There were no comments heard during either of the two special hearings for comment before USD 409 Board of Education members unanimously adopted the budget as presented for the 2021-2022 school year.

Prior to the vote, Business Manager Lori Lanter explained the proposed budget reflects a quarter of a mill decrease in the tax levy than the previous year. The budget was published in the Saturday, Aug. 28 edition of the Atchison Globe.

Superintendent Renee Scott reported that the district has been awarded a grant to allow the district the ability to test students and staff on-site for COVID testing that will allow students to remain on-site throughout the process. Scott also said the plan is that the district will hire medically trained personnel to perform the tests whenever and wherever they need to on district-owned property and to do contact tracing. The policy concerning the grant award is currently under development. There will be consent forms for parents and guardians to sign that will be good throughout the whole school year, Scott said.

The district will also be collecting data on the status of the positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the Atchison Public Schools system on Tuesdays for public disclosure, Scott said.

Board Member Rep. John Eplee, MD said that he is very proud of the USD 409 district leaders for their forward thinking approach to ensure the students can remain in class. Although the science data showing the evolution of the coronavirus there are only 26 districts have applied for these grants, Eplee said.

Eplee, a Kansas lawmaker, offered insight into some of the 2021 legislative highlights concerning education and the KPERS retirement fund.

Board members also heard an overview of the 2021 Summer School from Facilitator Stephanie Affield of the summer’s learning academy and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jacque Coleman.

Two sessions were conducted daily Monday-Friday throughout a period from June 14 to July 30 for Pre-kindergarten through seventh-grade students. The studies and activities focused on math, language, and emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math. Field trips were on Fridays. Some of the trips were visits to Warnock Lake, geo-caching, Frisbee golf, and the Fox Theatre.

Concerning other matters board members excused themselves from public sessions to discuss matters of nonelected personnel matters behind closed doors for a total of 30 minutes then took the following action after they resumed the open session. Board members:

Unanimously accepted the resignation from Rena Mans, an Atchison High School paraeducator, effective Aug. 27.

Unanimously approved the recommendations to hire: Gabriel Younger a ninth-12th grade science teacher at AHS, effective Sept. 9; Stacie Loeffler – paraeducator at AHS, effective Sept. 27; and Kylia Hundley as a paraeducator at Atchison Elementary School, effective Sept. 9.

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