Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present were Leslie Scoby, Jim Scoby, Phillip Buessing, Stan Keim and Doug Renyer. Kathy Lippert was present via Zoom. Also present was Superintendent Todd Evans, Board Clerk Deb Damman, Sabetha High School Principal Nate Bauman, Sabetha Middle School Principal Matt Garber, Sabetha Elementary School Principal Andrew Lillie, Axtell Public School Principal Gay Frazee and Director of Student Learning Lisa Suhr. Not present was board member Todd Grimes.

The board adopted the agenda as presented.

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. Written reports are as follows:

Sabetha High School: Bauman’s report included positive things that have happened at SHS including SHS being named an All Star High School; the SHS baseball team winning Regionals; the SHS softball team having the most successful season in its history; the SHS golf team placing second in state; the successes of the SHS track team; FFA State Champions Laura Metzger, Luke Metzger and Claudia Grimm; and 12 seniors receiving an award for participating in 12 sports during their high school career.

Sabetha Middle School: Garber’s report included year end events for students and staff, state assessment incentives, summer building activities, building maintenance, summer meetings, and a shout-out to office staff Loretta Buser and Kim Kostmann.

Sabetha Elementary School: Lillie’s report included wrapping up state assessments, Field Day, students raising over $5,000 for the American Heart Association, summer maintenance, and summer school.

Axtell Public School: Frazee’s report included the high school awards night where the Axtell track team from last May and the football team were presented with certificates from the Governor’s office for winning the State Championships. Also, 25 scholarships were awarded for a total of $12,300.

Frazee also reported that the boys won the Twin Valley League Championship and the Regional Track and Field meets for the third straight year. They also won State track for the second year in a row.

Frazee also included information about teacher and staff appreciation week; state assessments; a donation from the State Bank of Axtell for track expenses; Logan Sandmann was a national winner of $1,000 for a Supervised Agricultural Experience grant; Blaise Blessing and Chloe Strathman received their State FFA degrees; and announced new fifth grader teacher, Angel Mong.

Director of Student Learning: Suhr’s report included a Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) update; an update on the Multi-Tiered System of Supports where the district as a whole is close to meeting the threshold of having 80 percent of students performing at Tier I in both math and reading; and an update on federal programs including the Title program; and an update on mentoring, language arts curriculum and School Messenger.

The board approved the consent agenda as presented, including the following: minutes from May 13 BOE meeting; financial reports including APS Bank Statement, APS Bank Reconciliation, SHS, SMS, SES, USD No. 113; May bills in the amount of $923,780.14; June payroll in the amount of $442,340.52; gift of $1,000 for Axtell State Track expenses from the State Bank of Bern, Axtell Branch; donation of $4,495.71 from the USD 113 Foundation (Extra-curricular Activity Fund) for cheerleader uniforms; all eligible classes taught by Highland Community College for Dual Credit approved by administration; Update USD 113 ISS/Para educator job description; first read – June Recommended KASB Policy Updates; Authorize Mr. Evans to close out the budget for FY24; approve involvement in the KS Safe & Secure Schools Grant (to be used for Vape/Communications devices for SHS and SMS restrooms); bid from Sweat Electric for upgrade to outside bus barn outlets in the amount of $6,880; 2024-25 School Fees; updated EE-R; hire Mishler and Sunderland Law Offices as the district’s legal representation for FY 2025; approve Axtell carpet bid; SHS flooring; Marel grant for SMS Media Center; Axtell National FFA trip request; resignations of Ross Bruggeman as SMS Football Coach, Rosanna Kellenberger as Sabetha Food Service, Jill Luthi as Sabetha Food Service and Julia Irvin as SES ISS; and contracts for Waldo Odens as summer weights at SHS and summer school facilitator at SHS, Taylor Broxterman as APS Summer Weights, Maryna Buessing as APS cheer sponsor, and Braden Uphaus as APS summer weights.

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Evans reported on flooring progress in multiple buildings. He also updated the board on the concrete project at the bus barn in Sabetha, the Mammoth playgroup project at Sabetha Elementary and discussed the insurance claim for water damage at Sabetha Elementary.

Solar Energy Presentation

Vincent Ardito with GRP Wegman gave the board a presentation on the possibility of using solar panels to generate power for the schools. He presented the board with a solar analysis by each Prairie Hills school building. The purpose of exploring solar for the district would be to leverage renewable energy to power the schools, which would promote sustainability and reduce the long-term operational costs.

Ardito’s report showed that the total project cost would be $2,688,060. However, there would be tax credits and other incentives available to the district if they chose to install solar panels.

After a lengthy presentation, discussion and questions asked by multiple board members, Ardito said he will bring more information back to the board at a later time.

Also at the meeting:

Board members went into a 30-minute executive session for the purpose of consultation with legal representation deemed privileged under the guidelines of KOMA. Present for the executive session were the board members, Evans and Frazee. Frazee left the executive session after 10 minutes. No action was taken following the executive session.

Suhr, as well as building administrators Frazee, Bauman, Garber and Lillie, presented quickly on their buildings needs assessments. Following their presentations, the remainder of the discussion was tabled until the Monday, July 8, meeting.

The appointment of two USD 113 board members to the USD 113 Foundation Board and the approval of 24/25 Foundation Board of Directors also was tabled until the Monday, July 8, meeting.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, July 8, at the district office in Sabetha.

Heather Stewart100 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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