USD 383 Board of Education, Jan. 17, 2018

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:

The work session focused on facility planning and a potential bond issue.  Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, discussed the timeline with the board and the scenarios developed by BG Consultants.  Mr. Reid recommended having the general scope of the bond completed by May 2018 that would outline the components of the bond issue.  The proposed bond would be sent to the Kansas Board of Education in July with the expectation that the state board would approve it by August.  Then, the local board would have August through November to educate the public, and the bond would be on the November ballot.

Mr. Reid reviewed the scenarios developed by BG Consultants.  One option involved creating early learning centers at College Hill and Eugene Field, and other existing preschool centers would close.  Elementary schools would house grades K-5 instead of the current K-6.  A new elementary school would be built.  Sixth grade would move to the middle school level, and the middle schools would be added onto.  Grades 9-12 would be in one building, and MHS East Campus would become an innovative school.  A second scenario would keep grades K-6 at the elementary level, two new elementary schools would be built, and the middle school and high school levels would remain the same.  A third option would repurpose the middle schools as elementary schools that would also house early learning, MHS West Campus would become the middle school and would house grades 6-8, MHS East Campus would be mothballed, and a new 9-12 high school would be built.  There were also “sub options” that would allow for additional flexibility.

Dave Colburn commented that he felt it was highly unrealistic to consider doing another bond in five years because he’s already heard concerns from the public that it’s only been 10 years since the last bond.  His recommendation was that anything that needs to happen in five years should be in the priority one level of the bond planning, and he also recommended that the board determine the educational vision of what board members want to do.  Karla Hagemeister agreed that the board should think about needs, and a new elementary school is a clear need and a second one would be needed in a few years.  However, she didn’t want to build a second elementary school just because of the notion that in order to gain support for building a school on the east side, one would have to be built on the west side as well.  Mr. Colburn was willing to entertain the idea of two new elementary schools because they would address the problems with overcrowding.

Regular meeting:

New board members Jurdene Coleman, Karla Hagemeister, and Katrina Lewison were sworn into office.

Lew Faust, Dir. of Business Services, reported that the governor mentioned a $600 million funding plan for 5 years, and fact-finding and information gathering is taking place in regards to the plan.

The board discussed a land transfer arrangement with the City of Manhattan.  The school district owns property along Amherst Ave., which could be a future school site.  The city recently acquired property adjacent to the district’s property.  The district inquired about the possibility of acquiring the city’s land because the land would help to provide access to Wreath Ave.  The city agreed to transfer ownership of the land at no cost with a reversion agreement that if the district sells or transfers ownership without constructing a school, then the land would revert to the city.  The board approved 7-0 the land transfer.

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Riley County Commissioners, December 4, 2017

Riley County Commissioners Meeting for Monday, December 4, 2017

Observer: Bill Schenck-Hamlin

Business Meeting

  1. Commissioners signed a tax roll correction for a sewer line that is located on Ron Wells’ property.
  2. Commissioners approved 2018 contract for grant funding through the Special Alcohol fund.
  3. Commissioners signed a Riley County Personnel Action form.
  4. Commissioners approved the minutes from the last meeting.
  5. Commissioners reviewed the agendas for meetings on 12/07/2017 and 12/11/2017.
  6. Riley County counselor and director of administrative services, Clancy Holeman, reviewed pending county projects.

Press Conference

  1. Captain Rich Fink of RCPD noted that one fatal accident (i.e., one vehicle, one person) occurred in Riley County but, otherwise, the month had been fairly quiet.
  2. Gina Scroggs from Downtown Manhattan noted that last week’s Holiday season parade was a success as the parade had a record number of float entries at 62; the parade route was busy with many observers; restaurants were full; and donations were provided to Wonder Workshop.
  3. Tami Robison, the Budget and Finance Officer, presented amendments to the 2017 County budget. Amendments affected the general fund, bond & interest fund, county building fund, adult services fund, fire district fund, rural fire capital outlay fund, fire station projects fund, solid waste fund, and the Fairmont Heights Capital Project fund.
  4. Rebecca Bishop, Local Government/Public Finance Specialist, presented a report that answered three key questions: (1) What are the primary categories of revenues and expenditures for county government in Kansas? (2) How have county government revenues and expenditure in Kansas changed over time? (3) How do revenues and expenditures by county governments compare to each other? The report provides citizens who have an interest in tax and public finance issues with accurate, up-to-date information.

Meeting Adjourned

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Riley County Law Board: Monday, November 20, 2017.

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, November 20, 2017.  From the consent agenda City Commissioner Reddi questioned the increase in the number of rapes reported.  Police Commissioner Schoen said he hoped it was because more rapes were being reported, not necessarily more occurring.  He said RCPD was using a new program, YOU HAVE OPTIONS, which encourages rapes to be reported and can be used to identify serial rapists.

City Commissioner questioned the use of Sexual Assault Nurses.  Via Christi currently does not have one, consequently if a sexual assault victim wants to be examined by a Sexual Assault Nurse they have to go to Junction City, Topeka or Salina.  Sexual Assault Nurses can gather more evidence that a regular examination.  County Prosecutor Wilkerson said a Sexual Assault Nurse examination would hold up better in court.

During the General Agenda it was noted that a new audit contract for RCPD was probably going to be awarded to James Gordon, a maintenance agreement with KComm for radio maintenance was accepted and the lease for the Aggieville substation was renewed.

The Board went into executive session for 15 minutes then adjourned at 12:50.

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Riley County Commission: November 27, 2017

Riley County Commission November 27, 2017

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Ron Wells and Ben Wilson present, Wells as chair.

Cheryl Collins, Director of the Riley County Museum and several staff members described the types of work they have been involved in over recent months.  The Museum hosted the Kansas Museum Directors association and the directors were very impressed with the active involvement of Riley County’s board members.

On Tuesday Command Sergeant Major (retired) John White Jr. will talk about his role serving in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1979.  White currently serves on the board of the Riley County Historical Society.

Lori Feldkamp, Big Lakes Developmental Center Director, said Kansas is now in the process of soliciting bids from companies interested in serving Medicaid recipients in Kansas.  She said she has received inquiries from Aetna and other similar insurance companies.  There remain lots of questions to be answered regarding the Medicaid program at the Federal level as well as with KANCARE in Kansas.

Jennifer Green, Director of the Riley County Health Department, asked for approval to submit a request to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for a $5000 grant to assist hospitals and healthcare providers develop injury prevention plans and procedures.  Permission granted.

The Commissioners voted to approve the installation of a Street Light at the intersection of College and Marlatt Avenues.



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Riley County Commissioners Meeting, November 6, 2017

Riley County Commissioners Meeting for Monday, November 6, 2017

Observer: William Schenck-Hamlin

Business Meeting

  1. Commissioners approved promotions for two people in the Riley County office.
  2. Commissioners approved an advertisement to replace a culvert on West 543th Avenue.
  3. Commissioners approved an amendment to increase the funding for a renovation project in the clerk’s office. Six thousand dollars was added to the project.
  4. Commissioners approved a .80% cost of living pay increase for appointed and elected officials.
  5. Commissioners approved the minutes from the last meeting.
  6. Commissioners reviewed the agendas for meetings on 11/9/2017 and 11/13/2017.
  7. Riley County counselor and director of administrative services, Clancy Holeman, reviewed pending county projects.
  8. Riley County treasurer, Shilo Heger, reviewed the balance sheets for Riley County. To date, sales tax collections are down by 1.57% compared to October 2016.

Press Conference

  1. Gina Scroggs from Downtown Manhattan reviewed the plans for the upcoming events during the Holiday season.
  2. Captain Rich Fink of RCPD noted that preventable accidents were up by 1% but injury accidents were down. He also discussed shift changes that would place more officers on duty when and where they are needed.
  3. Leon Hobson briefly discussed a public notice on the project that will be underway soon.
  4. Rich Vargo noted that a general election will be held on Tuesday, 11/07/2017 for the City Commission and School Board. Everything is ready.

Meeting Adjourned

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Riley County Commission: October 23, 2017

Riley County Commission October 23, 2017
Observer:  Joan Strickler

Commissioners Wells, Rodriguez and Wilson present, Wells presiding.
Robbin Cole, Director of Pawnee Mental Health Services, said Ossawatomie State Hospital is continuing to lose the State $1 million a month due to loss of federal certification. Currently Larned State Hospital is now in the news due to similar problems in being in non-compliance. Larned has been given one month to come up to the standards. The State is looking into privatizing the hospitals but must have Legislative approval to do so.
A legislative forum involving local State Legislators to discuss mental health issues will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 Tuesday at Manhattan City Hall.
Register of Deeds Debbie Regester reported the County is well ahead of projected income for this year amounting to $751,000. However, she has been tracking daily revenue loss due to changes in filing fees and the mortgage registration tax approved by the Legislature. Total revenue loss from January l, 2005 (when the new fee/registration tax went into effect) through October 17, 2017 now totals $538,510.
County Clerk Rich Vargo encouraged people to vote in the coming election on November 7. This year is the first time for school and City elections to be held in the fall.

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Riley County Law Board, October 16, 2017

Observer: Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at noon on Monday, October 16, 2017. The consent agenda and officers not having to shave during December to raise money for Shop with a Cop were approved.

The local Unitarian Universalist minister and Dr. John Exdell showed statistics that they said showed a bias by RCPD for arresting more blacks than whites for using marijuana, usually through pretextual stops. A book by Dr. Epp of KU which purported to show this in the Lawrence/KC area was cited. Dr. Exdell said his statistics had been adjusted to take the populations of Manhattan and the class of the vehicle in the stop into consideration. Several in attendance gave anecdotal evidence of treatment they thought was discriminatory by the RCPD, one of whom attended our Lunch with the League the next day. Chief Schoen said often guns or drugs from other jurisdictions were involved or RCPD wants to know that address of who is driving the car. Detective Johnson, representing the police officer’s union thanked Dr. Exdell for his concerns then mentioned that this was the fourth time he had been before the Law Board. He said some of the statistics had been taken from Facebook which was not a reliable source and that with the transient student and military populations in Manhattan it could not be comparable to Lawrence or KC, due in part to age and socioeconomic factors.

In an effort to solve this question a committee was formed to look at all police reports and garner certain statistics to prove or disprove the issue. Committee members would come from MAPJ, RCPD and the Law Board. Chief Schoen said this had been tried at the state level unsuccessfully and it would take quite a while. Three to four months was mentioned as a timeframe to decide what information to collect, but Chief Schoen said he would be out of town for a week in October and November so it would take longer.

The Board went into executive session for 15 minutes then adjourned at 2:30

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Riley County Commission, September 25, 2017

Riley County Commission September 25, 2017

Joan Strickler, observer

Commissioners Wells, Rodriguez and Wilson present, Wells presiding.

Health Department Director, Jennifer Green, requested Commission approval to submit a grant proposal to the Peine Foundation intended to supplement federal funds provided to identify needs of underserved populations in the County.  The additional funds would allow the Department to hire one full time Community Liaison who would recruit individuals to assist with neighborhood surveys, and arrange to provide bus transportation to meetings with food and interpreter services as needed.  The surveys would help identify unserved or underserved individuals with conditions including mental illness, diabetes, heart and other problems.  The request was approved.

Clancy Holeman, Counselor/Director of Administrative Services expressed appreciation to the County’s local elected officials who participated in a meeting with State officials regarding the re-certification of the RCPD self-funded workers comp funds plan.  Problems and misunderstandings were identified and, hopefully, problems solved.

Leon Hobson, Public Works Director, reported on a meeting with Ft. Riley representatives to discuss the possibility of constructing detention structures on Fort Riley land.  Such structures would be intended to reduce the impact of flooding on Wildcat Creek.  Additional information is needed.  Commissioners agreed to join the City in paying for a feasibility study prior to any such construction getting underway.

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USD 383 Board of Education, Sept. 20, 2017

Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Work session:

Representatives of BG Consultants, who have been developing a facilities’ master plan for the district, provided the board with preliminary information.  The consultants projected that in the next five years, the elementary level will need 23 additional classrooms, which could result in the need for an additional elementary school.  The consultants suggested the option of creating K-5 elementary schools and moving 6th grade to the middle school level to alleviate some of the crowding at the elementary level.  The middle schools could be added onto to accommodate the additional students, and the consultants also recommended adding a large music room to the middle schools that could double as a storm shelter.  The consultants said that MHS East Campus is underutilized and could house twice as many students.  They suggested locating administrative offices in MHS East Campus or to create an innovative campus for grades 9-12.  For the next 5 years, the consultants projected $124 million in projects, which could be compacted, deferred, completed with capital outlay, or become a bond project.  For the next 20 years, the consultants projected the district will need to invest $242 million in implementation and maintenance.  Dave Colburn commented that a big item in the preliminary master plan is moving 6th grade to middle school versus building a new K-6 school, and he asked about the cost difference and which could be completed quicker.  The consultants said they were finalizing numbers and were also looking at the option of constructing two elementary schools in lieu of moving 6th grade.

Regular meeting:

Jason Hilgers and Eddie Eastes with the City of Manhattan updated the board on the recreation and trails sales tax that will be on the November ballot.  If approved by voters, $8.5 million would be spent at each middle school to add on 30,000-40,000 square foot facilities.  Another $8.5 million would be spent on improvements at CiCo Park.  Other funds would be dedicated to expanding trails and filling gaps in trails.  Mr. Colburn commented that if the tax isn’t approved, the district would have to add gyms to the middle schools and use property taxes.

Eric Reid, Asst. Superintendent, provided a report on enrollment.  The elementary level was up 106, middle school was up 33 students, and the high school level was up 73 students, for an overall increase of 212 students.  Mr. Reid also reported on student transfers, and there were 63 “forced” transfers, which occurs when the school a student is supposed to attend is overcrowded and the student is moved to a less-crowded school.

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Riley County Law Board, September 18, 2017

Observer:  Greg Wurst

The Riley County Law Board met at 12:00 PM on Monday, September 18.

It began with an update on the Community Advisory Board.  There are nine members and one vacancy.  A KSU student has just been recruited.  Their job is to assist and advise the RCPD and relay community needs to them.  They meet on the first Tuesday of every month at 11:30AM at Bluestem Bistro.  All are welcome.

October 28 will be a day when prescription drugs can be brought to RCPD or the mall for destruction.

RCPD is buy seven new vehicles that were already in the budget.

The Radio Infrastructure Replacement Agreement was discussed.  The county will be in charge of the infrastructure, e.g. antennas, relays and towers.  Agencies that was to be a part of this and use the system such as RCPD, Manhattan Fire Department, Emergency Services and Ambulances will have to buy the prescribed radios to fit the system.  The county will buy the infrastructure and radios together to get them cheaper then distribute the radios.

The Workman’s Comp Self Funding agreement was approved after discussions on the definition of an emergency and funding which will be agreeable to the state.

The Law Board will furnish a letter approving a grant request which will fund a recovering mental health patient as a certified peer counselor who will work with inmates and recent releases.  The letter will give the grant a priority and allow the a counselor to work in the jail.The counselor will work through Pawnee Mental Health and is budgeted for 20 hours a week.  They will help people with things such as housing, medicaid and finding a doctor.

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