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USD 398: Board lengthens school day; keeps five-day week

School year shortened

Staff writer

Amid continuing concerns about school finance for the coming years, USD 398 school board members reviewed four- and five-day school calendars for the 2009-10 school year.

Superintendent Rex Watson presented calendar prototypes at the March 9 meeting in Burns. He also reported on a meeting he had with a teacher committee and the feedback that group offered.

Board members went into an executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel. The executive session included the superintendent and building administrators.

On return to open meeting 30 minutes later, the board discussed additional options for both proposed calendars, including concerns about student achievement and cost savings.

After discussion, Tony Zappone moved to create a calendar based on a five-day week, but also based on the state required 1,116 school hours. The district would extend the school day by 30 minutes and cut an estimated 15 days from the school year, while maintaining the five-day week. The motion was unanimously approved.

Final calendar approval is expected at the April meeting.

In other business:

  • Following a presentation by athletic director Ray Savage, the board unanimously approved a proposal to join a new league for the 2010-11 school year.
  • Brian Simmonds and Darren Schroeder were offered driver training positions for the summer of 2009.
  • An emergency substitute license for the 2008-09 school year was approved for Randy Henline.
  • Paul and Tina Partridge and Matt Regier requested an executive session to discuss personnel. They, the board, and the superintendent went into executive session for five minutes and returned to open meeting. There was no action.
  • Some students who qualified for national competition in Business Professionals of America made a PowerPoint presentation. Information about the national convention was given to board members.
  • A request by FFA students to attend the state convention May 26-29 in Manhattan or Junction City (location to be announced) was approved. The Peabody-Burns chapter will send between four and eight students.
  • Board members Gary Jones and Rhonda Loucks were appointed to the awards committee to approve graduation awards and scholarship amounts.
  • A $2,000 grant from Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for the Peabody-Burns OWLS project was accepted. PBES has a prairie land area behind the elementary school to study outdoor wildlife. The grant will cover the cost of planting of native grass, flowers, and trees.
  • The board accepted a gift of $300 from the class of 2008. The funds will be used in the library.
  • A gift of a 1974 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Motorcycle also was accepted. The motorcycle, valued at $5,500, was donated by R. Keith Blackburn of Topeka and will be a restoration project for the automotive restoration class.
  • Preliminary plans for summer school (June 1-19) were reviewed and accepted.
  • The board entered seven consecutive executive sessions for a total of 74 minutes for the purpose of discussing personnel. Following the final return to open meeting, board president Gary Jones moved to terminate the school bus driver job offering for the 2008-09 school year for Nancy McLeod, effective immediately due to just cause. Terry Eberhard seconded the motion, it passed 5 to 2 with Duke Eldridge, and Tony Zappone opposed.

Last modified March 26, 2009

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