USD 273 School Board Meeting
Monday, February 13, 2017
By Terry Bailey
The USD 273 Board of Education met at the Board Office on North Independence Avenue on Monday evening, February 13 to oversee the operation of the local schools.
School Board Attorney Jim Johnson was present to discuss the transfer of control of the Harbaugh Trust from private hands to oversight by the USD 273 Endowment Association. The funds will still be subject to the guidelines that have always been in place.
In his report Superintendent Jeff Travis gave the board an update on the activities at the Kansas legislature that are applicable to the education community. Travis said, “There have been good bills introduced and bad bills introduced at the State house in Topeka. It is hard to tell which ones will find favor with the legislators. Fortunately, we have Susan Concannon on our side. She will represent us well.”
Eric Burks, NCK Technical College President was present to give the Board an update on the operation of the Technical College. Burks started by telling the Board that NCK Tech has a graduation rate of 70.7%. This compares very favorably to a national graduation rate of 20.5%. The enrollment at both the Hays and Beloit campuses this year is 926 students, up 7.5% from last year. Burks reported that the top four programs at NCK Tech were: Nursing, Diesel Mechanics, Automotive Technology, and Heavy Equipment.
Last year the College began using a new method of selling the house constructed by the students. In recent years there have been great differences in the selling price of the houses.
Burks reviewed the long standing relationship between the local public school system and the Technical College. This has been a mutually beneficial partnership for many years. He looks forward to a continued positive collaboration.
A representative of the BHS Student Council reviewed the recent activities at the high school. Last week was the Winter Homecoming activities. Participation was widespread with most students taking part. The Homecoming dance was well attended and went off very well.
Liz Fixsen reported for the PTO. The last box top fundraiser took in $650. The program of collecting gently used Trojan T-Shirt and other school spirit apparel continues on an ongoing basis. She told the Board they are exploring the concept of an outdoor classroom. They are currently in the fact-finding mode.
Karen Niemczyk, Director of the Beloit Special Ed Cooperative, addressed the Board. She said Sandy Labertew, a long standing speech therapist at Sylvan Grove, has chosen to retire at the end of the school year. Labertew’s retirement makes the Coop short 2 ½ speech clinicians at the end of the year. This position is one that has seen several vacancies chronically unfilled over the past few years.
Brady Dean reviewed the winter benchmark assessment results. Every grade showed significant improvement in their results from the fall to the winter’s testing results. Dean said “Obviously, the higher the fall results were, the lower the improvement numbers. If the kids scored 85% the fall, the room for improvement is less than if they scored 30%.”
Dean said January 19th is Family Bingo Night at Beloit Elementary School. He said this is a time when the All Purpose room is overflowing. Parents, students, and teachers always have a good time.
The school spelling bee was held on January 11th. The winner was Trennon Sevilla. The Geo Bee was held on January 12th and the winner was Wesley Adolph.
Parent-Teachers Conferences will be Thursday February 16th.
Casey Seyfert, Beloit Jr. Sr. High principal, told the Board that parent teacher conferences will take place in his building from 12:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday February 16th.
February is Career and Technical Education month. Last week Jeff Bates and Jeff Channell attended the CTE conference in Manhattan to stay current with the program.
FFA week is February 20-24. Mr. Callaway has a number of school wide activities planned.
The Scholars Bowl team competed in the State Finals and got 4th in their pool. This is the first time in recent memory that a Beloit High Scholars Bowl team has qualified for State competition.
Kyle Beisner, Activities Director, said that the Beloit Invitational Wrestling Tournament was once again a highly successful tournament. Beisner credits the volunteers who year after year give of their time and expertise to create a first class athletic experience for all involved. Recently, wrestling Coach Andy Niemczyk recorded his 250th dual meet victory.
The winter sports seasons are winding down with the State tournaments soon to be contested. The basketball Sub-state will be held in Russell.
The Board discussed the proposed calendar for the 2017-18 school year with an end of school date of May 24th. They voted to adopt this calendar.
They voted to adopt a testing schedule for Driver’s Education that will bring it in compliance with one recommended by the state. Rather than having regularly scheduled chapter tests throughout the term of the course, they will now administer four unit tests.
Mr. Seyfert outlined course additions and deletions for the students at the high school next year.
The Board voted to accept the resignation of Jon Bingessor as a high school paraprofessional and the resignation of Branden Callaway as the Vocational Agriculture teacher.
The Board voted to enter into a 30 minute executive session for the purpose of discussing non-elected personnel.
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