School board extends contracts

Following nearly two hours of executive sessions, the Unified School District 333 board of education approved extending administrative contracts.
The contract for superintendent of schools Beverly Mortimer was extended through the 2016-17 school year.
Contracts extended through the 2014-15 school year included Quentin Breese, Concordia Junior-Senior High School principal; Bryce Wachs, Concordia Junior-Senior High School assistant principal and career and technical education administrator; Brandon Rice, Concordia Junior-Senior High School assistant principal and athletic director; Derek Holmes, Concordia Middle School principal and activities director; Krystal Breese, Concordia Elementary School principal; and Katie Struebing, Concordia Elementary School assistant principal and district assessment coordinator.
In other action taken during the meeting, the board approved Trane Building Services as the vendor for the design/build project for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Concordia Elementary School.
Trane was the only vendor to submit a design/build proposal for the project.
“They have done work for a lot of school districts,” Mortimer said.
Should the district move forward with the project, Trane would design the new HVAC system, install it and then maintain it.
“We don’t pay anything unless we do the project,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer said that Trane would help with  determining what the best option for financing the project would be.
Options would include a bond issue or a lease/purchase agreement.
If the project were financed through a bond issue, the state would cover a portion of the cost.
“This system has to be done in the near future,” Mortimer said.
The board also approved a motion to begin accepting written proposals for the disposal of the Concordia Middle School building on March 4.
Mortimer will come up with a form for the proposals.
The district will close the building at the end of the school year, and the fifth and sixth grade students will be moved to the junior-senior high school building.
Mortimer said she had received a few inquiries about the building.
“There are some people, or groups, who would like to make a proposal,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer said that she would like to make sure that the building is not used for a private school.
An audit agreement with Mapes & Miller Certified Public Accountants was approved by the board.
A proposal for the disposal of chemicals in the junior-senior high school building was tabled until the March meeting.
EMC Insurance Companies, the insurance carrier for the district, went through the school and determined what chemicals need to be disposed of.
Bids for the disposal of the chemicals were received from Tradebe Environmental Services, LLC, for $6,628 and from Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. for $6,377.67.
Board member Pat Murk asked if the decision could be delayed so the district could seek other options for the disposal of the chemicals.
“I will be happy to shop around,” Mortimer said.
During the discussion items, Mortimer gave the board a presentation of the results of the safety survey that was distributed to district patrons and staff members.
Safety issues were discussed by the board during the January meeting.
Surveys were distributed to around 700 families in the district with children in school and 225 district staff members.
The district received back 148 from the families and 65 from staff.
Proposals receiving the most yes votes from families included adding additional security cameras (136), adding additional security (120) and conducting more safety drills (110).
The proposals receiving the most no votes were volunteering for a parent patrol (92), moving the office in the high school building (60) and authorizing staff members to carry guns (59).
The survey had those responding rank the proposals 1-11 as the most important to least important.
Mortimer averaged those rankings, and the construction of a FEMA shelter at the elementary school ranked the top priority. Adding additional security was second.
Moving the office at the high school ranked as the least important.
“Sorting through this is going to take me a little more time,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer told the board that President Obama may make funds available to schools for additional security.
“If that comes available we will pursue that,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer voiced her disapproval of the possible use of Tax Increment Financing fund (TIF) by the city as the matching portion of a grant to construct walking and biking trails around the south flood control area.
The Concordia City Commission approved, on a 4-1 vote, allowing the city manager to submit an application to the Kansas Department of Transportation for a grant  for the project.
TIF funds would be used for the 20-percent match by the city.
“If this does not increase property values, then as a school district we don’t support the use of funds for walking trails,” Mortimer said.
The school district is one of four partners in the TIF district.
Board president Rick Limon suggested that Mortimer send a letter to city manager Larry Uri informing him that the school district does not agree with using TIF funds for the project.
Also during the meeting, Mortimer presented the board with a draft of a proposed schedule for the 2013-14 school year.
“This is a different calendar than we have ever had,” Mortimer said, “I took a different approach with this calendar. I think it can improve student and even teacher attendance.”
Under the proposed calendar, the school year would start on Aug. 13.
There would be a Fall break the week of Oct. 14-18.
Semester break would be Dec. 23-Jan. 9 and Spring break from March 17-21. School would end on May 22.
There will be just three teacher inservice days.
The calendar reduces student days by three, and adds back the five minutes of the school day that was dropped this year.
Kelly Struebing, director of technology for the district, gave the board a presentation of the possible technology needs in the near future.
A technology proposal will be presented to the board at a later date.

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