December 9, 2019
Wabaunsee USD 329
Board President, Justin Frank called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance. All Board members were present with the exception of Don Frank, who was absent.
Board member Oliver moved to approve additions to the Agenda: Employment-Zack Hyman-WJH Boys’ Assistant Basketball Coach; Move action items up on the Agenda to complete prior to the AES Christmas Program start time of 7:00pm. Conrad seconded. Motion carried 6-0
Board member Oliver moved to approve the consent agenda. Hess seconded. Motion carried 6-0
Board member Conrad moved to remove from the table Facilities. Oliver seconded. Motion carried 6-0
Board member Don Frank arrived at 6:08 pm.
Board members discussed at great length the different options being proposed for a bond issue. Items discussed were: Feedback board members have received from patrons regarding grades 7 & 8 integration in the high school; preferences to keep elementary buildings open-possibility of a compromise to keep something in each town; is it feasible that the proposed rehab/repair work is enough to make older buildings last past 20 years; time students may spend on busses, and possibility of increasing routes with the cost savings associated with the bond issue, to decrease this time; advantages/disadvantages to keeping the newest buildings and eliminating the oldest ones; advantages to elementary students being consolidated into one building-eliminating teachers traveling and enhancing collaboration time with teachers; ways to even out class sizes if elementary buildings were to be kept open in each town; in the event buildings were closed, if any of these areas are being used by local groups, the importance to contact local government officials to give them first option of purchasing/maintaining these areas; importance of looking at what is the most fiscally sound option-while centralized location can be considered, also need to look at land we currently own and can utilize; April vs November election-bond rates are good now and currently there is momentum to move forward; increase in state funding for CTE course enrollments if 7/8 students have the ability to take introductory courses prior to 9th grade; concerns with tax increases; loss of students from the district to neighboring districts-should that impact options selected for consideration; where the future of our district may be with the most minimal improvements vs a more progressive option-does it provide a better chance for our district to survive into the future; the necessity to look at the inefficiencies in the district and select the best options to address those issues. Board member Justin Frank proposed an adjustment to Option 11. Included in this proposal was to use the AES annex for grades 7 & 8-maintaining a separation between them and the high school students, request to the City of Alma to vacate the road on the East side of the high school so a new Ag Shop/CAD/Wood Shop building could be built between the existing high school and annex (connecting it to the existing high school and annex-eliminating the need for students to leave the building to go to classes-addressing safety & security needs), use current AES multipurpose room for wrestling, tear down old wood shop that is currently used for storage-use this new space for bus parking, and convert current ag shop/CAD/wood shop to the district office (Option #11+). He asked Maria Kutina with HTK Architects if she could get a cost estimate on this, and she will be getting that to Mr. Starnes. Mr. Starnes asked Board members to please keep in mind when selecting their final bond election option, that it is paramount to ensure the safety and security of our students as well as making sure the vocational needs of our students are met. He also asked the Board to consider energy upgrades that can be included with the improvements. After the discussion, Board members were able to narrow their Options for consideration to #10, #11+, #12, #13, #14, and #15. Mr. Starnes informed Board members, if patrons would like to view the Options that have been presented, the information can be found on our district website (www.usd329.com).
In order to meet the January 13 deadline for submitting a Bond Election Application to the State Department of Education, the board will meet to finalize the option for an April bond election prior to the next regularly scheduled Board on January 13, 2020. Board member Hess moved to have a Special Board meeting January 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm in the district office for Facilities Planning. Justin Frank seconded.
Motion carried 7-0.
Mr. Starnes shared with the Board, Cogent has respectfully bowed out of our project for Public Relations assistance. He has asked HTK about recommending a possible PR firm/plan. HTK representative Maria Kutina, shared with the Board this is a service HTK has offered to other districts and they would be able to assist us in getting information to the community. Board member Kelly Oliver expressed her concern that we need to do as much as possible to educate the community on why a specific option was selected over other options, so they can make an informative decision when voting. Maria will compile and put together materials for the Board to review. Mr. Starnes stressed it is fundamental to get information to the community. Board member Justin Frank would like to continue to pursue finding a company for communication since they have already approved a cost up to $5000. Board member Oliver said she is open to that, but is also okay with increasing that amount if it needs to change.
Written reports were submitted by the Principals, Tech Director Josh Nisly, Maintenance/Transportation Director Freddie Johnson, and Food Service Supervisor Deb Westhoff.
WHS student Falisha Willier reported on her trip to Costa Rica last year and asked the Board to consider her request to start a Foreign Language Club at Wabaunsee High School. She said Mr. Amer, WHS Foreign Language Teacher, has agreed to be the club sponsor. Board member Oliver would like to have input from WHS Principal Jan Hutley, before making a decision. No action was taken.
Tech Director Josh Nisly will be working with WTC over Christmas break to hard-wire fiber optic into our buildings. Once this becomes functional and we move out of our NexTech contract in February, we will no longer need the tower to supply wireless Internet. Mr. Starnes reviewed current costs associated with the tower. Options were discussed with regards to selling or leasing the tower to other organizations with stipulations on the payments of monthly utilities, taxes, maintenance, and liability insurance/responsibility.
Board member Oliver moved to approve the Wellness Committee Plan. Conrad seconded. Motion carried 7-0
Mr. Starnes presented the proposed 2020-2021 Calendar. Board member Murray moved to approve the proposed 2020-2021 Calendar. Justin Frank seconded. Board member Oliver expressed her concern that Spring Break is scheduled the same week as state basketball, and the possible conflict with families scheduling vacations for Spring Break. It was discussed moving Spring Break a week later. No changes were made. Motion carried 7-0.
At 8:19 pm, Justin Frank moved to go into executive session to discuss possible custodial outsourcing the exception for data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individual proprietorships under KOMA, and the open meeting will resume in the board room at 8:29 pm. Conrad seconded. Motion carried 7-0. Mr. Starnes was included in the session. The Board reconvened at 8:29 pm. At 8:29 pm, Justin Frank moved to go into executive session to discuss possible custodial outsourcing the exception for data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individual proprietorships under KOMA, and the open meeting will resume in the board room at 8:39 pm. Oliver seconded. Motion carried 7-0. Mr. Starnes was included in the session. The Board reconvened at 8:39 pm.
At 8:41pm, Board member Kelly Oliver excused herself from the meeting.
Board member Conrad moved to approve Jason Oliver as Assistant WHS Girls’ Softball Coach, pending the numbers warrant the position. Board member Hess seconded. There was discussion. Motion carried 4-2 with Board members Steve Murray and Don Frank voting No. Board member Oliver returned to the meeting at 8:45 pm.
Board member Conrad moved to approve Employment which included: Food Service Cook-Kippert Cress, WHS Boys’ Assistant Baseball Coach-David Amer, WJH Assistant Boys’ Basketball Coach-Zack Hyman; Fall Coaching Rehire Lists-Jess Rutledge-WHS Head Football, Tracy Capoun-WHS Head Volleyball, Roger Alderman-WHS Head Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country, Brendan Praeger-WHS Head Girls’ Tennis, WJH Head Wrestling Coach-Joey Heersche, WJH Head Volleyball Coach-Bobbi Murray, WJH Assistant Volleyball Coach-Jessica Imthurn, WJH Head Football Coach-Dakota Soderlund; Retirement-District Office BOE Treasurer-Julie Meseke-effective May 1, 2020. Board members commented Julie will be greatly missed. Hess seconded. Motion carried 7-0
As a token of appreciation for their service as Board members, Lesa Hajny and Steve Murray were presented with a gift. Mr. Starnes thanked them for their years of service, representing their community as Board members. Board member Hess asked how our Food Service Program is doing. Mr. Starnes reported things are going well, and commended Deb Westhoff on the job she has been doing regarding recent challenges with staff absentees and equipment failures. Board member Oliver noted the State At-Risk Audit sampling was not favorable. She indicated that though our district was not audited, overall the districts that were audited did not have a good report.
Board member Tony Conrad moved to adjourn. Murray seconded. Motion carried 7-0. The meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm.
Submitted by Cheryl Zeller