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  • Writer's pictureJournal Staff Report

Jayhawk board learns accrediting process complete

Jayhawk Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lisa Avery, center, holds the Challenge Award of Merit given to JES for accomplishments in 2022. The other teachers include, from left, Janette Haen, kindergarten; Tiffany Champlin, third grade; Stacey Cline, first grade; and Susan Schneider, sixth grade. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

Reporting by Kayla McGrew, USD 346 board clerk

MOUND CITY – The Jayhawk USD 346 Board of Education learned on Monday, April 17, that the district recently completed its accreditation cycle and that the district’s schools are now accredited through the 2027-28 school year.

The board also learned that Jayhawk Elementary School (JES) received the Challenge Award for 2022 recognizing “outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishment based on Kansas math and reading assessment results and other qualifying factors.”

Those other factors include graduation rates, chronic absenteeism rates, and the socio-economic status of those who take the test.

The board also learned that both JES and Jayhawk-Linn High School students were scheduled to complete final state assessment tests by the end of April. Results are expected to be available as soon as this week.

Thirty-two JLHS students have expressed interested in taking courses at the STARS program in Pleasanton next year, double the number from last year. All Jayhawk students that participated in STARS this year and aren’t graduating are planning to return next year.

Superintendent Shawn Thomas gave a brief legislative update. The Legislature still hasn’t passed a K-12 budget. It was previously a part of a piece of legislation that failed – House Sub for Senate Bill 83. This bill also included the voucher portion, which establishes an education savings account for qualified students (ex: private school & home-schooled students).

House Bill 2080 passed, Thomas said. That bill allows virtual students to take virtual state assessments. House Bill 2238 which requires that “female athletic teams only include members who are biologically female” passed after being vetoed by the governor, but overridden by Legislature.

House Bill 2236 passed in both chambers and includes the parents’ bill of rights, which includes the ability for parents to object to curriculum or coursework. In that case, schools would be required to provide an alternative, Thomas said.

House Bill Sub for Senate Bill 113 was voted down, which included a funding increase of 3% based on the Consumer Price Index. (For more information & to keep track of the status of these bills, you can click here.

Thomas said he has met with a few people about evolving deck space in the JLHS gym into a dedicated wrestling area and will be meeting with the state fire marshal in a few days to look at the space.

Following an executive session, the board accepted, with regrets, the retirement intentions of Lisa Avery, JES fifth-grade teacher effective Sept. 1. The board also hired Alyssa Coleman and Jessica McGriff as licensed elementary teachers for 2023-2024. The board also updated the classified staff list to include the hiring of Amanda Stahl as JLHS custodian.

In other business, the board: • Heard Thomas and Genea Bruner, student improvement services director, compliment the building curriculum teams for working together to look at the district’s curriculum as a comprehensive whole. • Learned that the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) fund of the district budget has to be republished, because it did not take into account the additional Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) grant. Because of that, the district did not have the budget authority to expend the necessary amount. This will not increase taxes or affect the mill rate at all, but a budget hearing will be held at the May board meeting. • The board discussed whether to move forward with OPAA Food Service Management for next school year. No action was taken, and it will be discussed further at next month’s meeting. • Discussed health insurance providers. Currently, USD 346 is a member of Kansas Educational Insurance Trust (KEIT). Renewal numbers should be announced soon. Thomas will continue gathering information to be further discussed at a future meeting.

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