Superintendent Renee Scott took her place for the first time at the head of the table Monday night when USD 409 Board of Education members gathered to organize for the new school year.
Board members present unanimously voted for President Herb Gwaltney and Vice-president Carrie Sowers to retain their seats until January 2020 when newly elected board members take office after the terms of three current board members, Rick Zumbrunn, Bill Shipley and Gwarltney are expiring. Gwaltney is the lone incumbent seeking re-election. Board members Zumbrunn, Gwaltney, Sowers, Diane Liebsch, and Sean Crittendon also voted to extend the current committee appointments until after the newly elected board take office. Shipley and Dr. John Eplee were absent.
Business Manager Lori Lanter announced that she attended a school budget earlier in the day and that she expects the district will receive about the same amount of state aid as the previous year, and possibly more for the 2019-20 school year.
The assessed valuation in the district’s general fund is more than $85.7 million as calculated by Atchison County Clerk Michelle Phillips. The assessed valuation for all other funds is more than $95.1 million.
Lanter said the new general fund assessed valuation is an increase of about $1.6 million, or 1.92 percent from $84.1 million the previous school year.
The current all other funds total reflects about a 1.71 percent increase from the past year’s valuation of $93.5 million, Lanter said.
The software from the Kansas Department of Education is set for release during the week of July 15 to 19, Lanter said.
The budget calendar indicates prepared budgets need to be filed in the county clerk’s office to meet the Friday, Aug. 23 deadline that is after board members adopt the budget during a public hearing. The state requires a 10-day period between publication of the proposed budget, its notice of hearing in the newspaper of record and the actual hearing date.
Lanter expects to present the prepared budget to board members for their authorization thereof at noon Wednesday, Aug. 7 to authorize for publication Saturday, Aug. 10. The actual public budget hearing for comment is tentatively scheduled on the calendar for at special board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21 to clear the way for the budget’s certification.
Concerning other matters, board members:
Unanimously approved the specifications and solicitation of bids for the replacement of the primary compressor and chiller at Atchison Middle School in effort to have it in place for the start of the new school year in August. Board members expect to have the bid opening during a special meeting July 18 or July 19 – a forthcoming announcement concerning details of time, day and place is pending.
Heard a report from Director Lucas Hunziger, Highland Community College Technical Center. Hunziger projects more than 45 Atchison High School students will attend classes at HCC in the fall. He also recognized the AHS students who competed and placed at the recent Kansas Skills USA competition. A capital campaign is ongoing toward construction related to the diesel technology expansion on the campus in Atchison, Hunziger said. The Bellevue School facility is expanding to accommodate existing programs.
Heard from Matt Ramsey about the Juvenile Justice Authority Grant.
Convened in executive sessions to discuss matters of non-elected personnel for a combined total of 12 minutes. Board attorney Larry Mears was present for a portion of the closed door sessions.
After public meeting resumed board members approved wages increases for 2019-20 classified employees and administrators in line with that negotiated for certified staff. The increase checks out to about 3.74 percent wage increase for all employees not to exceed $146,480.
Approved the hires of Steve Watkins and Mike Nigus as part time summer maintenance employees.