Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
The board held a work session to discuss the Kansas Assoc. of School Board’s (KASB) legislative issues, and the bulk of the discussion was how to more effectively communicate with legislators. Board member Dave Colburn said that there are over 2,000 school board members state-wide, and they should have a voice. Mr. Colburn’s opinion was that KASB’s policies and positions don’t have much impact with legislators if they aren’t interested in research and are only interested in their ideology. Marcia Rozell said she would like to see USD 383 board members get organized and possibly go to Topeka, and Mr. Colburn suggested that maybe civil disobedience was in order. Leah Fliter suggested asking KASB to organize a big day at the Capitol, and Mr. Colburn suggested coordinating with teachers, other school boards, the Game On group, and businesses. Ms. Rozell thought doing something more than once during the legislative session would also be a good idea. Aaron Estabrook commented that some of the legislators don’t care about staying in office, and so it’s difficult to negotiate with someone who doesn’t care if they lose their seat. Darell Edie suggested educating the public through the press and also replacing legislators, and Ms. Fliter said that supporting candidates is another way to have influence.
Dr. Bob Shannon, Superintendent, also informed the board that the governor has indicated that he wants a merit pay plan for teachers in the new finance formula, and board members were in agreement to have Dr. Shannon draft a letter to KASB, expressing that the board feels merit pay should be at the local level.
The board received a report on Summer School programs. In 2015, 1,525 students had participated in summer programs, which was an increase of 333 students from 2014. A couple of the funding sources will expire in 2016 and 2017, and there was no solution yet as to how to replace the funding sources, but some of the fees that are collected will help with sustainability.
Dr. Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, reported on enrollment. K-12 enrollment was 6,002, and including virtual students, total enrollment was 6,203. Dr. Reid also shared that with the block grant funding, USD 383 is not receiving approximately $400,00-500,000 in state funding that it would have received with the old finance formula based on enrollment and weightings (e.g. additional funding for at-risk students, transportation, etc.)
The board approved 7-0 a recommendation for concurrent course reimbursement for courses offered at MHS in partnership with MATC that count toward both high school and college credit.