Published in the Iola Register on Nov. 12, 2013.

USD 333 board approves sale of bonds

 Moving forward following the passage of the $5.5 million bond issue, the Unified School District 333 board of education approved three measures related to the projects during its monthly meeting Monday night.
 The board authorized the offering for sale of general obligation bonds for the construction of the FEMA-approved shelter, the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Concordia Elementary School and the energy saving upgrades in the district.
USD 333 patrons voted 748-411 in the Nov. 5 election to allow the district to issue general obligation bonds not to exceed $5.5 million to construct the storm shelter, replace the HVAC system and implement the energy conservation measures.
“We need to get these (bonds) secured in the 2013 calendar year,” superintendent of schools Beverly Mortimer said.
The board also approved a motion to allow the district to sign an energy performance contract with Trane U.S. Inc., pending approval by the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB).
 Trane will install the HVAC system at the elementary school and handle the energy saving upgrades.
 “If we want to stay on track and get the HVAC system done by the start of school next year we have to take care of these things as soon as possible,” Mortimer said.
A contract with PBA Architects, Wichita, was also approved by the board, pending approval by KASB.
 PBA Architects will design the storm shelter to be constructed at the elementary school.
 The board also gave approval to an innovative schools application.
The state’s innovative districts program allows up to 10 percent of the districts to opt out of some state laws and rules and regulations in order to improve student achievement.
 “We want to take this and make some better opportunities for our kids,” Mortimer said.
 The goals of the program in USD 333 are to increase the number of students who graduate who are college and career ready, decrease the dropout rate, increase the number of those who complete some form of post-secondary education/training and increase student engagement.
“We want to eventually develop some more career pathways,” Mortimer said.
The five items included on the USD 333 application include:
Creating new career and technical education (CTE) pathways that are relevant to our region and maximize available resources by developing sustainable business/industry and school partnerships. USD 333 also intends to work closely with the Kansas State Department of Education to develop career pathways and programs of study that will be funded under the current formula. The district will also build strong working relationships with Cloud County Community College and the Department of Commerce to identify industry recognized certifications that can be earned by students in new pathways, such as nursing, wind energy, biotech.
Develop a system that awards local elective credits to recognize the multitude of extracurricular activities that contribute to the overall development of the “whole student”.
Establish criteria that enable the USD 333 board and administration to hire qualified individuals to assist in expanding career and technical education offerings to students. This includes local control to hire licensed teachers to teach in fields outside their licensure area, if they have expertise in CTE areas. It also includes hiring area adjunct specialists to teach courses for credit. Examples include hiring Cloud County Community College instructors, not licensed in Kansas, hiring a veterinarian to teach animal science.
Create a process that allows licensed teachers to earn recertification from methods other than traditional inservice and college credits
Eliminate duplication in the accreditation process.
The exemptions from state laws and rules and regulations USD 333 will request include licensure, awarding credits, accreditation and anything related to CTE.
The board went into executive session for personnel matters, but no action was taken.