Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer
Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent, reported to the board on the illness affecting students at MHS West Campus. He said that KDHE had received four stool samples from students, and two of them had been positive for E. coli. The samples came from siblings in the same family, and the E. coli in the samples may not be related to the outbreak. He said the illness continues to be a mystery, and the district continues to clean the building and school buses.
Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, reported on graduation rates of Native American students. During public comment at a past meeting, a speaker had said that the drop-out rate for Native American students was 50%, and so Mr. Reid had investigated the accuracy of the statement. MHS qualifies as a Title VII school, and Title VII addresses educational programs for Native Americans, Hawaiians, and Alaskans. He had looked at the years 2010-2016, and for students who qualify under Title VII, the graduation rate was 89%. For other students who self-identify as Native American and who may also identify with an additional group, the graduation rate was 83.5%. He said there had been one year where the graduation rate was 50% for the group of students who self-identify as only Native American and who do not identify with any other group, and that group was not the full self-identifying set and not the full Title VII set of students.
Board members discussed future agenda items, which included a possible discussion of the MHS mascot. Board president Marcia Rozell said she would like to have the mascot discussion on the Dec. 7 agenda and have a public discussion of the issue on Nov. 30. She said she was thinking of having three groups provide input with up to 15 speakers per group, and the three groups would be ReImageMHK (the group wanting to change the mascot), current students, and alumni. There would be a moderator from the Kansas Association of School Boards, and the board would listen to comments and not provide any of their own. Curt Herrman wasn’t sure about limiting the discussion to 15 speakers per group, and Pat Hudgins asked how would it be handled if there are community members who would like to speak but who aren’t alumni. Darell Edie suggested an open comment time for people who aren’t members of the three suggested groups. Ms. Rozell said she wants input from board members as to the best way to have the discussion because she wants the discussion to have a structure to it.
The board discussed the five architectural firms being considered to work with the district on long-range facility planning. All five firms had made presentations during a previous meeting. Ms. Rozell commented that the district had worked with all five firms on past projects, and Mr. Reid said that district staff could work with any of them. Board members shared their top two firms and discussed their reasons for preferring a firm over the others. The board approved 7-0 to negotiate a contract with BG Consultants.