Published in the Iola Register on Jul. 9, 2013.

USD 333 board puts elementary school improvements on hold

 Action on proposed improvements at the Concordia Elementary School was put on hold by the Unified School District 333 board of education.
 Beverly Mortimer, USD 333 superintendent of schools, told the board members Monday night that she had hoped to have solid figures on the proposed upgrade of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and the construction of a FEMA-approved storm shelter at the elementary school.
 The district is looking at a possible bond election in the fall to cover the costs of the projects.
 “There is paperwork and resolutions that have to be done if we are going to have a bond election on these projects,” Mortimer said.
 Mortimer will meet with representatives of the companies working on the two projects on July 17, and hopes to have more information for the board by an Aug. 7 study session.
 A preliminary cost estimate for the FEMA shelter is $2.3 million. “There are some things that can be taken out,” Mortimer said.
 The cost estimate on the HVAC system is $1.2 million.
 USD 333 will finish paying off current bonds of 1.97 mills for the construction of the elementary school in 2014.
If a bond were passed in the fall, that 1.97 mills would be used to pay for the improvements at the school.
 Mortimer said she would like to have the bond election prior to the start of the next Kansas legislative session.
Currently, the state will pay for 40 percent of the bond.
 “I am afraid the legislature will do away with the state aid,” Mortimer said.
 If the district were to pay for the improvements out of capital outlay, it would have to cover 100 percent of the costs.
 The board did take action on several items during the meeting, including increasing the fee for driver’s education from $100 to $200.
Increasing the fee will bring the district closer to covering the costs of the program.
“You can see we are just eating the reserves all across the board,” Mortimer said.
 Board president Rick Limon said that the programs he sees in Salina are in the $225 to $275 range.
 “We are very low,” board member Jay Thomas said.
 The board also approved slight increases in the meal prices.
 Lunch prices for grades K-4 will go from $1.90 to $2.00. For grades 5-12 it will be $2.30 and the adult lunch prices will be $3.50.
 Breakfast prices will be $1.30 for grades K-12 and $2.00 for adults.
 Textbook rental fees were set at $30 for students in grades K-12. The reduced fee is $15 and the fee is waived for those on free lunches.
 There were no rental fees for students in grades 9-12 last year because there was a $50 fee for the laptops that were handed out.
Laptops will not be handed out this year, and Mortimer recommended restoring the $30 fee.
 Mortimer presented the board with a proposal on a new facilty use agreement.
The agreement establishes a fee schedule for the use of the gymnasiums, athletic field, auditorium, classrooms, kitchens and commons/dining areas.
 New provisions in the agreement include proof of insurance by groups requesting to use the facilities and a $25 deposit if a key is issued to an individual group or organization. The deposit would be refunded upon return of the key.
 Also, in most instances the district will require a district employee be present during facility use.
 Fees can be waived for athletic and non-profit groups in lieu of a donation to the district, as approved by the board.
Groups in past years have made donations to the district for the use of the facilites.
“I would say thank you for your donation, but we are transitioning to a fee-based schedule,” board member Chuck Knapp said.
 Board member Kevin Pounds raised concerns about the cost for use of the facilities. He said when he coached youth basketball the team may practice 50 hours, and at $10 per hour that is $500.
“We are trying to find a balance between trying to provide a community service and making ends meet,” Mortimer said.
The board tabled action on the proposal.
 A milk bid for the 2013-14 school year from F&A Food Sales was approved by the board.
 The district received two bids, one from F&A Food Sales of $58,468.81 and one from Hiland Dairy Foods, Salina, for $58,158.28.
 Because the difference of $310.54 fell within the guidelines of 1 percent, the board had the option of then accepting the bid from the local vendor.
Limon told the board that he would be inclined to go with the local vendor.
The board accepted the bid from F&A Food Sales.
In other action items the board:
— Established the length of the 2013-14 school year as 1,116 hours and designated March 17-19 as make up days.
— Appointed Quentin Breese, Derek Holmes and Krystal Breese as truancy officers.
— Approved participation in the School Food Service Program and appointed Mortimer as the food service representative and hearing officer for free and reduced meal applications.
— Appointed Denise Cyr as KPERS representative and Joan Pentico as the alternate.
— Appointed Mortimer as the Learning Cooperative Advisory Council representative.
— Appointed board member Pat Murk as the member of the Kansas Association of School Boards governmental relations network.
— Appointed Limon as the member of the CloudCorp board of directors.
— Approved district participation in Federal Grants for the 2013-14 school year and authorized the superintendent to sign grant applications.
— Designated the superintendent as the compliance officer for federal anti-discrimination laws including Title VI, Title VII, Title XI and Section 504 (ADA).
— Established the mileage reimbursement rate for the 2013-14 school year at 56 cents.
— Approved a visual impaired services agreeement for  the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas (LCNCK) with NCKSEC.
— Approved KASB board policy updates
— Approved a new CHS activity account #345 credit recovery.
— Set the date for the auction of the nature trail for Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. at the nature trail with Greg Askren serving as the auctioneer.
The board handled the reorganization process during the meeting.
Limon was re-elected as board president and Knapp was elected vice president.
Also included in the process, the board:
— Appointed Cyr as clerk.
— Appointed Patty Mosher as treasurer.
— Appointed Mosher as Freedom of Information Officer.
— Appointed Swenson, Brewer & Long Chartered as attorney.
— Appointed Mapes & Miller LLP as auditor.
— Appointed the Concordia Blade-Empire as the official newspaper.
— Appointed Central National Bank, Citizens National Bank, Elk State Bank, Jamestown State Bank, United Bank & Trust and Peoples Exchange Bank as the official depositories.
The board also approved the hiring of Allyn Ochsner as an interrelated teacher for LCNCK.
Bryce Wachs, junior high school principal, presented the board with information on the possible construction of a new greenhouse on the west side of the Career and Technical Education Center.
The old greenhouse is no longer usable, and was converted into a storage shed.
Mark Paul, Cloud County Co-op, had informed Wachs that there is possible grant money available through Land O’ Lakes/Purina Feed for up to $15,000.
Greg Conway, Wilbur-Ellis, offered $2,500 per year for four years for the project.
Wachs said the district is looking at the Backyard Pro Greenhouse II, at an estimated cost of $5,495.00.
“We are in the preliminary stages of this,” Wachs said.