Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education 4.8.2024

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, April 8, at Axtell Public School (APS). Board members present were Kathy Lippert, Jim Scoby, Phillip Buessing, Stan Keim and Doug Renyer. Not present were Leslie Scoby and Todd Grimes. Also present was Superintendent Todd Evans, Board Clerk Deb Damman, Director of Student Learning Lisa Suhr, and building administrators Andrew Lillie, Gay Frazee and Matt Garber.

Lippert called the meeting to order and led those present in the Pledge of Allegiance. J. Scoby said a prayer prior to the start of the meeting.

The board reviewed and adopted the agenda as amended.

The board heard from Axtell Kay Club co-presidents Leah Lybarger and Chloey Strathman. They discussed the activities that the Axtell Kay Club participates in including classroom parties, popcorn sales, blood drives and more. They also reported that their KAY Club has 100 percent participation from Axtell High School students.

Freshmen Oliver Sunnenberg and Wyatt Detweiler with Axtell’s Interactive Media Class discussed what their class consists of. Sunnenberg said their teacher Linda Hopp helps them “design things and do different things in many forms of media.” He also added that they create sports programs, create the alumni slideshow, and complete anything technological assigned to them around the school.

While Sunnenberg said they are only a class of three students, they “are mighty and they can get things done.”

Sunnenberg and Detweiler showcased the Eagle-Opoly game — Axtell’s twist on Monopoly — they created. They explained some of the rules to the BOE as they had added their own twist to the game. They also showed the BOE members the game pieces they created with a 3D printer. According to Sunnenberg, the one-of-a-kind Eagle-Opoly game sold for approximately $450 at the Eagle Bash. Sunnenberg also said that the Appleseed Grant definitely “helped” them.

Legislative Update

Attorney Chad Tenpenny gave a legislative update to the BOE.

“The overall budget remains unsettled,” Tenpenny said. “There was some very late night negotiations and early Saturday morning, that got pretty tense, but there was an effort to change the special education formula and that has largely been removed from the budget bill in conference. There was $75 million added for special education funding, but the overall package is $6.6 billion. This is a conference committee and it has not passed either the house or the senate. That education funding piece is a major thing that remains unsettled.”

Tenpenny said there is a two to three week break before the legislature comes back for a veto session. He also said he was fully engaged in the “look-back funding formula.”

“Basically, the Kansas legislature passed Senate Bill 73 [with a vote of] 35-4 and the house passed it 120-3,” Tenpenny said. “We expect the Governor to sign it. Basically, what that legislation would do is it would allow school districts to count the current year, the previous year, or the average of the previous two years, but that last provision — the average — will only occur in the 2024-25 school year. Importantly for the USD 113 school district, depending on how you look at it, it’s a $350,000 item for our school district.”

Tenpenny thanked those who helped in various ways with the education bills including Lippert, Evans, Keim, J. Scoby, Representative Randy Garber and Senator Dennis Pyle.

Building Reports

The board received written reports from building administrators Nathan Bauman, Andrew Lillie, Matt Garber and Gay Frazee, as well as Director of Student Learning Lisa Suhr.

Axtell Public School: Frazee’s report included Axtell winning the sportsmanship trophy for Class 1A DII State basketball tournament; they held the Academic Awards Ceremony on March 21; the junior class took a trip to the Kansas State Capitol Building; preschool screening had nine students; and other upcoming events including Kindergarten Roundup, Prom, State Assessments, Self Defense Class, Sophomore Job Shadowing, Junior Job Shadowing, Junior and Senior Play and Staff Meal, and Student Physicals.

Sabetha High School: Bauman’s report included that the ACT Exam had been completed; state assessments for juniors and sophomores; inaugural senior signing day; spring participation numbers are track and field, 37, baseball, 29, softball, 32, golf, 24, and forensics, 17; the Sabetha High School (SHS) forensics team placed second in the Big 7 League; and 12 students have already qualified for State.

Sabetha Middle School: Garber’s report included state assessments started; the track teams opened their season; the eighth grade job shadow day, art show, spring dance; and fifth grade student and parent orientation is coming up.

Sabetha Elementary School: Lillie’s report included that state assessments have wrapped up; family engagement night was held March 7 with more than 300 people attending; and multiple upcoming events.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Evans spoke to the BOE about the district’s debt from the 441 bonds (principal and interest payments) and the 2021 Lease (principal and interest payments).

“This is a former 441 bond issue, so the area of land in former 441 including the land that we have mediated away, we will continue paying on this until this is paid off,” Evans said. “We have technically two years left to levy taxes for this payment. I am anticipating because of the shift in valuation per pupil and how state aid is done, I think that we need to be thoughtful on how we move forward. I know that when I get to the end of a payment, I want to hurry up and get it paid off, but I’m not sure for us if that is going to be the wise thing to do, because I think for next year, we are not going to have any state aid on bond and interest, but I think the year after that we will. So, I am not saying that we don’t want to levy a tax, because we definitely need to for next year, but we might not want to bite off as big of a chunk as what I was thinking two to three years ago.”

Evans said the district makes one principal payment every year and two interest payments — one in September and one in March.

The Lease payment is the responsibility of the entire school district.

“The land that is moving out of our district, we will not continue to pay on this,” Evans said. “So, that is something that is a consideration here.”

Evans also said when the former 441 finishes out their bond issue, he thinks the district should go to 8 mills on capital outlay and make sure the district is budgeting wisely and putting the money away with the idea that the district will continue to use lease purchase to do “big capital improvements.”

Evans also mentioned the mock crash that would take place on Friday, April 12, at Sabetha High School.

Evans also mentioned building roofs that need to be addressed. Evans presented information from Midwest Coating about the life-expectancy of the various roofs at SHS and Sabetha Middle School (SMS). Evans said he planned to get an additional opinion about the roofs as well. Evans also said that there are repairs that need to be made at APS.

Evans also reported on year-to-date expenses, saying he is “not concerned” about where the district is financially.

The board adopted the consent agenda as amended, including the following: minutes from the March meeting; financial reports from APS, SHS, SMS, Sabetha Elementary School and USD No. 113; March bills for the amount of $879,215.30; March payroll for the amount of $442,099.34; a $2,950 donation from Jerry Grimm (Poker Run) to SES Angel Fund; a $150 donation from The Salvation Army to the Angel Fund; approve a Highland Community College (HCC) Memorandum of Understanding for direct HCC compensation of USD 113 teachers; approve SMS flooring materials bid; approved SMS flooring installation bid; approve transfer of $186.08 from Code 63 to the Capital Outlay fund to be spent on Axtell capital improvements; approve $150 fee for driver’s education instruction for the summer of 2024 (families qualifying for free lunches during the 2023-24 school year will have this fee waived); approve a fifth SMS track coach; approve hiring up to five positions of “summer help” for the summer of 2024; resignations of Amy Keim as SES Instructional Support Staff on May 17, 2024, Marcia Oom as SES Instructional Support Staff on May 17, 2024, and Garrett Michael as SHS head football coach; contracts with Kymbrie Ulrich as SMS Math teacher; Trenton Cox as SHS cross country coach; Lexie Meyer and Alicia Deters as co-head SHS tennis coaches for the 2024 season, and Brian Rieschick as the driver’s education teacher for 2024; time-off requests for T. Hughes, T. Wikle, L. Johnson, J Kuckelman, K. Aberle, Heather Schremmer and Ricky Creek; and an Axtell Trainer contract for 2024-25.

Keim thanked those who had contributed donations to the district.

Evans discussed the USD 113 Needs Assessment for KESA — the accreditation process — and Budgeting.

“We have always tried to do a needs assessment for our accreditation process, but when we do it for budgeting as required by law, we try to bring those two things together,” Evans said. “We’re not ready yet with the information. Part of the process includes having the BOE take a look at state assessment scores and look at some other things. The district answers some questions and so we will be doing that in the future. The first thing we have to do is develop a budget.”

Also at the meeting:

Board members went into a 10-minute executive session to discuss matters relating to actions adversely or favorably affecting a student(s). Present for the executive session were the board members and Evans. No action was taken following the executive session.

After a short discussion, the BOE approved the motion, 5-0, for SMS sixth grade parents to choose the “Parental Request” option for student absences when attending LifeWise Academy during the 2024-25 school year.

Board members went into a 10-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel matters of non-elected personnel as allowed under KOMA. Present for the executive session were the board members, Evans, Lillie, Frazee and Garber. No action was taken following the executive session.

Board members went into a 20-minute executive session for consultation with an attorney, which would be deemed privileged in the attorney client relationship. Present for the executive session were the board members and Evans. No action was taken following the executive session.

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

Heather Stewart101 Posts

Heather Stewart is one of two co-editors for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.


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