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  • Writer's pictureJournal Staff Report

Committee to study space needs of Jayhawk school district

By Journal staff with reporting by Kayla McGrew, USD 346 board clerk

MOUND CITY – The Jayhawk USD 346 Board of Education at its Oct. 9 meeting voted to appoint board members Brent Paddock and Matt Higgins to a facilities committee that Superintendent Shawn Thomas plans to form. The committee will analyze and help guide future facilities decisions.

Thomas told the board that he want members of the committee to represent stakeholders in the community, including members of the board and members from the public.

The reason for forming the committee is that space is becoming an issue in the district. Both Paddock and Higgins had previously indicated interest in being on the committee.

In another matter, Thomas suggested to the board that the required public hearing on the school’s open enrollment policy be conducted 15 minutes prior to the board’s Nov. 13 meeting at 5:45 p.m., and the board unanimously approved the date and time.

All school districts in the state are required to develop and approve a policy for open enrollment, which begins on Jan. 1. The Kansas Legislature passed a statute in February 2022 aimed at allowing students to attend schools outside of the district in which they reside.

The statute requires districts to permit any Kansas student to enroll in and attend their schools. However, districts can establish capacity limits for transfer students, and put local boards in charge of the transfer process.

Thomas also informed the board that the district’s bus contract with First Student is up at the end of the year. He said that the district has the options of rebidding for a transportation management company or purchasing and operating its own fleet.

The other thing to consider would be the three fueling systems – diesel (what is used currently), electric, or propane. Thomas said he would continue to gather information.

In other business, the board:

  • Listened to a presentation by teacher Terri Gentry and two of her graphic design students on their new spirit apparel store started this year - Red Thread. Second year graphic design students are making the apparel, but also learning the business side as well. They face a few challenges including having only one heat press and a lack of space.

  • Heard a report from Genea Bruner, student improvement services director, about juniors taking the ACT WorkKeys the week prior to the meeting. The results are anticipated to be available around Thanksgiving. Both buildings have been taking their first set of Kansas assessment interims and will be finished this week.

  • Heard Jayhawk-Linn Principal Bob Beckham compliment Bruner and counselor Brett Kramer for turning the gymnasium into a testing environment for ACT WorkKeys. He also said that there are very low numbers of Ds and Fs at this time and he attributes that to his staff members consistently looking at the eligibility list.

  • Beckham also said that he has started a building leadership team where there will be a teacher of the quarter, staff member of the quarter, and students of the quarter. Students will nominate staff and staff will nominate students

  • Heard Thomas say that a decision will need to be made soon on whether to stay with the district’s current insurance trust or look at withdrawing from that and looking into other health insurance options.

  • Heard Jayhawk Elementary School principal Mark Proffitt report that third- through sixth-grade went to Prairie View on Oct. 5 to hear from children’s and young adult author, Gordon Korman. He also said that parent conferences are coming up and the book fair will be held during conference nights. Halloween will be celebrated at the grade school on Friday, Oct. 27.

  • Heard a report from Thomas that the water line from Jayhawk-Linn to the Mound City city limits has a leak. The school district owns the line, and Thomas said he is working with the city to resolve the issue.

  • Accepted the resignation of Alica Wood, school nurse.

In a special meeting of the board on Thursday, Oct. 12, with four members of the board present, Ben Bielenberg was hired as JLHS assistant junior high boys’ basketball coach by a unanimous vote.

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