USD 273 talks school funding and approves expenditures

BELOIT – The USD 273 Beloit Board of Education met on Monday at the district office in Beloit. Superintendent Jeff Travis discussed a new school funding increase passed by the Kansas Legislature this past weekend of more than half a billion dollars over the course of five years. Travis said that it was discovered earlier in the day, on Monday, that some of the pieces of the legislation were put together unintendedly, and the issue will be readdressed when the legislature reconvenes from its “spring break” on April 26.

– In action items, the board approved a contract with SE Kansas Educational Services for $6,500. They renewed the auditors contract with Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Lloyd not to exceed $22,800 for the current year. As part of a five-year contract, that max total will increase incrementally in pending years through 2023. The board also approved Kansas Association of School Boards membership dues of $8,500, and KASB legal assistance fees of $2,100. The board then approved new stage lighting for the high school at a cost of $32,483 via Bee Electric LLC. Also approved was the purchase and installation of new entry doors for BES at $9,287 from Salina Glass.

– Sydney Johnson delivered her final Student Council address to the board as STUCO president. She said STUCO is delivering meals on wheels this week. They will be holding officer elections for next school year on April 26. They will participate in staff appreciation on April 27, the Drive One For Your School event at Beloit Auto and Truck Plaza on April 28, and the STUCO Banquet on April 29.

– In the Site Council report, it was noted that parent surveys have been conducted and results will be delivered at the next board meeting. It was also noted that Friends of BES recognized Casey’s in the month of March for their assistance to school endeavors.

– PTO President Katie Schroeder announced the final Pizza Hut fundraiser for the year will be April 16. The final Boxtop collection is going on right now. For the year, they have raised $1200, and they are hoping for upwards of another $600 to add to that total. PTO has also provided snacks for ongoing state assessments. They will hold elections at their next PTO meeting on May 7. She also discussed their donation to a program at the Jr./Sr. High School to Kindness Rocks. PTO will also head up activities for Teacher Appreciation Week May 7-11 with a theme of “How sweet it is to be taught by you”. They will provide treats for teachers each day and lunch on that Friday. Funday races will take place May 22. Schroeder also discussed a playground equipment proposal at the elementary school. The price tag is estimated between $70-$75,000 plus the cost of rubber mulch, swings, and a border for play area. PTO is offering to put $30,000 toward the project.

– Elementary Principal Brady Dean said state assessment continue until April 20. He also discussed a KESA visit on the Gemini school redesign project which USD 273 is participating in. The goal is to plan activities and social/emotional learning experiences to enhance the relationship with staff, students, families, community members and business partners by August of this year. Part of the plan will be for Mrs. Eilert to spend more time at BES to implement social/emotional programs. Other aspects of the implementation will include the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, the Childhelp Speak-up safety program, CASA staff training on being a mandatory reporter for child abuse and neglect, and Boy’s Town skills of the week.

Upcoming events for the elementary include a Grand Magic Show on April 16, Fifth Grade Program on April 19, a Teacher Work Day on April 27 for the Beloit Relays, Sixth Grade will tour the Jr. High School on May 4 and the Beloit Elementary Track Meet on May 9.

– Reporting on the Mitchell County Partnership for Children, Dean said the 2019 Early Childhood Block Grant is due this Friday. They will be requesting $420,000 for the next budget year. This is an increase over the previous year due to the additional number of classrooms they are serving. They are proposing to add one four year old classroom and a pair of three year old classrooms to their current services.

– The final MCPC family night will be held April 11 from 6-7 p.m. The Early Learning Center has six openings in their after school program as well as two openings in their 2-3 year old program.

– Beloit Special Education Cooperative (BSEC) Director Karen Niemczyk excitedly reported that all speech pathologists positions are filled for the first time in several years. She also expressed a need to increase her staff for next year due to a significant increase in early childhood needs numbers. She is also planning to use TIP Grant funding for a “trainers of trainers” project to benefit all schools in the cooperative in regard to trauma informed care. She also shared information and a study guide for a book called Self-Regulation in the Classroom. They will be doing a book study of the content to implement strategies and methodologies expressed in the material. She is also looking to secure more grant funding to fill a gap in needed outdoor play equipment at the Alternative Learning Center.

– Jr./Sr. High School Principal Casey Seyfert discussed a band trip taken to San Antonio and the History Club’s visit to Washington D.C. which included an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Capitol Building with Kansas Representative Dr. Roger Marshall. He said KSHSAA Large Group Music Festival will be on April 18 in Concordia. The KSHSAA regional music festival for solos and ensembles will be held in Great Bend on April 14, this Saturday.

Seyfert was also pleased to announce that the school received a $9,400 grant for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation through the Solomon Valley Community Foundation to purchase a Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener. This will reduce comprehensive eyesight testing from 15 minutes per student to 10 seconds.

– In part of his Activity/Athletic Diretor report, Kyle Beisner said Beloit will be hosting 3A regional track and softball this spring.

Upcoming Jr./Sr. High School events include the National School of Character visit on April 26, State FCCLA April 15 and 16, and the robotics competition on April 16 as well.

– The board also approved contracts for 2018-19 school year as follows. Erin Deaver and Susan Grabon, Speech/Language Pathologist, BSEC, Alayna Lampkin, Paraeducator, Waconda Schools, and Dean Walters, Part-time Custodian, BSEC Office. They also accepted the resignation of Brittany Stocker, Teacher Assistant, BES.

The USD 273-Beloit Board of Education meets the second Monday of each month at the district office in Beloit at 6:30 p.m. 

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