The Geary County Schools Board of Education met for a normal meeting on Monday, January 8, 2018, at the Devin Center for Educational Support. This meeting was the first for several members following the November 2017 election of Sarah Talley, Rina Neal, and David Walker.
Election of Board of Education Vice President
Due to a vacancy left at the end of Mr. William Brook’s term, the Board opened the Monday night meeting with an election for a new Vice President. Sarah Tally nominated Tom Brungardt and no other nominations were made. Brungardt will be the Vice President of the Board until July 2018 when the Board reorganizes.
Public Notice – Construction Manager At-Risk
The Board voted on December 4th to retain a Construction Manager At-Risk for the purpose of providing all work associated for a new High School and Summer Work projects. The public notice was published in the Daily Union Newspaper December 7, 2017, informing anyone that wanted to make a public comment that they should be at the Devin Center on January 8, 2018, at 5:00 pm. Parties interested in commenting contacted the Clerk of the Board, Tina Kausler, prior to the January 8th, 2018 Board meeting. Each party will state their name and address and be limited to two minutes to present to the Board.
There was one person who did contact the Clerk of the Board, however, this person didn’t wish to speak in the public comment forum at the meeting Monday night.
Prior to the consent agenda Sarah Talley motioned to move two things from the consent agenda (Budget and Residency) and speak about them at the meeting. Dr. Miller moved these items for discussion. The consent agenda was approved.
Superintendent Certificate of Appreciation
Dr. Witt took time during the meeting to recognize the Say YES to JCHS Campaign for their assistance in educating the community about the JCHS Way Forward Bond issue. This effort showed great dedication to the community and Geary County Schools. Certificates were handed out to members of the Yes Campaign and the Board of Education made sure to show their appreciation as well.
Say YES Update
Terrah Stroda reviewed the steering committee recommendations to the Board during the meeting. She started by telling the Board how excited and passionate she and the rest of the campaigners were and how proud they still are to assist in educating future students in USD 475. She made sure to thank the people that were integral in the process inside and outside of the Yes Campaign. She ended with three requests 1.) use local money as much as you can 2.) use the community as a resource and remain transparent and finally 3.) make the new high school the castle it deserves to be and celebrate it.
Budget Report and Residency from the Consent Agenda
Talley, who requested these concepts be moved from the consent agenda, asked Marilee Fredericks, Chief Financial Officer for USD 475, if she could provide more information on the Early Childhood Program. Fredericks explained the budgeting process for Early Childhood and how the State is involved. Fredericks then explained that Federal and State dollars are used to pay for this program. Fredericks explained that Early Childhood students are considered half-time students and that State does provide some reimbursement.
Talley went on to express her concerns over some Administrators who live outside of the district. She asked that Dr. Witt does more research and present to the Board of Education in February.
Conversations with Principals
Kenneth Upham, Morris Hill Principal, spoke with members of the Board about his school and how he and his staff are meeting district goals. Up ham brought some of his staff to the meeting and recognized them for the work that they are doing. Some of this work includes the creation of the Family Fun and Fitness program which staff paid for with a grant that they applied for. When asked what the Board can do to support Morris Hill, Upham expressed that social emotion support for students is key and he’d like to see continued support from the district level. Upham closed by expressing his desire to strengthen even further the school’s relationship with soldiers on Post.
There was one comment from the public who expressed her desire to see Board of Education meetings televised or live-streamed. She also requested that the Board consider a later start to the meetings saying that it is difficult to make it to meetings on time when they begin at 5:00 PM.
Board of Education Comments
Tom Brungardt spoke to the Board about his experience meeting Buddy the Service Dog who was introduced to Washington Elementary School this month. He told the Board that it’s a great addition to the district.
Other Board Members took time to thank the community for their support and their excitement for what is to come. Junghans also congratulated USD 475 nominees for Kansas Teacher of the Year and Kansas Master Teacher.
Following these comments Dr. Witt took time to inform the Board that the district climate survey is complete and will be sent out to staff soon. He also mentioned that the USD 475 Communications Department has changed it named to the Marketing and Media Relations Department. After this the Board of Education approved the district bills as presented.
Truancy Success Program
The 8th Judicial District and Geary County Schools have partnered with the Truancy Success Program for the past 7.5 years. During this timeframe, the truancy program contributed to a significant drop in formal case filings for truancy. Since October, two positions remain unfilled as staff moved with their spouse that received military orders to a different station. In spite of advertising for these positions, no qualified applicants applied for the positions. This year has been a struggle with not having volunteer members from our community to facilitate the hearing board, making it difficult to have weekly voting blocks. A grant that has subsidized a part of this program also ends in less than six months.
After discussion with school officials and Judicial District officials, it was mutually agreed upon to dissolve this agreement. The district is working on a way to revitalize the support in order to provide better, more efficient, support for students in our district. Though this plan has been in place for a long length of time, the Board of Education was told that there is a portion of “Safe and Civil Schools” that could help to replace this program. This decision is also a way for the district to better allocate tax dollars toward programs that run more efficiently.
This memo was approved by the Board and the program will be dissolved.
District Investment Program
In its December 4th meeting, the BOE questioned the receipt of bond proceeds as exceeding the scope of the Request for Qualifications issued to industry. This RFQ resulted in an Agreement between the District and Sunflower Bank for the long-term investment of HIA and retention of BP for disbursement during design/construction of the new high school.
Board of Education has the ability to terminate its Agreement with a 60 day written notice. The BOE may realistically consider two options; 1) Retain current Agreement for services for both HIA & BP; or, 2) Issue a partial termination of BP from the current Agreement and re-compete. If the partial termination was chosen it could cause delay to the process.
Dr. Khoury made a motion to submit a new RFQ for the Bond proceeds and it was seconded by Talley. There was a vote to issue a partial termination which was approved in a 4-3 vote.
There was discussion by the Board and ultimately it was decided that the District should ask Sunflower Bank to invest the bond proceeds over the next 60 days so that the Board can decide where it should be placed for investment.
Publication of a 15 Day Notice of Intent to Issue a Request for Statement Qualifications (RFQ) for Construction Management At-Risk Services
Approve Publication of a 15 day Notice of Intent to Issue a Request for Statement Qualifications (RFQ) for Construction Management At-Risk Services. The RFQ shall not be issued to industry earlier than Monday, January 29, 2018.
“USD 475 intends to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to interested General Contractors for Construction Manager At-Risk services for recently approved projects. These projects will include additions, renovations and improvements for Summer Work projects and a new High School. A formal RFQ will be available on January 29, 2018. Firms interested in receiving a copy of the RFQ shall submit a written request by the close of business on January 25, 2018 to David Wild, Chief Operations Officer, USD 475, 123 N. Eisenhower Dr, Junction City, KS 67441 or email to DavidWild@usd475.org. Responses to the RFQ will be due on or before February 12, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. to be eligible for further consideration.”
The Board of Education voted to publish the notice which will be placed on the district website and the Daily Union Newspaper.
Freshman Success Academy Multi-Zone HVAC
In its December meeting, the BOE approved the control system upgrade for six MZUs as a competitive procurement with an estimated cost of $90,000. The return of this investment is expected in 12 months through energy cost avoidance based on the previous upgrade of two other controllers at the FSA. The District Business office conducted a site visit for interested vendors and accepted sealed bids through December 19th.
The Board of Education approved that Thermal Comfort Air will complete the upgrade.
2017-2018 Vehicle Replacement
The District has set a replacement standard of 10 years or 100,000 miles for district-owned vehicles; the condition of vehicles also plays a significant role in which vehicles are recommended for replacement. Additionally, we often transfer vehicles from department to department so we don’t end up with a 10-year-old vehicle with only 35,000 miles on it.
Based upon the six-year master plan, staff recommended the purchase of one (1) vehicle this year to replace the 2008 vehicle listed below which have been deemed the most unreliable due to their age, mileage and current condition.
The Board of Education approved to purchase a replacement 4X4 pickup truck.
Emergency Management Program
Last month Mr. Wild brought to you the information about emergency management programs. The original vision of the BOE was to provide a staff of two emergency management personnel to plan, grow & sustain its programs and operations. The job description for the Director of Safety and Security was presented to the Board of Education.
The Board of Education elected to approve the new position for Safety and Security Technician.
Purchase of a Passenger Van for the Boys & Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club (B&GC) of Junction City/Geary County generates revenue from user fees and has accumulated sufficient program dollars to purchase its own vehicle for student transportation.
Board Members voted to allow the purchase of the passenger van for the Boys and Girls Club.
HRSA Healthy Start Year 4 MOA and Budget
The Health Resources and Services Administration MOA (children ages 0-6) was approved to be received by the district.
Legislative Program Position Different from that of KASB
At the Delegate Assembly of the Kansas Association of School Boards the following amendment was offered and passed:
legislation to limit the authority of the state, cities and counties to grant property tax abatements to existing property valuation. KASB also believes school district approval should be required before abatements of school district tax levies are granted to newly created valuation and that state approval should be required before the state imposed minimum levy is abated.current law on property tax abatement with the following exception: local school boards should be able to grant approval for abatements to the capital outlay levy if the board supports the project receiving the abatement.
Economic development projects should include a notice to local school boards and consideration of the impact on local school districts, including enrollment growth, impact on facilities and funding.
As the district delegate, after consulting with both Dr. Miller and Dr. Witt, Tom Brungardt opposed the motion to adopt the amendment. The motion to adopt the amendment passed.
The Board of Education will be asked to support the previous language to the legislative agenda so that our position will read: USD 475 supports legislation to limit the authority of the state, cities, and counties to grant property tax abatements to existing property valuation. KASB also believes school district approval should be required before abatements of school district tax levies are granted to newly created valuation and that state approval should be required before the state-imposed minimum levy is abated.
The Board of Education voted to support the difference in opinion with KASB.
Teaching & Learning Presentation
Dr. Beth Hudson shared information on the District’s eWalkThrough tool, how it is used districtwide and what it provides to its users. Jayci Hamm, Assistant Principal at Seitz, described how the Seitz Elementary staff use the walkthrough tool in their building.
Grounds, Custodial, Maintenance Way Forward
The District would like to explore options relative to its follow-on contract with GCA due in the summer of 2019. SourceAmerica (Ability One Program) is invited to provide a capability brief to Dr. Miller, Board President plus two additional Board members to be determined. District Superintendent and additional staff personnel will also be in attendance. The purpose of this briefing will be to determine the feasibility of a non-profit entity performing services and answer questions posed by the District panel to SourceAmerica representatives.
The Board of Education was invited to sit in on a capabilities briefing from Source America if they wished. Dr. Khoury asked is the presentation could be given at a Special Board Meeting. This Special Meeting will be set for February 2018.
KASB Workman’s Comp Board of Trustees
Carolyn Gaston served on the Workman’s Comp Board of Trustees with the Kansas Association of School Boards in Topeka. The board meets three times a year in Topeka for half days typically on a Saturday. They meet in January, April, and August. The next meeting is Friday, January 12, 2018, from 12:30 – 4:00 pm in Topeka, Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 9- 12 with no date set for August yet.
KASB wants to know if any other USD 475 Board member wants to replace Mrs. Gaston on this Board. The current Board of Education did not show interest in replacing Gaston’s position on the KASB Board.
Board of Education Committee Assignments
New Board members were given the opportunity to select those committees of interest to them and let Dr. Miller know their preferences prior to or during the meeting.
Closing the regular portion of the meeting Board Members took a moment to offer their comments. Dr. Khoury spoke to the Board about moving presentations from T & L to another venue. He suggested that the regular meetings not include these presentations that aren’t related to business operations of the Board. Khoury went on to talk about the time of the Board Meetings and how he agreed that there should be a discussion of the start time for the Board of Education Meetings.
Following the regular portion of the Board of Education meeting an Executive Session was held to discuss an individual employee’s performance.