State of USD 113
As we begin calendar year 2021, this is an ideal time to examine the state of our school district.
Learning: Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) is the new accreditation model. This model is a holistic evaluation of what happens in Kansas schools. District leadership has identified this improvement model to drive redesign of our learning process. It is important for us to continue to move past the education model used to prepare students for the industrial age. Our goal is to continue to have curricula, assessments, etc. that complement each other.
A continued focus is our Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS). MTSS is to identify what we want each child to know (curriculum), to provide early intervention and to further challenge students. We are also intentionally providing students with specific skills to help them with social and emotional growth. Buy-in from staff is extremely important for this to be successful.
The Individual Plan of Study (IPS), an individualized plan for each secondary student in the district, has been and will continue to be a focus. This academic plan provides each student with information regarding his/her strengths and career goals. There is great potential for the IPS to positively impact the day-to-day culture and climate in our buildings, but buy-in from staff is imperative to success.
Work based Learning (WBL) is a term that should be heard more in the future. WBL provides students opportunities to increase their employability skills and apply their academic and technical skills.
A challenge that is growing for districts across the state is low numbers of qualified teacher applicants for open positions. Fewer young people are looking to education for a career. We are seeing shortages that continue to force districts to look to alternatives.
Finances: Even though there are pandemic-related unknowns at the district and state level, indicators reflect a positive financial position for USD 113. The Cares Act grant and Spark grant have been used to finance the significant expenditures related to the pandemic.
Especially in the past year, our district has experienced a decline in enrollment, but this has been somewhat offset by the increased revenue through the state’s finance formula. Enrollment will continue to be an important indicator for future financial health.
We have worked to manage our debt. Bond issues for the former 488 district have been paid off. Bonds for land in the former 441 will be paid off in 2026.
Facilities: The Board of Education for USD 113 has endeavored to maintain facilities that meet the needs of the students. We continue to repair our aging facilities. Space limitations, spiraling maintenance, outdated HVAC and transportations infrastructures will need to be addressed in the near future. Facility shortcomings, especially at Sabetha Elementary School, will continue to receive attention. An architectural firm has been hired to make preliminary plans for improvements. It is anticipated that project resources will come from Capital Outlay funds as well as through a lease purchase.
Future: Past and current USD 113 Board of Education Members have positioned USD 113 to continue to deliver a quality education for our kids. Of the nearly 300 districts in the State of Kansas, the Niche organization recently ranked USD 113 number 18 in the state. A challenge that we do face in our district is obtaining and maintaining a vision that has district-level structure, as well as flexibility for three geographically separate campuses with unique needs and identities. We will need to continuously evaluate our district and facilities in order to provide a quality education for our kids.