Board Recap – September 5, 2017

The Board of Education meeting began with a motion to move the budget hearing portion of the meeting to the beginning of the evening. The BOE had no questions or comments about the 2017-2018 budget, however, BOE Member LaDonna Junghans clarified that the budget was a maximum amount that could be spent and not necessarily the amount that would be spent. No comments were made by members of the public during the public comment section of the budget hearing.

The budget was approved unanimously by the Board of Education. The current school year’s budget as posted and approved can be found on the district website and was published in the Daily Union newspaper in August.

Sierra Jackson, Principal of Spring Valley Elementary spoke with the Board as part of the “Conversations with Principals” portion of the meeting. Jackson spoke to the Board about how her school meets the district goals. These goals focus on relevance and relationships.

She mentioned ways in which the Board could support the school’s after-school programs. These included but weren’t limited to, the use of at-risk funds for programs like coding and more. Jackson also took time to mention the success and continuation of the “girls on the run” program at Spring Valley.

During the remarks from the Board Members, BOE Vice President William Brooks spoke about his visit to Grandview Elementary and mentioned that he baked them a cake as a way to say thank you to staff. Brooks talked about the importance of visiting buildings.

Dr. Anwar Khoury took time to discuss how pleased he was to see that the district once again is presenting a budget that doesn’t raise the mill levy. He said he was happy to see that USD 475 continues to keep the levy flat. Board of Education Member Brian Field agreed. Field also spoke during his time about the importance of becoming informed on the bond election coming up in November. He warned of listening to misinformation and made himself and the Board open to taking calls from the public. To become more informed on the JCHS Way Forward bond visit the Way Forward section of connectED.

Board Policies which were presented a month ago were approved by the Board on Monday night. These policies related to Federal funds and the process by which the Board goes into Executive Session at the end of their meetings.

Also during the Monday night meeting, the BOE approved a contract for hard to fill Special Education positions which include hearing and vision impaired teaching positions. Federal funds for special education were also approved to be received into USD 475 by the BOE.

Two proposals were presented to the BOE by the district, the first proposal dealt with a potential incentive pay for long term substitute teachers. This incentive for both certified and non-certified emergency subs could provide more subs for the district. The second proposal involved a way to decrease the number of call-outs by subs which would incentivize subs that do not call out of work. Both proposals were approved by the Board of Education.

Following the approval of the Administrative Handbook for the Geary County Schools, the Board heard from Vern Steffens of the Junction City High School. Steffens presented testing data on ACT Aspire. ACT Aspire is a  preparation based program to get students ready for taking the ACT. This testing data is presented in several reports that are available to the district and individual teachers which help staff identify improvement in ACT areas.

A JCHS Way Forward Update was next presented to the Board which gave an outlook on what the community can expect over the next few months as the informational campaign begins. More information about the JCHS Way Forward can be found in the JCHS Way Forward section of connectED. The vote for this bond election is on November 7, 2017.

The Teaching and Learning Department finished the meeting with an update on Summer Math, Science, and ELA/Reading. Staff also provided an update and the 3-year curriculum plan.

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