Leaders of the Atchison County Community Schools have signed a memorandum of understanding between USD 377 and Atchison Community Health Clinic to increase access to behavioral mental health services in school facilities.

Board President Nancy Keith, a former 377 principal, said she was quite excited about the opportunity to have the service in the facilities. Board members took action during their regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 9 in Effingham.

USD 409 signed a similar memorandum in December as presented by ACHC. The contractual services in the districts are made possible through federal grant funding to provide availability of a behavioral health professional in the facility.

Superintendent Andrew Gaddis said there are only a few districts throughout the state that are able to participate in similar agreements of this type he is hopeful the service will beyond the need of the student. It is an expensive position that he estimated would cost the entities about $80,000 to fund. According to the terms of the MOU, 377 will have to provide a room in each of the facilities for confidentiality and access to internet.

Board members unanimously passed the agreement with the understanding that renewal shall be automatic for an additional 12 months. Parties shall have the right to terminate agreement by a required 60-day notice.

In other matters, board members:

After a 30-minute executive session to discuss matters of personnel with ACCJSHS Principal Deanna Scherer and Superintendent Andrew Gaddis made the following hires: John Oakleaf as a ACCJHS math teacher for $22,000, Ian Postma as student custodian for $8.50 an hour and Mariah Hisle as a substitute teacher.

Accepted the resignation of Paul English serving as the Scholars Bowl coach/sponsor for the junior and senior high school students.

Heard leadership reports from Assistant Principal/Activities Director Cy Wallisch, ACCJHS and Principal Mandi McMillan, of the elementary school.

Wallisch reported about the upcoming inaugural high school girls’ wrestling tournament scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at ACCHS. There are 10 schools committed. Wallisch projects about 50 competitors will take to the mats. Two additional schools have been invited, but had yet to respond. Wallisch also updated board members about upcoming activity events. He told board members Riverside and Troy are seeking to join the North East Kansas League and will meet with league representatives in February. Wallisch is in the process of examining, reconditioning, and replacing middle school football helmets. Currently, there are five to retire and replace with new ones, Wallisch said. Each new helmet costs $300 each.

McMillan reported that ACCES pupils donated $500 to Humane Society of Atchison as the result of a first semester fundraiser.

Unanimously accepted the independence audit report as presented by Tony Kramer of the Leavenworth-based Kramer & Associates, a certified public accounting firm.

Accepted by 7-0 the following grant and gift: A $500 White Reinhardt Grant administered through Atchison Farm Bureau for the Outdoor Learning Center greenhouse and a donation from Thrivent for first grade books.

Adopted by a unanimous vote, the first stage of a strategic plan that centers on education, communities in the district and school environment. The next step of the plan is to initiate action on the core plans of focus.

Mary Meyers can be reached at mary.meyers@npgco.com.

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