Fifteenth Street and Western Avenue remains peaceful early this morning. The area of Fifteenth Street and Western Avenue was discussed by the USD 480 Board of Education Monday evening. L&T photo/Elly Grimm
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is Part 2 of the story recapping the most recent meeting of the USD No. 480 Board of Education Monday evening.
While the implementation of all-day kindergarten was the highlight of Monday evening’s meeting of the USD No. 480 Board of Educatoin, Auxiliary Services representitives were also present to discuss a few items of business.
That discussion began during the report of Director of Business Jerry Clay after a couple questions were asked regarding traffic safety around 15th and Western Avenue near Eisenhower Middle School.
“Were we ever notified about the money spent on the lights at 15th and Western before it was done?” board member Nick Hatcher asked.
“Were we notified? No,” Clay answered. “We got notification in the monthly report, which shows what has been spent. Just like this month, we included in December’s, there was about $30,000 for school flashers at Seymour Rogers is what it says.”
There were also questions raised about traffic studies in that area, to which the answer was no.
“I’ve had several comments from people throughout Liberal who have asked why they have the mile or mile-and-a-half long school zone on Western when there’s maybe three or four streets that aren’t in the school zone,” Hatcher said. “And if you turn one direction or the other, you’ll never know you’re in a school zone because the lights are on the outside of those streets.”
Auxiliary Services Director Mike Rogg, who attends the Traffic Committee meetings, then spoke up.
“We’ve had some weekly discussions about how to handle South Holly and Western, and they went a different way,” Rogg said. “The traffic committee determined we were better off. We studied the data from stop lights compared to four-way stop signs, and it indicated to our group we had fewer accidents at the four-way stop signs.”
Rogg continued saying discussions regarding that area had been ongoing, and Hatcher again said how he had heard several comments from the community. board member Steve Helm then spoke up, saying he was dismayed at how there were no minutes given to the board from the Traffic Committee meetings.
“Someone else is driving the ship and making all these decisions,” Helm said. “Are we not attending the meetings, are we not keeping minutes from those meetings, or what? We’re not getting minutes of the meetings taking place. We know we had a problem with the design committee, there’s no minutes to go back and track anything that was done. I don’t want to have that again with these other committees. The minutes should be taken at every meeting, and be made part of our record.”
The restructuring of the Eisenhower Middle School track team was also approved 6-1, with board member Cliff Abbott voting no, as he felt the board needed more data. With last year’s team, approximately 155 athletes were involved, and there were five coaches to oversee the team, which added up to a 30:1 ratio, according to E.M.S. Assistant Principal Jenifer Davis. With the new structure, there will be one head coach and five assistant coaches. The new structure came about as last year’s coach Jason Dunlap will be working with the high school track team.
“We see this as beneficial first off because we have that vacancy and have an ability to look at it and find some creative ways to restructure,” Davis said. “We also look at this as an opportunity as far as competition goes, because the coaches are doing a lot of babysitting almost, and track is very dangerous.”
Davis added she anticipates high turnout for the track team again for the upcoming season, and assured the board there are enough resources, including gear and jerseys, for the athletes who wish to participate. Davis also said looking at past numbers has shown the school’s athletic programs have been sustained very well.
“We looked back at the past five years, and we’ve never had less than 100 participants,” Davis said. “We want to keep encouraging that.”
Technology was also discussed during Monday evening’s meeting, with a trio of items being approved, the first of which was the unanimous approval of renewing the contract with VM Ware, which allows the district to have one processor for multiple servers, according to Clay. The renewal is for three years at a cost of $20,751.08 through AOS. An agreement with AOS for server upgrades was also unanimously approved. The total cost with this agreement is $104,589.43, and includes the server blades and blade storage. As the current equipment is nearly 10 years old, new equipment is a must, especially for upgrades to PowerSchool.
The final technology item saw the board unanimously approving an information technology architectural assessment and its associated $25,000 fee. This is to assess the district’s current technology situation, and after recommendations are made as a result of the assessment, those recommendations will be brought before the board.
Other pieces of business included the renewal of the contract with IMA for heath insurance, approval of the district’s portion of funding the Teen Court program, and the unanimous approval of Resolution No. 01-09-17, which extends the term of the members of the board until Jan. 2018 instead of June of this year.