By LAUREN VINCENT
• Daily Leader
The same three board of education members who had previously pushed to lower the budget mill levy in hopes of gaining public trust were once again outnumbered during Monday evening’s regular USD No. 480 board meeting.
Board members Dan Diepenbrock, Dr. Jim Jury, Stacy Johnson, and Nick Hatcher passed the proposed budget with board president Reid Petty, vice president Tammy Sutherland-Abbott and member Cheryl Louderback remaining opposed.
The capital outlay budget will require an increase of the mill levy from 0 to 4 mills. An additional 0.219 mills will go to other bond and interest and the Local Option Budget.
Eight of the 13 action items on the evening’s agenda dealt with purchasing equipment for South Middle School with state funds from the School Improvement Grant.
“The South Middle School School Improvement Grant is being put in motion,” superintendent Lance Stout said. “Of the $1.8 million budget this year, 30 percent is allocated on professional development and staff, 52 percent on property – including new updated technology as highly recommended by the Kansas State Department of Education – and the remaining 18 percent on supplies, materials and support services.”
“The recommendations that have been made,” Jury asked,” “especially on the technological standpoint, where do those come from?”
“We submitted a plan to KSDE,” Stout said. “They sent a committee out to meet with all of the directors and administrators from SMS in early May. When they left, they took the initial plan and tweaked it. The majority of their comments back to us were in regards to SMS not being a technology rich school. We appointed Terry to specifically touch base with their point of contact. These recommendations are coming from that correspondence. Once we made those revisions and resubmitted to the state, we were one of the five, from 22 schools, that were rewarded the grant.”
While accepting grant money to purchase new technology could easily be done willingly, some were concerned with the effects it may have on other schools and in the near future.
“One of the problems I see coming down the pipe is spending whatever we’re going to spend and then in three years that’s worn out,” Diepenbrock said. “And we’re either going to have to replace a million dollars plus, of technology, or not. Where is that money going to come from? Has that topic been discussed with the state department?”
“It has, and they are not concerned with what will happen in three years, after the grant goes away,” said director of technology Terry Adams. “So the impetus will be back on the district to maintain all of that. The goal is to maintain it, not to let it get old and decrepit.”
“The other issue is, as you raise the bar technologically at South, being careful that the other schools don’t get left behind,” Jury said.
“Yes but one thing this will do is give us a direction on what needs to go in a classroom as teachers request things,” Adams answered. “It gives an example of what a classroom needs to look like across the district.”
Following this discussion, the board approved the purchases of the following for SMS:
Cisco switches for each building in the district which will increase band width, from one gigabyte to 10 gigabyte, across the network. The board voted to accept the bid from Alexander Open Systems for $244,158.
Four HP color laser printers from GovConnection for $5,206.
Thirty-two Samsung LCD projectors from Southern Office Supply for $36,890.
Thirty-one Elmo TT-02RX document cameras, allowing teachers to send an image through the projector without first needing to transfer it onto an overhead, from GovConnection for $16,089.
Fourty-one 32-inch and two 55-inch televisions form Circle D TV for a total cost of $22,176.
Thirty-two REDCAT classroom sound systems, making a teacher more easily heard throughout the classroom, from LightSpeed for $34,240.
Ten Classroom Performance System units of 25 clickers, which provide immediate testing results and help monitor student progress, from EInstruction for $15,670.
Thirty-one Interwrite Mobi wireless tablets, giving a teacher the ability to move throughout the classroom while still teaching through the screen in the front, from EInstruction for $9,889.
Also voted on was the five-year renewal of a contract with Coke, which expired Aug. 1, at $152,300, including an annual sponsorship of $10,000. The sponsorship money is to be split between the high school and middle schools for various extracurricular activities decided upon by the individual schools.
The board voted to accept the low bid from LD Cabinets to install counter tops in the focus classrooms for $11,020.
Also accepted was the Literacy First contract for new teachers.
The certified employment of Sabrina Armijo, Counselor, Elementary; Katrina Deters, Title 1, Garf/McD; Carol Pederson, 1st Grade, Garfield; Stephanie Jones, 2nd Grade, MacArthur; Sheela Rogers, 6th Grade, Sunflower; William Seifert, Language Arts, South; and Bonnie Young, Math, South, was approved.
The classified employment of Ana Borjas, Custodian Sub, District; Anita DeSarabia, ESL Para, High School; Pat Greer, ESL/Migrant Para, Southlawn, Missy Licon, Building Para, McKinley; Laura Montoya, IRC Para, Sunflower; Lorena Munoz, IRC Para, Sunflower; Lucila Perez, Cafeteria, High School; Alma Rodriguez, ESL Para, Sunflower; Sara Rodriguez, IRC Para, High School; and David Short, Computer Para, MacArthur, was approved.
The resignations of Susana Basurto, Parent Coordinator, Southlawn; Ana Borjas, Custodian Sub, District; Lily Franz, Building Para, MacArthur; Julie Lash, ESL/Migrant Para, Southlawn; Elizabeth Sherrill, IRC Para, Sunflower; Judy Scranton, Para, South; Cassandra Strickland, IRC Para, Southlawn; and Guillermina Villarreal, IRC Para, McKinley, were accepted.
The transfer of Marisol Pavia, Building Para, SL, to Parent Coordinator, SL, was also approved.