Atchison County Community Schools’ leaders approved the classified staff and bus driver salaries will have an increase, and gave the go ahead for school board representatives to approach Atchison County Teachers Association members about opening up negotiations.

Both pieces of action followed after a total of four executive sessions to discuss the matters. Two different 15-minute sessions to discuss matters of non-elected personnel were the first and second in the sequence. Then one 15-minute and one additional 10-minute session followed behind closed doors. After the recesses ceased and the public session resumed the board members formally approved the two separate motions that each unanimously carried by 6-0 votes.

Board member Greg Smith was absent from the meeting.

All six of the USD 377 Board of Education members present for the regular meeting Wednesday, Oct. 13 in Effingham also voted in favor to participate in the revised Atchison County Neighborhood Revitalization Plan and Tax Incentive Rebate Plan in Atchison County, effective Nov. 1. The action might bring a bit of tax relief for taxpayers who are planning to make some structural improvements to properties within the boundaries of USD 377.

Atchison County Counselor Patrick Henderson explained that patrons who sign up for the plan will now be eligible for a tax break via declining percentage rates throughout a specified period of time on their improvements in addition to the district and county taxes as in previous years. Thanks to more taxing entities participation in the plan.

There are 3,999 parcels located within the boundaries of USD 377 located in Atchison County. The total assessed valuation is more than $68.3 million, of this amount $29.3 million worth of parcels are attributed to improvements. The remaining amount of the district’s value is attributed to land. Coming on board within USD 377 are Benton, Center, Kapioma and Walnut townships; City of Effingham, City of Huron and the City of Muscotah.

Concerning some other matters, Superintendent Andrew Gaddis informed board members that he recently applied for an Emergency Connectivity Fund Grant for Bus Internet Access. If successful the funding would make it possible for some buses to Wi-Fi capabilities through June 2023.

Gaddis also updated board members about the struggles that have been ongoing since implementation of a new time keeping and attendance system.

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