnson, the Paternal Order of Police representative, stated that out of 57,000 calls for service there were only 11 complaints which he thought was very good.  He also said the Order wants to participate in the selection of a new director.

Sergeant Wood reported on RCPD and drones.  They currently have two on hand and many officers are certified commercial pilots, however, he would like to get FAA licensing for them so that they could be used in special cases, e.g. flying over KSU football games when airspace is closed.  There is also a possibility of using Infrared cameras where heat generating bodies hidden from the naked eye could be discerned.  RCPD is trying to take a conservative approach to utilizing these by comparing other police department policies and being very careful about privacy and safety.

Captain Zink reported about Fake Paddy’s Day preparations.  RCPD will once again use the old park roundhouse building and the “skating rink” for processing  and command center.  Other agencies helping include KSU, Lawrence PD and Pottawatomie County PD.

RCPD presented three changes to the Salary Program.  Modifications to the compensatory time policy to allow officers to be paid for compensatory time late in the year rather than only when they leave service was discussed.  The idea is to save money by paying them at their current wage rather than when they leave when their wages may be higher.  It was decided to try this for a year and see how it worked out.  Education Incentive and Shift Differential increases which had been discussed at earlier meetings was approved.

The Law Board stated that they would get the best person for the new director.  They said a consultant had been hired, but they were not “farming the job out” and they would guide the process and be totally transparent.  The Board made up an outline of who should make up the committee to oversee the hiring and added a representative from KSU.

The board adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel issues.

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Riley County Commission, February 26, 2018

Riley County Commission February 26, 2018

Observer, Joan Strickler

Commissioners Rodriguez, Wells and Wilson present, Rodriguez chair.

Commissioner Wells said he recently attended a screening of the movie “Objects in the Mirror”.  The film was made in Manhattan with much of it filmed in the Riley County Courthouse.  He said the courtroom looked beautiful and he was very impressed with the quality of the movie.

The Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, Robbin Cole, spoke of efforts to create a mental health stabilization unit in this area.  The Pawnee service area has experienced an overall 22 % increase in demand for crisis services with a 25% increase occurring in Manhattan.

According to the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc., reductions in State psychiatric inpatient budgets, coupled with funding reductions in Mental Health Reform dollars, have resulted in Kansas’ system reaching a crisis.  More than half of those who present for treatment at mental health centers have no insurance.  Expansion of Medicaid, however, would provide coverage for persons who have a mental illness.  For those who do have Medicaid coverage but wind up in jail, they lose their coverage.  At this time Kansas law does not allow for suspension of Medicaid eligibility to be reinstated upon release from prison.

A major difficulty at this time is finding funding to create the mental health stabilization unit required to avoid the need for inappropriate incarceration of persons with mental illness.



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Riley County Commission, February 5, 2018

Riley County Commissioners Meeting for Monday, February 5, 2018
Observer:  Bill Schenck-Hamlin

Business MeetingRiley County Commission, February 5, 2018

1. Commissioners approved a set of tax roll corrections.

2. Commissioners funded a travel request for Allen Todd and Greg McHenry to attend the 2018 International Association of Assessing Officers conference.

3. Commissioners funded a travel request for Garry Rosewicz to attend Public Works conference in Wisconsin.

4. Commissioners gave permission to install a sign in the right of way of the Manhattan airport terminal. A large sign (38’ X 12’) will be installed at the entrance of the airport terminal. The sign reads: Fly MHK.

5. Commissioners approved the use of cell phones for staff.

6. Commissioners approved the minutes from the last meeting.

7. Commissioners reviewed the agendas for meetings on 02/08/2018 and 02/12/2018.

8. Riley County counselor and director of administrative services, Clancy Holeman, reviewed pending county projects.
Press Conference

9. Captain Rich Fink of RCPD had nothing special to report about Manhattan traffic or crime.

10. Cheryl Collins said that The Riley County Historical Society and Museum will present three programs on Manhattan life in the 1880s. On February 8 at the Manhattan Public Library from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, the Historical Society will examine home furnishings, comforts of the home, and controversial topics of the time. The Wolf house will be toured on March 15th and April 19th.

11. Gary Rosewicz will hold a public meeting for a bridge replacement at or near Randolph. The meeting is public and folks will discuss a couple of options for the replacement. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 13 at Randolph City Hall.

12. David Adams, the EMS Director, provided the commissioners with options for increasing the size of the Manhattan Ambulance service. Though ambulances can serve Manhattan residents quickly (under 10 minutes from the time of the 911 call), northern areas of the county cannot be served so quickly. Adams presented four scenarios for improving the situation. Each scenario reduced the amount of time to serve cities of Riley, Randolph, and Leonardville. Commissioners will need time to decide on the best scenario.

Meeting Adjourned

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Riley County Commission, January 25, 2018

Riley County Commission January 25, 2018

Joan Strickler, observer.

Commissioners Rodriguez, Wells and Wilson present, Rodriguez chair.

Commissioner Wells mentioned his concern about the amount of food that is thrown out in our country.

County Counselor/Director of Administrative Services Clancy Holeman led an administrative work session on the recommendation to approve the proposed Radio Communication Systems User Agreement. Riley County will be responsible for paying $1,262,514.50 of the $7,428,802.74 total system cost.  Non-County entities are to be contractually obligated to pay the additional cost of the System.  The current radio system used by entities such as police, fire, and EMS emergency response personnel has not been functioning properly.

Kevin Howser, IT/GIS Director, gave an extensive update of activities including getting operational a video conferencing system for judges to deal with distance situations such as State Hospital involuntary commitment hearings.  His staff also is working on Windows 10 upgrades.

Commissioners were presented with a K-113 Corridor Study proposal by Alfred Benesh and Co.  The study looks at potential growth and increasing traffic volumes and offers possible modifications needed.

Register of Deeds Debbie Regester said Legislative changes to the Mortgage Registration tax have resulted in Riley County’s income from fees reduced from $529,549 in 2016 to $379,561 in 2017.

County Treasurer Shilo Heger presented a report noting Riley County’s Sales Tax collected in 2017 is down from the amount collected in 2016.

Tax collected 2016 $3,579,528.22                 Tax collected in 2017 $3,514,265.98

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Riley County Law Board, January 15, 2018

Riley County Law Board, January 15, 2018

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Tuesday, January 15.

Regarding the Consent Agenda Commissioner Reddi mentioned that DUIs continue to decrease.

Officer Johnson spoke on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police and stated that things in general, communications in particular, went well in the recent shooting incident.

County Attorney was reappointed Hearing Officer for the Law Board.

The ’18 budget timeline was reviewed.  It will be similar to 2017 and there are no big unusual expenses foreseen.  Commissioner Wilson requested a parallel budget tracking actual expenses.  This would be an added workload.  RCPD said they would try to keep track of expenses.

Regarding the new agreement with KSU Police, it was explained that KSU police has jurisdiction on all KSU property and adjacent roads such as portions of North Manhattan and Anderson.  The agreement was approved after some questions about definitions of words.

The Radio Communications Agreement was approved after the funding was explained.

The meeting was adjourned after an executive session.

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USD 383 Board of Education, Jan. 17, 2018

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:

The work session focused on facility planning and a potential bond issue.  Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, discussed the timeline with the board and the scenarios developed by BG Consultants.  Mr. Reid recommended having the general scope of the bond completed by May 2018 that would outline the components of the bond issue.  The proposed bond would be sent to the Kansas Board of Education in July with the expectation that the state board would approve it by August.  Then, the local board would have August through November to educate the public, and the bond would be on the November ballot.

Mr. Reid reviewed the scenarios developed by BG Consultants.  One option involved creating early learning centers at College Hill and Eugene Field, and other existing preschool centers would close.  Elementary schools would house grades K-5 instead of the current K-6.  A new elementary school would be built.  Sixth grade would move to the middle school level, and the middle schools would be added onto.  Grades 9-12 would be in one building, and MHS East Campus would become an innovative school.  A second scenario would keep grades K-6 at the elementary level, two new elementary schools would be built, and the middle school and high school levels would remain the same.  A third option would repurpose the middle schools as elementary schools that would also house early learning, MHS West Campus would become the middle school and would house grades 6-8, MHS East Campus would be mothballed, and a new 9-12 high school would be built.  There were also “sub options” that would allow for additional flexibility.

Dave Colburn commented that he felt it was highly unrealistic to consider doing another bond in five years because he’s already heard concerns from the public that it’s only been 10 years since the last bond.  His recommendation was that anything that needs to happen in five years should be in the priority one level of the bond planning, and he also recommended that the board determine the educational vision of what board members want to do.  Karla Hagemeister agreed that the board should think about needs, and a new elementary school is a clear need and a second one would be needed in a few years.  However, she didn’t want to build a second elementary school just because of the notion that in order to gain support for building a school on the east side, one would have to be built on the west side as well.  Mr. Colburn was willing to entertain the idea of two new elementary schools because they would address the problems with overcrowding.

Regular meeting:

New board members Jurdene Coleman, Karla Hagemeister, and Katrina Lewison were sworn into office.

Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, reported that the governor mentioned a $600 million funding plan for 5 years, and fact-finding and information gathering is taking place in regards to the plan.

The board discussed a land transfer arrangement with the City of Manhattan.  The school district owns property along Amherst Ave., which could be a future school site.  The city recently acquired property adjacent to the district’s property.  The district inquired about the possibility of acquiring the city’s land because the land would help to provide access to Wreath Ave.  The city agreed to transfer ownership of the land at no cost with a reversion agreement that if the district sells or transfers ownership without constructing a school, then the land would revert to the city.  The board approved 7-0 the land transfer.

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Riley County Commissioners, December 4, 2017

Riley County Commissioners Meeting for Monday, December 4, 2017

Observer: Bill Schenck-Hamlin

Business Meeting

  1. Commissioners signed a tax roll correction for a sewer line that is located on Ron Wells’ property.
  2. Commissioners approved 2018 contract for grant funding through the Special Alcohol fund.
  3. Commissioners signed a Riley County Personnel Action form.
  4. Commissioners approved the minutes from the last meeting.
  5. Commissioners reviewed the agendas for meetings on 12/07/2017 and 12/11/2017.
  6. Riley County counselor and director of administrative services, Clancy Holeman, reviewed pending county projects.

Press Conference

  1. Captain Rich Fink of RCPD noted that one fatal accident (i.e., one vehicle, one person) occurred in Riley County but, otherwise, the month had been fairly quiet.
  2. Gina Scroggs from Downtown Manhattan noted that last week’s Holiday season parade was a success as the parade had a record number of float entries at 62; the parade route was busy with many observers; restaurants were full; and donations were provided to Wonder Workshop.
  3. Tami Robison, the Budget and Finance Officer, presented amendments to the 2017 County budget. Amendments affected the general fund, bond & interest fund, county building fund, adult services fund, fire district fund, rural fire capital outlay fund, fire station projects fund, solid waste fund, and the Fairmont Heights Capital Project fund.
  4. Rebecca Bishop, Local Government/Public Finance Specialist, presented a report that answered three key questions: (1) What are the primary categories of revenues and expenditures for county government in Kansas? (2) How have county government revenues and expenditure in Kansas changed over time? (3) How do revenues and expenditures by county governments compare to each other? The report provides citizens who have an interest in tax and public finance issues with accurate, up-to-date information.

Meeting Adjourned

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Riley County Law Board: Monday, November 20, 2017.

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, November 20, 2017.  From the consent agenda City Commissioner Reddi questioned the increase in the number of rapes reported.  Police Commissioner Schoen said he hoped it was because more rapes were being reported, not necessarily more occurring.  He said RCPD was using a new program, YOU HAVE OPTIONS, which encourages rapes to be reported and can be used to identify serial rapists.

City Commissioner questioned the use of Sexual Assault Nurses.  Via Christi currently does not have one, consequently if a sexual assault victim wants to be examined by a Sexual Assault Nurse they have to go to Junction City, Topeka or Salina.  Sexual Assault Nurses can gather more evidence that a regular examination.  County Prosecutor Wilkerson said a Sexual Assault Nurse examination would hold up better in court.

During the General Agenda it was noted that a new audit contract for RCPD was probably going to be awarded to James Gordon, a maintenance agreement with KComm for radio maintenance was accepted and the lease for the Aggieville substation was renewed.

The Board went into executive session for 15 minutes then adjourned at 12:50.

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