A familiar face in the community is stepping up among the ranks in Atchison Public Schools.

Principal LaTisha Downing, effective Monday, July 1, has been chosen to serve as the new leader at Central School.

USD 409 Board Education members unanimously approved Downing’s transfer from service with the district as eighth grade English Language Arts teach at Atchison Middle School to the lead position at Central as part of the personnel action during a special meeting on Thursday, June 27.

Downing, one of the early Atchison Community Foundation Scholarship recipients, has been an educator for 18 years. Of these years teaching, most have been served in USD 409, mostly at AMS. Downing received her bachelor degree from Benedictine College in 2001in elementary and special education, and in 2007 earned her master degree in Building Leadership.

“It is such a blessing to be able to have grown up here and to be able to serve the students in Atchison,” Downing communicated in an email to the Globe.

Along her career path, Downing taught special education for five years at Richardson Independent School District in Dallas, Texas.

Prinicpal Julie Crum recently resigned her position effective June 30.

Board members also addressed some year-end business during their special meeting, which sent the district’s general fund checkbook $84,303.17 balance as of Thursday morning on its way to the history books.

Business Manager Lori Lanter recommended to board members the money in checking be transferred to the textbook and technology funds in effort to zero out the 2018-19 school year’s general fund in accordance with the statutory guidelines. From a balance of more than $1 million at beginning of this past school to the stated balance on Thursday, Lanter said it represents less than 1 percent from breaking even.

Board Member calculated the balance down to less than a half percent remaining before the year-end transfer. Fellow board members credited Lanter for her skillful accounting practices. Lanter, in turn, credited Dr. Susan Myers, outgoing superintendent of schools, for her leadership and guidance.

Board members took action and unanimously approved the transfer of the money as Lanter recommended to the technology and textbook fund for future purchases of apps, iPads and textbooks.

Concerning other matters, board members:

Heard a budget timeline as Lanter presented and unanimously authorized her to perform all other fiscal year end business.

Heard the outcome of a recent self-evaluation concerning the board’s functionality as facilitated by Randy Weseman. Weseman said it results indicate high marks in all areas, but the area concerning how agendas are set indicates some room for improvement.

Unanimously accepted a grant award from the Juvenile Justice Authority concerning truancy prevention for $20,211 as explained at the regular June, 10 meeting. The district supports the funding match by $13,188.87, and Atchison County support is $5,600.

Recessed to go behind closed doors for two different executive sessions the first was for 15 minutes to discuss matters of non-elected personnel. Myers was present for the entire session. The second was a 10-minute session in the presence of Myers and Board Attorney Larry Mears to discuss negotiations between the district and Atchison National Education Association.

Unanimously ratified the ANEA and district agreement for the 2019-20 schoolyear.

Board members also approved the following personnel matters as presented:

Resignations by Roni Ettleman, with damages, as business teacher, head bowling coach, senior class sponsor, yearbook sponsor and lunchroom supervisor at Atchison High School, effective June 25;

Karrie Eckhardt – paraeducator and summer maintenance worker, effective July 11;

LaTisha Downing – AMS head girls’ basketball coach and head track coach, effective June 27.

Transfers were approved for Heather Matthias – special education teacher to business teacher at AHS; and Gus Lindstrom from paraeducator to special education teacher at AHS.

Supplementals were additionally approved for Lindstrom for SPED, and Matthias to serve as yearbook sponsor at AHS.

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

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