The USD 273-Beloit Board of Education held their September meeting on Monday evening this week. Terry Bailey spoke to the board about the Little Red Schoolhouse at the roadside park on Hwy. 24. This building was moved to Beloit in 1970 by Harold Boettcher, Maurice McDonald, and Harold Hill. It received extensive renovation work for the Bicentennial in 1976 and was used extensively for a several years. However, little up-keep has been performed since the 1970’s. The structure currently has several issues in need attention.
It was recently determined by the City of Beloit, who owns the building, that private fundraising efforts were the best, most feasible way to update the structure. Former Beloit resident Jerry Boettcher recently announced that he, his wife, and Boettcher Enterprises would be willing to assist in the fundraising. He said he would willing to match each donated dollar as much as four times over.
Boettcher said that a condition of his financial participation would require a plan be put in place, and into practice, for the long-term care and maintenance of the building.
Bailey suggested the district consider participating in some way with the effort. It has been said, that in former years, teachers would take their classes to the site and have school there for part of the day to give kids a basic idea of what it was like. He said Mr. Boettcher would be at the October board meeting to discuss his vision in more detail.
Superintendent Jeff Travis said they are still waiting on the Kansas Supreme Court ruling on the latest school funding bill passed in this year’s legislative session. He also announced that he has been requested to discuss health insurance at Council of Superintendents Meeting because USD 273 is one of the better districts in the state in terms of their employee insurance cost to benefit ratio.
Sydney Johnson gave the STUCO Report. She said the traditional back to school dance was scrapped this year in favor a tail-gate party themed event at the football field. It was well received by the students, and more highly attended than the previous dances were. She said a mural has been painted in girl’s bathroom, and they want to do more each month throughout the school. Homecoming will be on September 22. School will dismiss at 1:45. The parade is set for 2:30, and the pep-rally at 3.
Johnson also announced that Beloit will host a Regional STUCO Conference on September 25. She said there are already 200 students registered to attend.
The PTO Family Fun Night was a success. It was reported that there were more students there than in several previous years. The next box-top competition will be to decorate pumpkins. As the Pizza Hut in Beloit is changing ownership, and it is unclear if fundraiser nights will continue. $34,300 was the gross sales for magazine fundraiser. PTO will profit about $15,000. They hope to put the money toward continuing work on an outdoor classroom.
It was also announced that Gray Drug and Fountain will have the “Wish Tree” again this year. Teachers anonymously write “wishes” they have for classroom items on leaves which are placed on the tree. The public is then encouraged to take a leaf and provide the item(s).
Special Education Cooperative Director Karen Niemcyzk reported that she needed documentation of board approval for a federal grant worth $480,500 for fiscal year 2018. She needed documents signed which listed assurances agreed to in regard to the districts compliance with the use and implementation of the funds.
She also discussed the Technical Assistance System Network (TASN) who provides free professional training for their staff.
“They have a new series of online modules designed to teach staff to fully engage families in the educational process. These modules are available to all staff at no cost to the district. I encourage all staff to take advantage of this free training from KSDE,” Niemczyk said.
She also asked the board to approve an updated job description for the COOP’s Assistant Director job description, which they did. She added that most positions have been filled, but she anticipates “a few” more para positions coming available in the next few weeks.
High School Principal Casey Seyfert presented enrollment numbers. These are not yet finalized and could change. The junior high currently has 110 students compared to 115 a year ago. The high school has 346, down from 358 last year. He discussed MAP testing which was done at the school last week.
Kid’s Ag Day took place at the Porter Farm. FFA was well represented, and assisted with the event. This week some of them were traveling to Husker Harvest Days, on Wednesday, and the Kansas State Fair on Saturday in Hutchinson.
“Mr. Rutledge (FFA Sponsor) is off to a fantastic start as a new teacher and is doing a really great job,” Seyfert said.
Tryouts for the school play “The Matchmaker” started this week. The play will hit the stage November 9-12. There are at least 35 students involved with the production.
Seyfert also said Chromebook insurance is being utilized by 123 students. The insurance covers most accidental damage and is very affordable. Coverage costs range from $16-$24, and a replacement screen alone runs in the $35 range.
In formal actions, an Assistant Cross-Country coaching position was created due to the higher than expected number of kids out for XC. Diedre Finley was named to the postion.
The board also approved a Homebound Job Description. It outlines the responsibilities of the instructor for homebound students and made the position more permanent. The approved Mary Lou Heller for the position which will be reconsidered from year to year.
Also approved was the renewal of a contract with NCK Special Education Cooperative for hearing impaired services. The program has been in place for several years.
Finally, the board approved contracts for the following positions: Ronald Buckley, Paraeducator, Rock Hills Jr.-Sr. High School; Elizabeth Cagle, Paraeducator, Lincoln Elementary School; Millie Everett, Paraeducator, Beloit Elementary Autisum/Low Incidence; Caitlin Jermark, Paraeduator, ALC/Sylvan/Lucas Schools; Joelle Lamb, Paraeducator, Early Childhood; Jennifer McMillan, Paraeducator, Beloit Elementary School; Alexandra Mendoza, Paraeductor, Beloit Elementary School; Tynisha Merrell, Paraeducator, Lincoln Elementary School; Tara Miner, Paraeducator, Alternative Learning Center; Gina Nelson, Paraeducator, Lincoln Jr.-Sr. High School; Samantha Nopens; Speech Language Pareducator, Beloit; JaLisa Novak, Secretary, Beloit Elementary School; Gaylene Spears, Paraeducator, Lincoln Jr.-Sr. High School; Kelsey Treaster, Paraeducator, Beloit Elementary School; Barbara JoAnn Wallace, Paraeducator, Lincoln Elementary School; Jami Miller, Lead Teacher, Early Learning Center. They also accepted the resignation of Tonya Slate, Head Cook, Beloit Elementary School.
The USD 273 Board of Education meets the second Monday of each month at the district office in Beloit at 6:30 p.m.