Atchison Elementary School youngsters Tyriese McGowan, left, Gracie Wolfe, Zoe Petesch and Jaxston Henry display the signed banner as a presentation for USD 409 board members, Sean Crittendon, Brandi Ross, President Carrie Sowers, Superintendent Renee Scott, John Eplee M.D., Sefanie Gardner and Vice-president Diane Liebsch.

USD 409 Board of Education members are reaching out to patrons along their way to make a determination concerning the Central School facility.

After some discussion during the Monday night meeting on Jan. 11, board members agreed by consensus the time has come for a public hearing on the matter.

Board Member John Eplee said the maintenance needs of the facility have been an issue board members have discussed throughout the past several years, and he thinks it is time to hear what the public wants to say about it and what they want.

Superintendent Renee Scott proposed to board members during the Dec. 14, 2020 meeting that it might be more economically feasible to relocate operations of the Central School educational programs to the Roosevelt Building at Atchison Middle School. Within the few days prior to the holiday break, the classes at Central School were switched to a remote learning platform due to a boiler breakdown. Boiler repairs have since been made to get through the winter. School leaders heard the program’s relocation will take place in time for the start of the 2021-22 schoolyear. Scott also mentioned that after Central School is vacated it might be possible to sell the building because of its downtown location.

As board members pondered the notion Monday they also agreed they want the public to be aware of a potential sale of the building, and if it does sell what its potential use would be.

Board members recessed from open session to go behind doors in executive session for a total of 47 minutes to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel. Present for the privileged discussions were Board Attorney Larry Mears, Matthew Rich, Mears assistant, and Principal Lacey Warren, Atchison High School. After open session resumed, board members took the following action:

Accepted the following resignations from: K-5 Library Media Specialist Cheryl Kentzler, and District Maintenance/Electrician Dan Kentzler, and K-5 Reading and Math Teacher Jean Dowell, all effective at the end of the school year for retirement purposes; K-5 Social Skills Instructor Nicolas Downing and Para-educator Virginia Galley for retirement purposes, both effective June 4; and Brenda Lambert and Melissa Swenson, both para-educators whose resignations became effective in November and December, 2020, respectively.

Accepted a recommendation for employment to hire Peyton Nigus as an Atchison Elementary School teacher, effective Thursday, July 1.

Concerning other matters, board members:

Unanimously re-elected Board President Carrie Sowers and Vice-president Diane Liebsch to lead from January through December 2021.

Voted 6-1 to change their meeting time to 6 p.m., and to meet in the community room at the board office throughout the high risk threat of COVID-19 spread until further notice. Epee was the lone naysayer because the earlier time conflicts with his service during the legislative season.

Heard a report from Atchison Elementary pupils fifth-graders, Triose McGowan and Zoe Putsch, fourth-graders Gracie Wolfe and Jaxson Henry to recognize them for School Board Recognition Month. Board members were also presented signed banners from all school administrators within the district. AES pupils and administrators also presented presents to board members.

Reorganized for the year and unanimously re-affirmed Board policies HAA through HAK on second reading.

Unanimously a accepted the following: donations to benefit the Atchison High School Campus Cupboard from Westside Veterinary Hospital, Steven and Karin Walz, Kristin Eichelberger, Herb Gwaltney and Loretta Schrick; a Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthy Habit for Life Grant in the amount of $1,000 on behalf of AHS; a $3,500 student leadership grant award to Atchison High School in the related to COVID from the Kansas Leadership Center.

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