Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Work session: Jason Hilgers, Deputy City Manager; Eddie Eastes, Dir. of Parks and Rec.; and Bruce McMillan, Bruce McMillan Architects met with the board to discuss Parks and Rec. facility planning. A steering committee has met twice to discuss options, and one of the committee’s priorities was to create indoor space in diverse geographic locations around Manhattan. Possible locations included the two middle schools and the Douglass Center. Mr. McMillan presented renderings that would add indoor space to each middle school and connected to the existing buildings by a link. The additional space would have 4 basketball courts, locker rooms, multi-purpose space, and hospitality/kitchen space. One or two basketball courts might possibly be added to Douglass Center. The estimated cost to add onto the middle schools was $10-11 million and $3.5-5 million to add onto Douglass. Mr. McMillan also presented an option of adding an indoor aquatic facility to CiCo Park. Board member Darell Edie said he wasn’t sure how USD 383 would be able to pay for any of these facility additions, and Mr. Hilgers said he hadn’t anticipated that the district would participate in construction, but locating the facilities on district land would help on land costs. Mr. Hilgers also said the city would provide on-site management of the facilities and maintenance. Board members expressed general support of the proposal, especially if the district would be able to use the new facilities during the school day and wouldn’t be expected to provide financing.
Regular meeting: Greg Hoyt, MHS principal, provided the board with information for altering the high school’s class schedule. A district committee had been examining schedules and issues of equity between the elementary and secondary levels, and examining the high school’s schedule was part of the process. A schedule committee developed options, including a traditional class schedule, a block schedule, an advisory system, and a modified schedule. Faculty expressed a strong interest in providing advisory time and preferred a modified schedule. Twice a week, the schedule will provide 40 min. of advisory time for students and 50 min. where students may work on assignments or other school work. Board members approved the proposed schedule 7-0.
Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, provided the board with information about school finance. Tax revenue is expected to be down $348 million for the next 15 months, which included a decrease of $177 million for the rest of the current fiscal year and $171 million decrease for 2017. The governor has proposed three options to manage the budget, which to varying degrees involve using highway funds, continuing the higher education allotment, pushing back the KPERs repayment requirement to 2018, and possibly cutting all state agencies by 3-5%. A three-percent cut for USD 383 would amount to $1.44 million, and a 5% cut would be $2.4 million.
The Kansas Legislature had passed legislation that moved local elections from the spring to the fall. School boards were asked to approve a resolution that would extend the terms of any board members whose terms would expire in 2017 to an expiration date of Jan. 8, 2018. Dave Colburn said he would not sign the resolution, and Mr. Edie agreed that no one agrees with the resolution. A motion to approve the resolution failed 3-4, with board members Aaron Estabrook, Leah Fliter, Pat Hudgins, and Mr. Colburn dissenting. Dr. Bob Shannon, Superintendent, said administration would plan accordingly.