Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education
The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, in the Sabetha High School (SHS) varsity gym. Board members present were Anissa Bloom, Kathy Lippert, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Saylor, Phillip Buessing and Stan Keim.
The board adopted the agenda as amended.
Members of the public spoke to the BOE concerning Wetmore’s viability. The speakers included Jessica Winkler, Steve Sheldon, Doug Wertenberger, Ryan Shuler, Analyssa Noe, Matt Kramer, Andrea Lagos, Linda Boyd, Corey Bloom, Rodney Burdiek and Andy Henry.
Lippert let the board know that the legislature will resume in January 2023.
The board received written reports from building administrators Nathan Bauman, Rusty Willis, Matt Garber, Rick Schnacker and Gay Frazee, as well as Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gatz.
The board approved the consent agenda as amended, including the following: minutes from the Nov. 14 meeting; minutes from the Nov. 21 special meeting; corrected minutes from the Oct. 10 meeting; December bills for the amount of $902,962.89; November payroll for the amount of $776,533.74; accept a donation of $500 to Axtell Band from the Marshall County Arts Cooperative; approve payment to AHRS for the construction project: Capital Outlay for $348,426.62 and to GNBank for the remaining Lease Purchase amount of $11,859.19; approve a payment to Civium Architects for $5,095.32 from the Contingency Fund; resignations of Aaron Koch as the Sabetha Elementary School (SES) custodian – effective Dec. 9, Emilea Koch as SES Instructional Support Staff – effective Nov. 30 and Elaine Mowder as Administrative Secretary at the BOE office – effective Feb. 28, 2023; and a contract with Joe Gruber as SHS business teacher – to start Jan. 4, 2023.
Superintendent Evans reported on the district mill rate and the Axtell radon test results.
Mill Rate: Evans updated the board on USD 113’s mill rate.
Axtell Radon Report: Evans let the board know that a radon test was taken at Axtell after an employee requested the test be done. The test results revealed that radon levels were found in the Axtell custodian office area. Evans said action will be taken to fix this issue.
Remodel/Construction Project Updates
Evans let the board members know that one of two rooftop HVAC units received for SES was not the correct model. He said, as of Monday, Dec. 12, AHRS is waiting for the correct model to be delivered. Evans also said AHRS won’t be finished replacing windows at SES until January 2023. Evans also let the board know that the project in Axtell will be completed during winter break.
Campus Viability Discussion
Superintendent Evans started off by showing the board members some information he and Board Clerk Deb Damman had compiled for the board meeting.
Before the board members could discuss the next item on the agenda, the public hearing resolution, A. Bloom wanted to ask Evans some questions. She also made a motion to cease all conversation about the closure of Wetmore. Saylor stated that the board needs to do its due diligence to gather more information before making the big decision to close Wetmore.
A. Bloom’s motion to stop all discussion about school closure was not approved. Saylor, A. Bloom and Buessing were in favor of the motion, and Lippert, L. Scoby, J. Scoby and Keim were against the motion.
Lippert shared some concerns she had with an article that was written about the board’s decision to close Wetmore, because she believed the article contained misinformation.
Public Hearing Resolution
After further discussion from the board about campus viability, Lippert made the motion to hold a public hearing during a special meeting regarding a proposal to close the Wetmore schools.
A. Bloom asked the board if having one special board meeting on a Saturday will be long enough to discuss all the information they have gathered thus far and to make a proper decision on the fate of Wetmore’s schools. J. Scoby said he did not like seeing a resolution for a public hearing on the agenda, but after thinking about it, he thought a public hearing should take place. He said he would vote in favor of the resolution, though reluctantly.
The board approved the motion, 4-3, to hold a public hearing regarding a proposal to close Wetmore’s schools. Lippert, L. Scoby, J. Scoby and Keim were in favor of the motion, and A. Bloom, Saylor and Buessing were not in favor. The special meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.
Also at the meeting:
The board members approved the motion, with all in favor, to approve release of liability with the Sabetha Gun Club.
Board members went into a 10-minute executive session for personnel matters as allowed by KOMA. Present for the executive session were the board members and Evans. No action was taken following the executive session.
The board members approved the motion, with all in favor, to approve Gay Frazee as principal for the Axtell schools for the 2023-24 school year.
Board members went into a 10-minute executive session for the purpose of consulting with the USD 113 attorney as allowed by KOMA. Present for the executive session were the board members, Evans and district attorney Martin Mishler. No action was taken following the executive session.
Board members went into a five-minute executive session for purpose of discussing matters relating to actions that adversely or favorably affect a student. Present for the executive session were the board members and Evans. No action was taken following the executive session.
The board approved the Marshall County Neighborhood Revitalization plan with all in favor.
To watch the full BOE meeting on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Kxj1BOiMU. To watch Superintendent Evans’s report on the meeting, visit https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3lIFgVvuZu.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9.