By Kayla McGraw, Board Clerk, USD 346
MOUND CITY – On Monday, Dec. 12, the Jayhawk USD 346 Board of Education approved the renewal of administrator contracts through the 2023-2024 school year. This would include Mark Proffitt, Bob Beckham, Kris Holt, Scott Murphy, Brian Carlson, Genea Bruner, Brett Kramer, Denise Umphenour, and Mandy Higgins.
The board updated the extra duty list to include Nichola Traul as assistant high school wrestling coach. They also voted to extend Shawn Thomas’ superintendent contract for an additional year through June 2025.
Thomas began his report by giving a legislative update on a few focal points that could become contentious between educators and legislators this year.
The first issue is the funding equation and whether the state budget is going to take into account the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The next issue is special education funding. By statute, 92% of excess costs on special education (above and beyond what IDEA pays for) are supposed to be funded by the State of Kansas. This hasn’t occurred in a long time, and it is estimated to be at 68% for 2023-2024.
Lastly, at-risk funding will be an issue as the high density at-risk weighting expires July 1, 2024. USD 346 receives additional funding due to this weighting.
Thomas gave an update on the likelihood that graduation requirements will change within a few years. Some of the changes proposed include:
• Moving English back from 4 credits to 3.5 and adding a half credit of Communications,
• Adding an additional credit that must meet the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum,
• Moving the Physical Education requirement of 1 credit to a half credit and adding a half credit for Health,
• Requiring one credit financial literacy, which USD 346 already requires,
• 4.5 credits have to be aligned with the individual student’s plan of study (IPS), which will require additional planning and involvement for counselors and administration.
The student also must demonstrate evidence of achievement in two post-secondary assets, which are skills, knowledge and experience beyond the individual classroom setting. Lastly, completion of the federal student aid application FAFSA would be a requirement as well, but there will be opt-out procedures.
In other business, the board:
• Learned from Thomas that Jesse Randall has decided to remain as the board attorney through the rest of this school year. He recently resigned as Mound City attorney.
• Heard JLHS principal Bob Beckham and Thomas complimented Activities Director Kirk Holt for doing a fantastic job with the Linn County Basketball Tournament. There has been a lot of positive feedback from those in attendance.
• Learned that ACT WorkKeys results are in. Thirty-eight juniors took the Pre-ACT and all 38 earned a certificate, which is the first time that’s happened. Of that 38, 25 were silver, gold, or platinum. The free junior ACT is scheduled for March 28.
• As a result of the technology inservice day, access to a personalize learn site for students, IXL, was purchased districtwide, and a pilot program of Quizziz was purchased for grades K-12.
• Learned that USD 346, along with several other schools, joined a lawsuit against JUUL (vaping manufacturer) a few years ago and JUUL Labs have agreed to settle that lawsuit, so USD 346 will receive some settlement money from that.
• Approved the sale of Bus No. 103 that the district no longer uses to Doherty Steel.
Thomas also introduced KASB’s recommended December 2022 policy updates. Three of the recommended updates are in regards to the complaint process.
It is recommended that policy KN be updated with proper complaint procedures for general complaints. Policy GAAB deals with discrimination complaints for staff and policy JCE deals with discrimination complaints for students.
An update to policy GCRF would clarify when classified employees could use leave for non-school employment. An update to policy IDAB would with the Board of Education’s approval give the superintendent the authority to approve the establishment of programs regarding drug education, student mental health, and dropout prevention.
An update to policy IFA guarantees materials displayed in classrooms are instructional and appropriate and gives principals the authority to remove inappropriate materials or displays.
An update to policy JDD would provide an update to suspension and expulsion procedures and update the timeframe for appeals. No action was taken on policy updates at this time and they will be placed on the consent agenda for January.