School Board approves Axtell After School Program
The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met in special session at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at the district office in Sabetha. Present for the meeting were board members Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Kent Saylor, Jim Scoby, Ann Shaughnessy and Jeff DeMint. Not present was board member Leslie Scoby.
Superintendent Todd Evans informed the board that the reason for the special meeting was to consider approval of an after-school program at Axtell Public School.
Axtell Principal Jayson Tynon presented to the board that the idea for the proposal came up through the early enrollment discussions, because many families in Axtell have parents who work out of town, whether it is in Marysville, Seneca or another area town.
In addition to helping parents who work out of town with care for their children after school, Tynon said, the Axtell After School Program would allow for additional homework help, as well as additional activities and learning opportunities for those students. The cost for families would be $5 per day per student. It would be available to students in kindergarten through fifth grades.
Tynon presented a proposed budget, telling board members that the program would need to have approximately 11 students per day to break even. However, he said, the Eagle Booster Club has pledged that it would cover any expenses not covered by tuition for the 2019-20 school year.
Tynon said he plans on two staff members running the program each day, and it would be on a voluntary sign-up basis. The pay for these hours would be $10 per hour.
J. Scoby asked if that pay would be enough to entice people to work, and Tynon said that so far it looked like it would.
Tynon said that the program would be offered from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on 162 days, which is every day school is in session except early release days, or in cases of inclement weather. The program would be offered in the commons area most days, but the location would be flexible depending on what staff members have planned to do, or what other activities are taking place at that time.
Lippert asked if there is a plan for what would happen if a student is not picked up on time. Tynon said that the parent would be charged $2 per minute for every minute after 5:30 p.m.
Saylor asked about the possibility of utilizing student volunteers.
Tynon said that the students are often too busy after school, but it would be an option that student or community volunteers could provide extra assistance to the paid staff members.
Lippert said it would be important to allow volunteer assistance with caution.
J. Scoby said he believes any additional help would allow for more one-on-one help with reading and homework.
Saylor asked how the accounting and billing would be handled. USD No. 113 District Account Supervisor Carol Kuckelman said she would ask for guidance from the state about how similar programs are handled in other districts.
Saylor said he would want Tynon to consider security precautions during the after school program. Though usually buildings are unlocked after school gets out, he said he wondered if this would need to change if there are still students in the building for an after-school program.
DeMint asked if any daycare providers in town were opposed to the program.
Tynon said that, currently, all the daycares are full and have waiting lists so it would not be a concern.
J. Scoby asked how this program could impact the work that needs to be completed by janitorial staff.
Tynon said most elementary classrooms were cleaned in the middle of the day, so this would not have an impact on that. Additionally, he said, it would be the responsibility of staff members in charge of the program to clean up after students each afternoon.
Superintendent Evans said that, while he believes the board should approve the program, he does want to bring up some concerns.
Evans said he wants to ensure that Tynon does not set himself up to have too much work to do, as administrating this program will add to his already-full workload. Additionally, Evans said, it is important to not underestimate the challenges of dealing with parents who pay late or pick up late. Especially in a small community, this could result in uncomfortable situations and added stress in administrating the program.
Evans said he also wants to ensure that staff members at Axtell do not feel that they have to work the program if they do not want to, as he often hears from staff members that more is being asked of them all the time.
Finally, Evans said, it is important for board members to consider how this program will be viewed by the other communities in the district. Each community is different in its needs, and whether a similar program is possible or if already in place about the price discrepancy between communities. This can always be a potential source of discord, Evans said, though he feels this should not be an issue.
J. Scoby said that, while he came into the meeting feeling skeptical about the program, he is favorably impressed with the program proposal that Tynon has presented.
The board approved the Axtell After School Program, 6-0.