USD 383 Board of Education, Jan. 18, 2016

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, provided the board with information regarding the governor’s proposal for school funding.  The proposal called for freezing KPERS at 2016 levels and delaying payments, which amounts to an $89 million deficit.  The balance of $13 million in the extraordinary needs fund (which is a fund created to help districts experiencing hardships under the block grant funding) will be kept by the state instead of being distributed to school districts.  The final state aid payment will be delayed again this year.  Funding plans for 2018-19 call for a continued freeze of KPERS, districts will be asked to contribute to the extraordinary needs fund but no funds will be disbursed, general state aid will be reduced by $47.2 million statewide, and the state will keep any additional revenue resulting from increased valuations and generated by the state required 20 mills.  Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, added that the block grant funding was originally intended to last two years while the Legislature worked on a new formula, but no progress has been made, so it’s looking like block grants will continue for another year.  Board member Aaron Estabrook commented that it was ironic that the extraordinary needs fund was created to help struggling districts, and now it’s being used to help the state’s budget.  Leah Fliter added that there are comments floating around to the effect of state funding is at the highest level it’s ever been, but operating funds for districts are not, they have declined, and they have lagged behind the rate of inflation almost every year.

The board received a report on Career and Technical Education (CTE).  The district offers 10 clusters and 17 pathways, and the pathways are focused on what makes sense for our community.  Last year, 1,261 students were enrolled in at least one CTE course, and the majority enrolled in more than one.  The program is in the process of working on a several-tiered process for job-shadowing in the Manhattan community.

Board members discussed committee appointments to the MHS mascot committee. The committee will include MHS students, faculty, representatives from both sides of the issue, district administration, and school board members.  Committee members are as follows:  Zach Bergeron, Laverne Bitsie-Baldwin, Matt Davis, Elizabeth Fiser-Gaume, Bill Hsu, Elke Lorenz, Mike Matson, Kate Moore, Maggie Morgan, Alex Red Corn, Mike Smith, and Doug Stigge.  Dr. Marvin Wade, Superintendent, will serve as chair.  The board selected Dave Colburn and Curt Herrman to serve as the board’s representatives with Aaron Estabrook as the alternate.  All of the committee’s meetings will be open to the public.

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