Ensminger takes open board slot


News editor

Prior to the regular meeting of Peabody-Burns USD 398 board of education April 8, board members met in three executive sessions to evaluate first year superintendent, Rex Watson. No action was taken on final return to open session and the board moved into the regular meeting.

Following regular agenda items, president Gary Jones moved to appoint Julia Ensminger to the board of education to fill the unexpired term of district five member, Doe Ann Hague. A unanimous ballot was cast for Ensminger who was then sworn in and took her seat at the board table.

Emily Bowlin, Jon Gard, Michelle Gossen, Barry Peter, Kathy Preheim, Annette Weems, and Louise Whiteman each addressed the board during public forum, expressing support and concerns of the district.

In other business, the board:

— approved summer school contracts for Steven Reiner, Patty Savage, Michele Gossen, Raquel Riggs, Shawna McCartney, Pam Carter, and Beth Peter.

— heard from Tina Partridge about mandatory drug testing.

— approved the annual FACS improvement plan as presented by sponsor Cathy Silvers.

— accepted the resignation of Roger O'Neal as boys' head basketball coach, effective immediately, accepted an emergency substitute certificate for Mario Nava, and hired Caren Watson as temporary Head Start/special ed bus driver for the remainder of the school year.

— tabled until a future meeting an update of board goals, the question of participation in sixth grade sports, and discussion on capital investment of remodeling and rent for CLASS facilities.

— heard the district and city are still working out details of an agreement for the FFA farm, but have finalized a joint maintenance agreement for dual use on various properties. The maintenance agreement was approved by the board.

— accepted an opt-in drug testing policy for 2008-09 with a fall report after enrollment and an annual spring report for review.

— approved the purchase of new school management soft ware, Go.edustar.

— heard that 19 students attended the district preschool "roundup" April 7. Watson reported on Kansas State Department of Education and the state fire marshal's requirements for a district in-house day-care. Requirements for the day-care were discussed and the board agreed to pursue the program.

— reviewed minimum participation numbers for academic and athletic activities changing cross country, track, and cheerleading to five and FFA to six.

— appointed Rhonda Loucks and Duke Eldridge to present graduation diplomas, Tony Zappone to present awards, and Rhonda Loucks and Julia Ensminger to present eighth grade graduation diplomas.

— reviewed and made recommended changes to the board policy review book.

— the evening ended with 10 additional executive sessions — eight for the purpose of discussing personnel, one for the purpose of discussing a student, and one for the purpose of discussing employer-employee negotiations.