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Out with the old, in with new playground equipment

Staff writer

Longtime conversations about new playground equipment for Peabody-Burns Elementary School were revisited at Wednesday’s board of education meeting.

After almost $15,000 was utilized in the playground used by preschool students on the northwest corner of the school, Superintendent Ron Traxson’s attention has shifted to the playground spanning the east side of the building predominantly used by kindergarten through fifth grades.

Traxson estimated the cost of new equipment to be between $50,000 to $70,000.

“I don’t want to put anything in that’s cheap and plastic,” he said.

Traxson’s plans include getting rid of a swing set and slide, moving a fire truck structure to a different area of the playground, and installing new equipment.

“We’ll leave the teeter totter and merry-go-round,” he said. “They’re old but if painted up nice will be OK. That leaves us looking at that area for a lot of things to climb and swing on. These are costly things. Anything with an eight foot drop has to have 12 inches of base rubber or composite mulch.”

Traxson said that gravel surrounding lower equipment would still be appropriate.

After board member Donna Glover inquired about handicap accessible equipment, Traxson noted he is looking into these options as well, including costs for concrete to make the journey from the school to the equipment easier for students with disabilities.

“What is the board’s flavor for monetary commitment for finishing this project?” Traxson asked.

The question received optimistic responses from the board.

“Everybody benefits from it,” board member Tiana Gaines said.

No official action was taken. The topic will be revisited in May.

Traxson requested feedback on a recent request of Classical School of Wichita to join the Wheat State League.

Traxson said at least seven of the existing 10 league members would have to approve.

“I’m glad the administration for these schools has decided to ask school boards,” he said.

Traxson said that his personal opinion on the matter is no, citing travel distances for other schools in the league on the western and northern fringes as a main source of reluctance.

Athletic director, Tyson Kendrick, said that Classic School of Wichita also put in a request to two other leagues.

Board President Julie Ensminger shared Traxson’s opinion followed by head nods of the other board members.

“I don’t think it would be a good fit for us,” she said.

After a 30-minute executive session, several staffing changes were approved.

The board voted unanimously on non-renewal of Family and Consumer Science teacher Barbara Begler’s contract.

Traxson declined to comment when asked Monday about the rationale behind the non-renewal, but said the future of the teaching position was still in the air.

“With part of the school redesign project, we may do some things different,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of FACS teachers out there. In our size of school there aren’t a lot of kids in the FACS program, but we haven’t decided.”

Lillian Lingenfelter for grades seven through 12 social studies teacher, and Shellie Rehmert in the position of library aide were both approved.

They also voted unanimously to move VoAg instructor Gretchen Hind to pre-kindergarten through seventh grade student support. Traxson stated that Hind is working toward her counselor credentials.

They voted unanimously for Rachel Winter as high school girl’s volleyball head coach and that Travis Shafer move from middle school girl’s basketball head coach to high school.

Last modified April 18, 2018

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