Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education

The Prairie Hills USD No. 113 Board of Education (BOE) met at 6 p.m. Monday, July 8, at the district office in Sabetha. Board members present were Kathy Lippert, Leslie Scoby, Phillip Buessing, Stan Keim, Doug Renyer and Todd Grimes. Also present were Superintendent Todd Evans, School Administrators Nate Bauman, Matt Garber, Andrew Lillie and Gay Frazee, Board Clerk Deb Damman, Director of Student Learning Lisa Suhr, and SHS Athletic Director Kaleb Moeller. Not present was board member Jim Scoby.

The board adopted the agenda as presented.

The board entered into executive session for 30 minutes for the purpose of consultation with an attorney, which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship. No action was taken following the executive session.

Administrative 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. Those reports included:

Sabetha High School (SHS): Bauman’s report mentioned that he was looking forward to the next year as the previous year is wrapping up. He mentioned celebrations at SHS including Alexia Hayden and Christian McAfee received Outstanding Senior Athletes of the Year; the SHS cheer team participated in camp at Baker University; Joshua Grimm, Turner Howard and Coach Garrett Michael participating in the Shrine Bowl; post-season honors; and how the SHS football team helped a family in the community with cleaning out a house.

Sabetha Middle School (SMS): Garber’s report mentioned that building maintenance is making great strides as they have a full staff for the first time in several years. The building events included Summer League Boys and Girls Basketball, SMS Summer School, Drama Camp, Football Camp, and Volleyball Camp. He updated the board saying that student class schedules and assignments should be completed by the middle of July. He also reported that the old fire alarm panel is in the process of being replaced.

Sabetha Elementary School (SES): Lillie’s report mentioned that SES completed a targeted intervention summer school. The Pre-K/Kindergarten playgrounds received an upgrade thanks to a generous community donor and Sabetha PTO. He also mentioned that Summer maintenance in the building is underway.

Axtell Public Schools (APS): Frazee’s report mentioned APS receiving a $500 Grain Belt Express Grant to help create a new multi-purpose room that will enhance the educational environment for the students. She also mentioned Summer Camp/School and what each grade completed. Frazee said a pizza party was held on the last day of camp. Frazee also said that junior high and high school athletes participated in a Lift-A-Thon on Friday, June 28. The carpet installation in the business and junior high math and science classrooms has been completed. Summer maintenance is moving along and on schedule. The boys’ locker room got a facelift.

Director of Student Learning: Suhr’s report mentioned that the end of year reporting for Title Program is underway. She said the admin team met on June 27 at NorthWind Technical Services for a summer admin “bootcamp.” She also discussed the K-State Memorandum of Understanding for SHS and AHS computer science courses. She has also been re-ordering consumable materials and digital licenses for curriculum materials for the coming year. She said the parent messaging tool within Power School has been replaced with their new product, School Messenger. She also has completed the year-end “roll over” process for the student information system and is preparing for the 2024-25 school year, including online enrollment.

Superintendent’s Report

During Evans’ report, he said he has not done anything further on the solar project; they are still trying to work through the foundation to do upgrades on the SHS Science Rooms, however, work may not start until Dec. 1; cleaning carpets and flooring in all of the buildings is still being worked on; there was damage done to the bus barn gate; and the concrete project at the entrance to the bus barn is still not completed.

Evans also said Rieschick Drilling of Falls City, Neb., came to look at the well for the football field and practice field.

“We have to have some substantial work done on that,” Evans said. “We’re trying to fix it so that it lasts. We did work on it just six years ago. That solution has not been real successful. So it’s probably going to cost around $7,000.”

Consent Agenda

The board approved the consent agenda as presented, including the following: minutes from the June 10 meeting; Financial Reports including SHS, SMS, SES, USD No. 113, APS Reconciliation and APS Bank Statement; Final Bills and Transfers for the 2023-24 Fiscal Year; June bills for the amount of $973,872.72; June payroll for the amount of $764,015.11; July/August lump sum payment of $125,066.14; Casey’s donation of $2 to SES; KASB Recommended Policy Updates (except for GAAC, GARIA, JGEC, JGECAA0); Food Service Employee Job description; K-State Computer Science Curriculum and Materials; Lippert as USD 113 Governmental Relations Representative; Payment of $2,088 to Civium Architects for the SHS Science Classroom Remodel and reimbursement of $2,088 from the USD 113 Foundation’s Science & Business Fund; designate the following: Depository for district funds – All district banks and savings and loan in district, District checking account – Morrill and Janes Bank, Activity and petty cash at SES, SMS, SHS and Central Office – United Bank and Trust, Activity and petty cash for Axtell – State Bank of Bern/Axtell, Official newspaper – The Sabetha Herald, Attendance/Truancy officer – Todd Evans, Nathan Bauman, Andrew Lillie, Matt Garber and Gay Frazee, KPERS Representative – Deborah Damman, Holton Special Ed. Co-op representative – Todd Evans, USD No. 113 School Attorney – Mishler & Sunderland, Homeless Coordinator – Lisa Suhr, Compliance Coordinator for Federal anti-discrimination laws – Lisa Suhr, Freedom of Information officer – Todd Evans, Asbestos Compliance officer – Todd Evans, and Hearing officer – Todd Evans (or appointee); rescind all policy statements found in the minutes of this Board of Education and adopt the policy manual as presented by the superintendent; appoint Ashley Niehues as Food Service Representative and as determining official for Free Lunch Qualifications and the Clerk of the Board as hearing officer; adopt an 1,116-hour school term to be submitted to KSDE; approve district mileage at the state rate per mile, which is $0.67 cents per mile July 1, 2024; continue district office petty cash at $500 per month and building petty cash funds at $200 per month; continue Fidelity Bonds for Clerk and Treasurer at $10,000; reauthorize early payment request to avoid late fees; authorize Evans to approve/disapprove of out of district students following the USD 113 policy for the FY 25 year; resignations of Malorie Manche as volleyball coach and Howard Duncan as custodian at SHS; and contracts with Joyce Davis as food service, Holly Yunghans as food service, Laura Renyer as Instructional Support Staff part-time, Garrett Michael as SHS Assistant Football Coach, Brittany Key as food service and Geoff Heller as food service.

SHS Football Field and Track Project

Moeller was present to discuss a project he had been working on to upgrade and renovate the aging track at SHS, which is about 30 years old and turfing the football field, as well as moving all of the field events to the south end of the football field. Moeller said he has been working with Mammoth Sports Construction out of Meriden, Kan., on the project. The project could start in Summer of 2025 with a total project cost of $2.5 million. Moeller said the project would take eight weeks to complete.

Moeller explained that he gathered a Facility Enhancement Committee consisting of community members on June 18. During the meeting, the Greater Sabetha Community Foundation (GSCF) and Mammoth Sports Construction also were present.

Moeller explained that promotion of the project would be key in getting community support. He also said if the board allowed him to continue moving forward on the project, the committee would start a new fund — Bluejay Facility Enhancement Fund — with the GSCF in order to obtain private donations to fund the project versus using district funds. Moeller said the Bluejay Facility Enhancement Fund can potentially be used to gather donations for future projects as well.

Moeller said school and community benefits include classroom availability, all sports access, middle school/elementary usage, less field maintenance, hosting regional events, less injuries, community availability, city youth sports, youth practice opportunities, family engagement, outdoor activity enhancement and weather resistance.

“I have talked to many community members who are excited to see this happen,” Moeller said.

After a lengthy discussion about the durability and life span of turf fields, the board had no objections to Moeller continuing with the design contract through Mammoth Sports Construction.

After receiving a design contract, the board would have to give final approval before the project could move forward.

Also at the meeting:

The board unanimously approved the building-level student handbooks.

The board unanimously approved the SHS Booster Club to purchase a news scorer’s table with advertising. According to Evans, the scorer’s table would be located in the varsity gym and would be 16 feet long, or two eight feet halves that can work independently. Moeller said advertisers could place ads on this scrolling screen or it could be used to promote school events or present results from different events.

The board heard from each school administrator in June about their school’s needs assessments.

Grimes said he appreciates the commentary that the administrators had put together and asked for them to let the board know how they can support the schools to increase the scores in math and English.

Then, the board unanimously approved the needs assessment.

Evans said that he does not have an anticipated mill rate for fiscal year 2025 yet, which is necessary for the Revenue Neutral Timeline. Currently, his estimate for the mill rate is 48.178. Evans said he has to let Nemaha County know the district’s anticipated mill rate by Friday, July 20. He said he would work with Scoby to establish the anticipated mill rate to turn into Nemaha County by the deadline.

The Board unanimously approved Renyer and Buessing to serve on the USD No. 113 Foundation Board for the 2024-25 school year.

The board unanimously approved the USD No. 113 Recommended Staff.

The board unanimously approved the USD No. 113 Recommended Supplemental Staff.

The board entered into a five-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing employer-employee negotiations. Following the executive session, the board unanimously approved the following: negotiated agreement with Prairie Hills Education Association for the 2024-25 school year and the compensation package for the USD No. 113 administration. The negotiated agreement would add $2,000 to each step on the salary schedule. Teacher base pay would increase from $43,000 per year to $45,000 per year. Administration salaries saw an increase of 4.5 percent.

The Base State Aid per pupil (General Fund) increase, based on a formula tied to the CPI, increased from $5,088 in 23-24 to $5,378 for 2024-25.

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