Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at Wetmore Academic Center (WAC). Board members present were Ed Reznicek, Kathy Lippert, Jim Scoby, Kent Saylor, Ann Shaughnessy and Stan Keim. Not present was Leslie Scoby.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

The board members held a 15-minute executive session for the purpose of attorney consultation, which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship. Present for the executive session were the board members, Superintendent Todd Evans and attorney Martin Mishler. After the 15-minute session, the board extended the time for 10 more minutes. No action was taken following the executive session.

Ken Kickhaefer presented the Kickhaefer and Buessing Fiscal Year 21 Audit to the board. The board accepted the audit with all in favor.

The board approved the consent agenda as amended, including the following: minutes from the Oct. 11 regular board meeting; minutes from the Oct. 13 special board meeting; minutes from the Oct. 14 special board meeting; November bills for the amount of $275,340.05; October Payroll for the amount of $780,325.92; approve $49,275.18 from the Contingency Fund for Civium Architecture; donation of $4,250 from the Sabetha Community and Kent P. and Donna Saylor Sabetha Schools Fine Arts Fund for a new spotlight for the SMS Auditorium; donations of $550 and $5,497.95 from the USD 113 Science and Business Programs Support Fund for a digital camera and Plant and Soil Science Materials; approve ADM Grant for Sabetha High School (SHS) Ag Mech Lab Enhancement; note: the $600 request approved at the October meeting for 3D Printer supplies from the USD 113 Science and Business Support Fund has been withdrawn; authorize Evans to sell three vehicles; donate old Axtell playground equipment to the Axtell Booster Club; authorize Evans to sell two scoreboards; resignations of Heaven Schuette as District LPN – effective Nov. 1, 2021, Hannah Detweiler as Sabetha Elementary School (SES) head secretary – effective Dec. 3, 2021, Maria Celi Merino Zazo as SHS Spanish Teacher – effective at the end of the 2021-22 school year and Mike Frey as Bus Driver; contracts: Miranda Livengood as District Payroll/Secretary at District Office, Lisa Broxterman as current Axtell Building Chair will be replaced by Risa Gilbert and Broxterman will take PLC Leader in place of Gilbert, (add temporary SES Instructional Support Staff [ISS] position) Shania Schraad as SES ISS, increase Melissa Dornes’ hours from 12 per week to 30 hours per week, John Hopp as Bus Driver, Irene Kiefer as WAC head girls basketball coach, Kristina Rice as WAC assistant girls basketball coach and Kaitlin Shafer as SES Secretary; a leave without pay request for Jacque Stallbaumer; and a personal day request for Nathan Bauman.

J. Scoby expressed his thanks to Kent and Donna Saylor for their donations to the USD 113 Foundation.

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.

Seddon congratulated the Axtell football team for defeating Hanover and continuing their 2021 season.

Gatz shared her and former SES principal Sara Toedman’s trip to Washington D.C. to represent SES in the Blue Ribbon School ceremony. Gatz presented the Blue Ribbon School award plague to current SES principal Willis to display at the elementary school.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Evans reported on year-to-date expenses and other topics as follows:

Expense Comparison: The expense comparison from July 2021 through November 2021, compared with the same time frame last year, showed the district has spent $158,458 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 $167,060 more from the capital outlay fund, and $171,598 less from the special education fund.

Axtell Playground: Evans updated the board on the new playground equipment being installed by volunteers at Axtell.

Big 7 League: Evans told the board he had received notice about an increase to Big 7 League gate ticket fees. Tickets for varsity activities are now $6 for adults and $4 for students, and fees for junior varsity activities are now $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Axtell Fire Escape: Evans shared his concerns about the current fire escape at Axtell. Theodore Demonchaux of Civium also was concerned about the current state of the fire escape stairs. Evans presented some concepts made by Demonchaux to be included in the District Improvement Project for Axtell. One option was to fix the current fire escape stairwell outside the science room. Another option was to add an indoor stairwell in the secondary gym to connect to a dead-end hallway and exit out into the auditorium. There are some concerns, though, with these changes. The board agreed that a new fire escape at Axtell is much needed, and they encouraged Demonchaux to work more on these concepts.

HVAC Project

Evans presented information on the HVAC units to be installed using ESSER COVID relief funds at the USD 113 schools. Mechanical Engineer Scott McKinley recommended the board move forward with the installation of the HVAC units. Edelman’s bid of $780,400 was chosen for this project, which will have an additional $32,960 added onto it to update other HVAC systems the district has with Schneider Electric.

The board approved the motion to accept Edelman’s bid and continue with the project.

Student 1:1 Devices

Evans shared with the board information about the 1:1 iPad initiative at the Sabetha schools. He said a grant USD 113 had applied for from Universal Service Administrative Co. will cover $400 per device. Evans shared his concerns about the neglect of the computer labs at the schools. Evans said, in his opinion, he thought it was “prohibitive” to provide both the 1:1 devices as well as computer labs, which have become obsolete at this time due to minimized spendings. He thought using laptops for the older students would be a better idea than using iPads.

Evans presented the board members with information from a teacher survey about the iPad initiative and found that many teachers of older students favored laptops while teachers of younger students favored iPads. The board members considered continuing using iPads at SES and using laptops at Sabetha Middle School and High School, though the board decided to wait until the December board meeting to make a decision.

Axtell Drainage

Evans let the board know that Dave Ronnebaum of Dave’s Hardware has been evaluating an issue with Axtell’s drainage system at the north side of the building. The current layout of the window drains hold water near the building when draining, causing the walls inside the building to leak water into some classrooms. Ronnebaum suggested taking out some concrete near the drains and slope the ground for the water to run toward the street. However, concern was expressed in regard to the possibility of exposing the foundation of the building to the elements. The board talked about possibly hiring a structural engineer to inspect the building and drain systems before proceeding with any future renovation.

After further discussion, the board approved two motions regarding the project, splitting it into two separate projects. The board approved the first motion to remove concrete and dirt from the north side of the school and slope to the east for $13,755. In the second motion, the board accepted the rest of the project estimates for $15,870.

Also at the meeting:

Board members went into a 15-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters for non-elected personnel as allowed under KOMA. Present for the executive session were the board members, Evans, Gatz and Willis. Willis was present for only a portion of the session. No action was taken following the executive session.

To watch the superintendent’s summary on the meeting, visit https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crXQImVlNlp.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13.

Erin Herrmann99 Posts

Erin Herrmann is a reporter at The Sabetha Herald. She specializes in school board reporting, features and advertising design.

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