Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education
The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at Axtell Public School (APS). Board members present were Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Saylor, Ann Shaughnessy and Stan Keim.
The board adopted the agenda as amended.
The board approved the consent agenda as amended, including the following: minutes from the September meeting; October bills for the amount of $352,764.50; September payroll for the amount of $732,391.02; approve two donations to the Sabetha High School (SHS) FFA; approve Music Booster donation; approve donation from the Sabetha community and Kent P. and Donna Saylor USD 113 Sabetha School Fine Arts Support Fund; approve donation from the Sabetha community and Kent P. and Donna Saylor USD 113 Sabetha High School Extracurricular Activities Fund; approve donation from the USD 113 Science and Business Support Program; Civium Architects invoices from contingency fund for $16,860 and $40,418; resignations of Michelle Kohake as Axtell Instructional Support Staff (ISS); contracts with Michelle Kohake as Axtell secretary, Emilea Koch as ISS at Sabetha Elementary School (SES), Stephanie Plattner as ISS at SES for half time, Wilma Tyler as ISS at SES for full time, Jasper Frazee as Sabetha Middle School (SMS) boys basketball coach, Jobi Wertenberger as SMS boys basketball coach and Brandi Lybarger as Axtell Concessions; and leave request for Megan Glick.
Some Axtell residents and other members of the public came before the board to speak about campaigning, as well as their thoughts on the Marshall County Health Department Quarantine Protocol for APS that would later be discussed during the meeting.
Shannon Stallbaumer came before the board to report for the Axtell Eagle Booster Club. The booster club provided new stands to the Axtell football field.
The board received written reports from building administrators David Glynn, Rusty Willis, Matt Garber, Rick Schnacker and Alana Seddon, as well as Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gatz.
During Gatz’s report, Michael Koonce from Greenbush spoke to the board via Zoom regarding response data from the surveys Greenbush sent to the USD 113 schools. Students at all grade levels and staff members were asked about areas that could be improved at the schools and other subjects that relate to the USD 113 strategic planning process.
Superintendent Evans reported on year-to-date expenses and other topics as follows:
Expense Comparison: The expense comparison from July 1, 2020, through Oct. 11, 2021, compared with the same time frame last year, showed the district has spent $141,597 more in the general, supplemental general, 4-year-old at-risk, K-12 at-risk, food services, professional development and vocational funds. During the same time frame, the district has spent $153,016 more from the capital outlay fund, and $7,643 less from the special education fund.
Vaccination: Evans heard from Kansas State Department of Education Commissioner Randy Watson. Evans was told Kansas school districts are not under the mandatory vaccination rule.
Blue Ribbon Award: Evans told the board that U.S. Senator Roger Marshall has congratulated Sabetha on their Blue Ribbon School award.
HVAC Project: Evans said Schneider Controls has a new advisor working with Scott McKinley, mechanical engineer, on the USD 113 HVAC Project. He also said new bids may need to be sent out in November because the new advisor calculated different figures than the former advisor.
Axtell Bus: Evans said the control panel in an Axtell bus caught on fire in August. USD 113 recently received a settlement on the 2009 bus. With deductibles included, the net settlement was $13,924.
Theodore Demonchaux of Civium Architects came before the board with alternate plans Civium had made to the USD 113 Improvement Project. He presented blueprints that included some changes to the original plans for SES – additional bathrooms near the new SES gym and some additional parking spots on the east side of the new construction. SES principal Willis spoke to the board briefly to let them know that SES is in need of more restrooms because they currently have one main location being shared by all grades in the building. Demonchaux presented a new budget with the bathroom expenses included.
J. Scoby wanted to keep with the original plans the board had agreed to, because installing new bathrooms can “add up” and surpass the budget they planned for.
At this time, the board has not made any final decisions regarding additions to the improvement project, but encouraged Demonchaux to move forward with alternates.
Revisit Safe Return Plan
The board revisited the District Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Learning. The board also reviewed the Marshall County Health Department Quarantine Protocol as an option for Axtell. This option is similar to the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play quarantine option presented to the board for Sabetha and Wetmore schools in August. It would allow children to continue to attend school and participate in sports if they become a close contact to a COVID-positive student. Parents who want to participate in the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play option would need to sign a consent form. If the board does not approve this protocol, Axtell will follow Marshall County’s guidelines for quarantine.
Board member Shaughnessy was in support of this protocol, saying this protocol was the only option they had that will keep kids in school at Axtell, and that most Axtell patrons she’s had contact with were in favor of it. Reznicek supported Shaughnessy’s judgment. Lippert did not want to accept this protocol because she believed the Marshall County Commissioners should have the final say regarding health protocols, and she did not want another government entity to get involved. J. Scoby agreed with Lippert.
After further discussion, the board voted on whether to approve the Marshall County Health Department Quarantine Protocol for Axtell only. The motion failed 3-4, with Shaughnessy, Saylor and Reznicek in favor, and Lippert, J. Scoby, L. Scoby and Keim opposed.
The board also voted on whether to allow the USD 113 schools to administer COVID-19 vaccines on-campus. This motion also failed 3-4, with Shaughnessy, Saylor and Reznicek in favor, and Lippert, J. Scoby, L. Scoby and Keim opposed.
More about this story can be read in the Oct. 13 issue of The Sabetha Herald.
The board accepted these transfers with all in favor:
• Transfer of $17,350 from the Former 488 Bond Fund to reimburse the Capital Outlay Fund for previously approved expenses;
• Transfer of $3,800 from the Former 488 Bond Fund to reimburse the Capital Outlay Fund for previously approved expenses;
• Transfer of $16,636 from the Former 488 Bond Fund to the Capital Outlay Fund in order to pay for playground equipment.
Wetmore Tuck-point Project
Wetmore principal Schnacker spoke to the board about the physical state of the exterior of Wetmore Academic Center. He presented plans to do a tuck-point operation on the brick of the building.
Lippert made a motion to table this item at a later meeting. The motion failed without a second. The board approved the motion, with all in favor, for Wetmore to do tuck-point repairs on the exterior of the school.
Summer 2022 Drivers Education
Evans shared his concern with the board that USD 113 does not currently have a teacher willing to teach drivers education during the summer of 2022. Unless they can find a teacher on staff who would teach that course, then USD 113 will have to look for someone outside the district to fill the position.
Evans presented USD 113 enrollment information, including Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) and headcount numbers at the different campuses. Evans is concerned about FTE numbers because USD 113 receives funding based on FTE, which has decreased compared to last year.
Also at the meeting:
The board approved a lease purchase agreement with GNBank.
The board members recognized SES as a National Blue Ribbon School.
The board also approved lease purchase information requested by Gilmore and Bell on behalf of GNBank.
To view Evans’s superintendent report on the meeting, visit https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cr6llkVXUfd.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at Wetmore Academic Center.
Wednesday, October 13
At noon on Wednesday, Oct. 13, the Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at the Sabetha board office for a special meeting. Board members present in-person were Leslie Scoby, Jim Scoby, Kent Saylor, Ed Reznicek and Ann Shaughnessy. Present via Zoom were Stan Keim and Kathy Lippert.
During the meeting, the board members held further discussion regarding the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play option for Axtell.
L. Scoby presented information about Marshall County, stating the county commissioners would meet Thursday, Oct. 14, to revisit their COVID guidelines. L. Scoby also shared information regarding the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play option that Hiawatha had opted into, which failed for Hiawatha.
Shaughnessy continued to support the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play quarantine option, and wanted to represent the Axtell community members in support of this protocol.
Lippert and J. Scoby were not in favor of this protocol because they did not want to bring in additional government involvement that would affect their decision, which they wanted to keep at a local level. Shaughnessy countered this point.
Reznicek and Saylor were in favor of trying the protocol out for a little while as an experiment.
The board voted on whether to allow Axtell to try the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play quarantine option for Axtell only. The motion failed 3-4 with Shaughnessy, Reznicek and Saylor in favor, and Lippert, L. Scoby, J. Scoby and Keim opposed.
The board entered into an eight-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters for non-elected personnel. Present for the session were the board members, Evans and Assistant Superintendent Gatz.
Following the executive session, the board approved the resignation of Loduska Drew.
To watch the Oct. 13 special meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLAthGPLS48.
More information on this story can be found on Page 1 of The Sabetha Herald.
Thursday, October 14
At 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, the Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education met at the Sabetha board office for another special meeting. Present in-person for the meeting were Leslie Scoby, Jim Scoby and Kent Saylor. Present via Zoom were Ann Shaughnessy, Kathy Lippert, Ed Reznicek and Stan Keim.
During the meeting, the board members revisited the District Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of services.
L. Scoby shared information regarding the Marshall County Commission special meeting that was held that morning to discuss Axtell’s quarantine guidelines for close contacts. She also shared information she received from Nemaha County Attorney Brad Lippert.
According to L. Scoby, B. Lippert said the county commissioners can review, amend or revoke any order issued by a local health officer. L. Scoby said the school board has authority to include Axtell in USD 113’s current COVID protocols. If the board accepted the alternate protocol, their policy would change to include all USD 113 schools.
Superintendent Todd Evans said any deviation from a policy already established can cause a risk for liability.
Sabetha schools nurse Cari Smith and Axtell nurse Tammy Porting were present to share their concerns about the new policy the board was discussing.
Reznicek also shared his concern about the possibility of being put at greater risk and potential negligence could occur if the board accepts the policy.
Shaughnessy expressed her support of the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play option and reiterated her desire to support her Axtell patrons who are in favor of the Test-to-Learn, Test-to-Play option.
Before the board made a motion to accept the new USD 113 quarantine policy, Reznicek asked Evans if they’d have insurance coverage if they accept the policy. Evans said they would not have insurance coverage.
The board voted to approve the District Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of services. The motion was approved 5-2, with L. Scoby, J. Scoby, K. Lippert, Keim and Saylor in favor, and Shaughnessy and Reznicek opposed.
The USD 113 Plan for Safe Return was rewritten to include the new policy.
To watch the Oct. 14 special meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpPITaPSGqk.
More information on this story can be found on Page 1 of The Sabetha Herald.