USD 383 Board of Education, April 1, 2020

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

The board approved the waiver application to the Kansas Dept. of Education for the district’s Continuous Learning Plan for the remainder of the school year. The waiver application requested an exemption from the number of attendance hours for students, provided assurances that hourly employees will be paid based on previously developed plans, and provided information about the district’s Continuous Learning Plan for students.

Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, provided information to board members about wage payments during an emergency school closing. Mr. Faust explained the process for determining wages for hourly employees. The past two pay periods were reviewed to create a sample of average hours to determine pay for the rest of the year. Some hourly workers, such as those in food service and IT, are still actively working, so if their hours exceed the average, or if their hours are less than the average, they will be paid whichever is the higher amount. The board approved the wage payment plan.

The board received an update on COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent, reported that PreK-6th grade students picked up learning packets as well as their belongings during scheduled times earlier this week. Secondary students will receive blended instruction, which will be a mix of packets and online instruction. Stephanie Smith, Dir. of Child Nutrition, said 2,109 students had been fed that day by picking up meals from distribution sites. The district will begin distributing “meal permits” on April 2, which will note the number of children in a family who are eligible for meals and will allow parents to pick up meals without the children present in an effort to reduce exposure. The district is also considering going to a multiple-day distribution, meaning families would be able to pick up more than one day’s worth of meals to reduce the number of times they need to leave their homes. Matt Davis reported that maintenance is still cleaning and sanitizing buildings, and employee hours have been adjusted to limit exposure.

Dr. Paula Hough, Dir. of Teaching and Learning, provided an update on the Continuous Learning Plan. Families of elementary students picked up learning packets, and students in grades 7-12 received technology as needed. Grades for middle school students will be pass/fail, and high school students will continue to receive letter grades. Dr. Ribble provided a technology update and said 374 devices have “checked in” to the district’s system. The district does not yet have the hotspot devices that will aid students with accessibility to the Internet. Andrea Tiede, Dir. of Special Services, reported that case managers have been making recommendations for home instruction for special needs students, and paras are able to provide support through the Zoom application.

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USD 383 Board of Education, March 18, 2020

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

The board spent the bulk of the meeting discussing the impact of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) and Gov. Kelly’s order that all schools would be closed for the remainder of the semester. Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent, reminded everyone the Riley County Health Dept. (RCHD) had mandated on March 13 the closure of all USD 383’s schools until March 30th, and since then, the governor had closed all schools statewide. In order for staff to be allowed to re-enter buildings, the district will need clearance from the RCHD. The district will develop a continuous learning plan with guidance from the Kansas Dept. of Education. Once the district knows the guidelines, plans will be developed, the board would need to approve the plans, staff would be trained, and the plans would be submitted to the Dept. of Education for approval.

Other aspects of the district’s operations reported on how they were addressing COVID-19.  Matt Davis, Dir. of Maintenance, reported that all attendance centers, buses, and playground equipment had been sprayed with appropriate disinfecting chemicals. Stephanie Smith, Dir. of Child Nutrition, told the board that six schools plus three mobile home parks are serving as feeding sites for children ages 1-18. Three additional feeding sites had just ben approved. The process of distributing meals has gone well, and 1,091 meals were disbursed on March 18. The feeding process will continue through May 13, which would have been the last day of school, and then the district will transition to the summer feeding program.

Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, reported there is a Memorandum of Understanding with KNEA Manhattan-Ogden, and the intention is to be flexible with staff. Michelle Jones, Dir. of Communications and School Safety, said information about COVID-19 has been added to the district’s home page to be a single place to find the latest information. Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, told the board that certified/licensed staff will be paid through the end of the school year, 12-month staff will be paid as in the past, and classified staff will be paid based on average hours derived from a two-month sample.

Dr. Paula Hough, Dir. of Teaching and Learning, provided the board with information about the development of the continuous learning plan. Principals will be sending surveys to families to determine if they have electronic devices for online learning, and staff will also be surveyed to determine the capacity for delivery of the continuous learning plan. There are three possible delivery methods for learning, including face-to-face learning in groups of 10 or less, virtual learning, and packets for students who don’t have digital access.  Dr. Hough expected to have a plan in about a week and a half. Andrea Tiede, Dir. of Special Services, said the education of special education students will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

In other business, it was reported that construction of the new Oliver Brown Elementary School has been hampered the past few weeks due to rain. With all schools closed, contractors working on the bond projects will be contacted to determine if it might be possible to move up construction schedules.

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Riley County Law Board: March 16,2020

By Greg Wurst, Observer

The Riley County Law Board met as scheduled at noon on Monday, March 16.

The Consent Agenda was approved.
 A proclamation making the week of April 12-18 National Public Safety Communications Week was read.
A letter of thanks from the RCPD to Tori Lamb who helped at the scene of a traffic accident was read.  Numerous awards for Lifesaving, Meritorious Service, Commendations and work on the Chicago Connection were read. The recipients were not present due to contagious virus considerations.
The Community Advisory Board reported that it was writing articles and encouraging new members.
The Special Order Vehicle policy added the new Bearcat and drones to the list of special vehicles.
The Facial Hair Policy was amended to allow professional facial hair and three ear piercings, up from two.
The new firing range is moving along, but still at the architects. Ground has not been broken.
Fake Patty’s Day has been cancelled.  Outside assistance has been cancelled.  Approximately 1/3 of the hotel reservations for that weekend have been cancelled.  RCPD will keep extra officers on duty.  House parties are potentially dangerous because of the close proximity of people.  RCPD is taking action to combat the coronavirus internally.
The first reading of the 20-21 budget was presented.  85% of the budget is personnel.  The cost of insurance will not go up, but RCPD is requesting and increase of 3.7% for cost of living increases and merit raises, $15,000 for an new part time clerk and $40,000 for the underfunding account to cover things whose price has risen.  That totals an increase of 4.04%, or $900,000.
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USD 383 Board of Education, March 13, 2020

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Note: The observer was unable to attend the meeting in person, and the school district’s live video broadcast wasn’t working. These notes are based on live online updates provided by the school district.

The Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Representatives from the Riley County Health Dept. (RCHD) were in attendance to provide information and guidance. RCHD representatives shared recommendations from the CDC about influenza, which applies because COVID-19’s symptoms are similar to the flu. Pre-emptive school closures may be implemented, which may be better than reactive closures. Board member Curt Herrman asked about a vaccine for COVID-19, and the RCHD representatives said the process to develop a vaccine is long, and it’s unknown when one might be available.

A board member asked if it would be better to wait to close schools since the situation here isn’t as serious as it is in other areas of the U.S., and the RCHD representative stressed the importance of being proactive instead of reactive and to “flatten the curve,” which is in reference to the statistical chart that shows the curve of the number of cases flattens when protective measures are implemented and helps keep health care services from being overloaded. It was asked if the RCHD’s recommendations were general or specific to Manhattan/Ogden, and the response was our community has unique conditions, such as Ft. Riley and KSU. Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, asked if RCHD’s recommendation to close schools was mandatory, and the RCHD representatives indicated it was a requirement.

Discussion included what the ramifications would be if schools closed, such as daycare, hourly employees, and students who have individualized education programs.  The possible ramifications were at the forefront of board members’ minds.  The school calendar was discussed, and Mr. Reid indicated the district has 3 days available, plus two additional days in reserve at the end of the calendar year.  He indicated it would be difficult for USD 383 and other districts to transition to all virtual learning because districts need to have already had plans in place for it. Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent, discussed waivers that may be needed from the Kansas Dept. of Education. He indicated there might be opportunities for blended learning, extending the school year, or asking for days missed to be forgiven.

Stephanie Smith, Dir. of Child Nutrition, indicated the district can provide “bag lunch” meals to students if needed.

A board member commented that there is no precedent for the situation, and USD 383 is in a position to lead as are school districts across the state.  Karla Hagemeister indicated there is no perfect response, and every decision will impact every family and student differently. A board member asked district administration and RCHD to make a recommendation of who are the essential personnel who should report to work next week and what should the plan be moving forward.

The Riley County Health Dept. mandated that schools be closed in USD 383 until March 30th, and Dr. Wade recommended that schools be closed for a minimum of an additional 14 days.  Schools will be closed until March 30th, and this will also apply to athletic and school activities.


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USD 383 Board of Education, Jan. 22, 2020

The meeting began with the swearing in of the newly elected board members, including new members Kristin Brighton and Brandy Santos, and returning board members Curt Herrman and Darell Edie. The board elected Karla Hagemeister as board president and Jurdene Coleman as vice-president.

Dustin Avey, with the firm Piper Sandler, provided board members with information  about refinancing Series 2011 and Series 2018-A bonds. Banks were asked to submit proposals for refinancing. Intrust Bank submitted the best proposal, which will result in a savings of more than $800,000. Board members indicated their support of refinancing, and the refinancing topic will be discussed during a February meeting for formal board action.

The board approved the guaranteed maximum price of $17,618,700 with Hutton/BHS Construction for the construction of Oliver Brown Elementary School.

The board discussed a proposal to contract with a consultant for redistricting. When redistricting last occurred, a committee was formed to make redistricting decisions. Eric Reid, Asst. Supt., said the committee didn’t really make long-term plans for redistricting, and it wasn’t long before the district had to do forced transfers again to address overcrowding. A consultant would help analyze demographics and population trends to aid long-term planning. The board approved 7-0 to contract with RSP and Associates for redistricting consultation.

Board members also discussed purchasing property at 810 Levee Dr. to use as the district’s warehouse. As part of the 2018 bond, a concept was developed to construct a warehouse at MHS East Campus, located at 901 Poyntz Ave., but there were concerns about the logistics of large trucks accessing the site. The 5-acre site on Levee Dr. was the former home of Bailey Moving and Storage. Mr. Reid indicated the Levee Dr. property would be easier for trucks to access, and its size creates the potential to build a new central kitchen facility at the site. $1.9 million was budgeted to build a warehouse at 901 Poyntz, and the purchase price for the Levee Dr. property was $1,070,000, resulting in a savings of funds. The board approved 7-0 to move forward with purchasing the Levee Dr. property.

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Riley County Law Board, 11-18-2019

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, November 18.  The Consent Agenda was passed unanimously.

A link to a community survey administered by the National Police Foundation is on all of the RCPD sites.  Everyone is encouraged to respond.  Statistics on arrests in Pottawatomie County by RCPD officers is available.

A Fraternal Order of Police reported on fund raising efforts through Hair For the Holidays by which officers may grow beards to make money to help less fortunate.

There are many vacancies in the RCPD.    Everyone is encouraged to fill out an application whether it be uniformed officer, dispatch or jailers.

Captain Kyle reported on the Firearms Range.  The new one will have running water and require more maintenance.  The old lease runs out 6/20 and they hope to be in the new range by then, but there still may be some construction going on for a while thereafter.  Other agencies will probably be able to use it.

Accreditation will be coming up soon and should be finished early next year.

A vote on a memorandum of understanding with KSU police allowing them to police areas surrounding KSU, e.g. streets, student populated areas and greek houses was postponed due to concerns about an addendum.

A Peer Support Program which would allow RCPD personnel to confidentially seek mental health advice was passed unaniously.

Captain Kyle reported that there would be approximately $1 million in unspent funds at the end of the year.  He showed a spread sheet and everyone agreed that it would be more economical to buy new vehicles that used Highway Patrol vehicles.

RCPD received a $10 thousand dollar donation from the Howe Family toward a new trailer used to boost public awareness.

The board went into executive session for 20 minutes to consider two personnel matters.

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Riley County Law Board, August 19, 2019

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, August 19.

The Consent Agenda passed.

Linda Morse mentioned that people need to be aware of school buses now that school has started.

Corporal Sam Schubert was promoted and Gina Scroggs and Patrice Scott received awards for their work on the Community Advisory Board.

Director Butler explained a $125,000 error in the 2020 budget regarding a computer generated COLA for sworn officers.  The shortfall will have to be absorbed and he will determine where cuts will be made.

The Law Board approved an application for the Ed Burn Memorial Justice Assistance Grant which are federal funds ($19,427) to be used for radios and batteries.

A report on the new firearms range indicated a purchase of new land and development was imminent.

In reply to an earlier questions it was reported that there was little impact on the Stampede not being held here.  The Stampede reimbursed salaries and the calls for service were about the same whether it was here or not.

According to a KBI report Riley County compares well as far as crime is concerned with other Kansas jurisdictions.

The Board adjourned to executive session.

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USD 383 Board of Education, June 5, 2019

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

The board was provided information about the School Mental Health Initiative (SMHI), which would involve the district’s partnering with Pawnee Mental Health Services. The initiative is a newer initiative funded by a grant through special education.  Children who have experienced “adverse childhood experiences” are more likely to have issues with learning. Staff can also struggle with mental health well-being. The socio-emotional realm is another component of the multi-tiered levels of support the district already provides. The board approved signing a letter of support for USD 383’s participation in the SMHI.

The board was also provided with an update on bond-related projects. The projects at Eugene Field, College Hill Preschool, and the new elementary building in Blue Township are progressing to the design development phase.

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Riley County Law Board, 3/18/19

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on  Monday, March 18.
The consent agenda passed.
Thanks was given to the police force for a calm Fake Paddy’s Day, especially the retired officers who helped out.
There was a proclamation honoring Public Safety Dispatchers.
“of the Year” and Core Value award winners were announced.
A report was given on Fentynol, a synthetic morphine that has turned up in local heroin overdoses and has caused two fatalities.  RCPD of conducted a media campaign and will prosecute sellers to the fullest.
A preliminary Fake Paddy’s day report was given.  All misbehavior was down, probably due to the weather.  There is a concern that Aggieville bars are collecting a high cover charge which is driving the parties out of Aggieville to nearby neighborhoods.
The budget will be presented on March 29. Executive session.

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