Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8, at the district board office in Sabetha. Board members present were Kathy Lippert, Jim Scoby, Leslie Scoby, Kent Saylor, Phillip Buessing and Stan Keim.

The board adopted the agenda as amended.

Lippert gave a legislative update regarding the Senate Sub for HB 2138 and the House Sub for SB 113.

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.

Bauman spoke to the board about a proposed change to the Sabetha High School (SHS) handbook. He said Sabetha High School (SHS) is proposing to discontinue the selection of a Valedictorian and Salutatorian. The purpose would be to recognize students graduating with honors. Bauman reported that SHS is the only Big 7 League school still recognizing the Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Class ranking will still be done. This change would be effective with the incoming SHS class of 2027.

Gatz spoke to the board members about the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) as well as a potential student support room, a calming room for students, that would be set up at Sabetha Elementary School (SES).

The board approved the consent agenda as amended, including the following: minutes from the April 10 meeting (with the amendment that Kickhaefer and Buessing’s audit contract is for FY23, not FY24); approve financials; May bills for the amount of $989,328.83; April payroll for the amount of $776,958.85; approve a $1,000 donation from the USD 113 Foundation – Fine Arts; approve a $1,944 donation from the USD 113 Foundation – Appleseed Grant; approve the 2023-24 Laptop Policy; approve the 2023-24 Crisis Plan; resignations of Doug Leiker as SHS track teacher, Jessica Bachamp as Wetmore Academic Center (WAC) Instructional Support Staff (ISS), Lana Sheldon as WAC teacher, Jessica Atwood as WAC ISS, Michelle Flewelling as WAC ISS, Kayla Thayer as WAC teacher, Linda Oestmann as WAC transportation and Lexie Meyer as SES ISS; contracts with Kim Schaffer as SES STEM Teacher (adjusted assignment), Kelsy Strahm as SES teacher, Kaleb Moeller as SHS Athletic Director, Jaclyn Miller as Axtell Elementary teacher, Mary Robertson as SHS English/Language Arts, Garrett Michael as SHS assistant girls’ basketball coach, Mason Chaney as SHS assistant boys’ basketball coach, Carla Metzger as part-time Sabetha Food Service and Rosanna Kellenberger as PT Sabetha Food Service; accept summer help from Alliyah Lybarger at Axtell, Kalvin Evans at SES, Amanda Brumback at the District Office and Tristan Schmid at SMS; approve Summer School – Jenny Lierz as Axtell STEM teacher, Aaron Duryea as Axtell 3-5th grade teacher, Briana Uphaus as Axtell K-2nd grade teacher, Katie Sandmann as Axtell Middle School STEAM teacher and Facilitator, Lisa Suhr as Sabetha Middle School (SMS) Coordinator, Linda Hopp as SMS teacher, Marilyn Oehm as SMS facilitator, Dustin Schrag as one week teacher and two weeks facilitator at SMS, Yalana Edelman, Nicole Mann and Kim Schaffer as SES coordinators/teachers, Devon Johnson, Bailey Lierz, Cindy Wiltz, Leigha Papa (one week)/Anne Werner (one week), Marcia Oom and Jenna Burger as SES teachers, Suzanne Wahwasuck, Wanda Menold, Shelly Schmelzle, Stephanie Plattner, Courtney Rausch, Hannah Dettwyler, Olivia Martin, Libbey Robertson, and Ann Kess as SES support staff, and Joe Gruber as SHS teacher; and personal day requests from Kim Pyle, Jobi Wertenberger and Chris Bauerle.

Superintendent’s Report

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

Expense Comparison: The expense comparison from May 2022 through May 2023, compared with the same time frame last year, showed the district has spent $434,498 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 $2,058,793 more from the capital outlay fund, and $21,099 less from the special education fund.

BCBS: Evans let the board know that USD 113 received an increase to renew their KEIT medical plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Their 2023-24 year plan has increased to 8.3 percent.

Water Conditioning: Evans presented an estimate from principal Frazee to replace and install water softeners at Axtell Public School (APS).

Booster Quote: Evans presented another estimate for a new booster heater for the APS dishwasher.

Level of Determination: Evans let the board know that USD 113 has been assigned a “meets requirements” level of determination through the IDEA State Performance Plan Report for FY21. This is the highest status level for district IDEA level of determination.

Bookshelf: Evans presented the board with a permission request from Marcia Bauerle to move forward with the purchase of a new bookshelf for the SES library.

Science Rooms: Evans showed the board a budget from Greenbush to update the science rooms at SHS.

Axtell Grocery Story: Evans showed a Kansas Profile story on the K-State Research and Extension website in part about the Axtell grocery store. To read the story, visit

Acoustician: Evans talked to the board about hiring an acoustician to study the SES music room to see if the sound level in that room is harmful to a person’s hearing.

Land Transfer Discussion

Evans started the discussion off by presenting letters USD 113 sent to a few districts in the area and their responses. The board members spoke about what could be done about transferring land at this time, which wasn’t much since the deadline to submit a land transfer request to the Kansas State Board of Education has already passed for this year. Any chances of land transfers being accepted would happen in 2024. L. Scoby believed the board’s time would be better spent combating the disorganization petition from the Wetmore Action Group, since there won’t be any land to transfer in the USD 113 district if the petition is implemented.

At the time of this meeting, the USD 113 BOE was waiting for two responses from the school boards they reached out to. Since the USD 113 board hadn’t received anything, they decided to hold off on further land discussions until their June 12 meeting, to give the other school boards a chance to respond.

More about this part of the meeting can be found on Page 1 of the May 10 issue of The Sabetha Herald.

Disorganization Petition Information

Evans went over a question about the disorganization petition on the new USD 113 FAQ page – – and explained how dissolving a district could positively or negatively impact a school, especially a smaller school, such as Axtell. Evans also discussed the negative impact on neighboring schools if they were to receive land with an attendance center.


Assistant Superintendent Gatz spoke about SES starting LifeWise Academy classes at an outside location for the 2023-24 school year. She spoke about the proposed schedule she created to include LifeWise classes within the normal school hours without many disruptions. LifeWise classes would take place during the fifth day of Reading Intervention for first through fourth grades and during a portion of the fifth grade CAP time. The classes would take place once a week for 11 weeks the first semester and 12 weeks the second semester.

Lori Baumgartner, one of the teachers hired to teach LifeWise classes, also talked about the program.

The board approved, 6-0, the LifeWise Academy launch plan for first through fifth grades to start at SES in the fall of 2023. More about this story can be found on Page 1 of this week’s Sabetha Herald.

Lead the Way

Gatz told the board members that USD 113 received a grant for the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program for a value of $4,900. This program started April 14, 2023, and will end May 31, 2026.

The board approved, 6-0, the PLTW grant agreement.

Wetmore Properties

Evans let the board know that he had spoken to Mike Clowe about the Wetmore properties that USD 113 was interested in selling to the City of Wetmore. As of Monday, May 8, the Wetmore attorney hadn’t looked over the Wetmore property offer of $1 sent by Evans, but the BOE members decided to continue with the sale of those properties.

The board approved the motion, 6-0, to allow Evans, L. Scoby and USD 113 Attorney Martin Mishler to advance with selling the Wetmore property to the City of Wetmore for $1.

Also at the meeting:

The board accepted, 6-0, the Prime Contract Change Order No. 001 from AHRS to remodel parts of the Axtell school.

The board also accepted, 6-0, an estimate from Grimm’s Gardens to update the landscaping at the Sabetha Elementary School.

The board members also accepted, 6-0, estimates from two companies to redo some of the flooring at the Axtell and Sabetha Schools.

The board also accepted, 6-0, the Civium Architects proposal to start remodeling portions of Axtell Public School.

The board members also accepted, 5-1, the Parents As Teachers program for the 2023-24 school year. J. Scoby abstained from voting on this item, which resulted in a nay vote.

Board members went into a five-minute executive session to discuss matters relating to actions adversely or favorably affect a student(s) as allowed under KOMA. Present were the board members and Superintendent Evans. No action was taken following the executive session.

The board also went into a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters for non-elected personnel as allowed under KOMA. Present were the board members, Evans and Gatz. No action was taken following the executive session.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 12.

To watch the Superintendent’s report of the meeting, visit

To watch the meeting on YouTube, visit

Erin Herrmann68 Posts

Erin Herrmann is one of two co-editors at The Sabetha Herald. She specializes in school board reporting, features and advertising design. Erin lives in Sabetha.


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