The Beloit USD 273 Board of Education held their March meeting at the district office in Beloit on Monday, March13. Superintendent Jeff Travis updated the board on movement in the state legislature in Topeka in regards to education. He said it had been a slow-moving period as the legislature was in recess for their spring break to return home to work and speak with constituents. They are back in session this week.
Travis reported on a bill for at-risk funding as well as the Kansas Supreme Court ruling which said funding levels are still inadequate, and the block grant funding mechanism is unconstitutional. Travis also said there is a K-12 budget committee which has been tasked with doing back check on past school funding mechanisms.
He also shared a report saying 71 percent of jobs in Kansas will require post-secondary education for those coming out of high school. He also discussed the Career Cruising program which is being implemented. Career Cruising is a self-exploration and planning program which helps people of all ages achieve their potential in school and their career choices.
Travis also said insurance payouts are on pace with last year. Total payouts first five months of the school year for USD 273 were 508,691. They totaled $1.3 million last year.
In the student council report it was shared that $3,750 was raised for the American Heart Association. This was the second-best total in school history for the annual fundraising event which has taken place in at least each of the past 7 years. Over $25,000, in total, has been raised by the school during that time. There was also a Relay for Life 50/50 raffle held recently which raised $872. The students will also be selling luminaries for the Relay for Life event in April.
The school also held their second blood drive of the year last month. They met their donation goals both times. As a result of those successes, the school received $250 from Red Cross to give to a senior blood donor which will be drawn at random among those seniors who gave blood. STUCO is also looking for tables for their outdoor patio project. A grant request to the Dane G. Hansen Foundation was not awarded, but they are seeking other funding sources.
STUCO elections will be held after Spring Break this week. There will also be a Drive One for Your School event in partnership with St. John’s at Beloit Auto and Truck Plaza on April 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where you can raise money for your school of choice in Beloit by simply taking a test drive of one of their vehicles.
Brady Dean gave the elementary report. He said spring break is being used to deep clean rooms and hopefully get rid of illness causing germs for students and teachers. They school has battled illness recently leading up to Spring Break which is this week. KC Wolf (Dan Mears) also recently visited BES before he was the keynote speaker at the NCK Men and Boys Rally held in Beloit last week. Dean also said preschool packets have been distributed and are due back March 29. He said 46 packets were handed out. Last year that total was in the mid-thirties. Dean also said state assessments will begin March 22.
The elementary received a $4,400 grant from the Solomon Valley Community Foundation for interactive whiteboards for classrooms. Dean said they should be able to get at least three grade school rooms worth of them along with another $1,500 matching grant from Beloit PTO who is also purchasing a 3D printer for the school.
Several upcoming school events were reviewed as well. They include dental screenings on April 24, the first-grade program will be on April 10 and Easter Break from April 14 through 17.
In the Mitchell County Partnership for Children report, Dean discussed the Child Care Assistance Program. MCPC has been awarded $11,000 in tuition assistance to families in need. By June 30 all money will be distributed for that program. Brady said this has been a very helpful and successful program which he hopes will be funded again next school year.
Preschool benchmark assessments results were shared. Every testing area showed double digit increases, in terms of percentage, compared to the fall assessment. Those assessments will be conducted once more this school year in April.
The Early Learning Center currently has open spots including one in Toddler 2 for two year olds, one in Pre-Kindergarten-1 for two and three year olds and one for Pre-K-2 for 3 to 5 year olds.
Athletic Director Kyle Beisner gave a recap of successes at state wrestling as Junior Blayne Harris who is the Class 3-2-1A state champion at 113 pounds and was 34-2 this season. It was Harris’s third straight state tournament appearance in as many tries. Beisner also reviewed the basketball season and All-NCAA League announcements. On the girl’s side, Josie Wilson and Sydney Johnson were first team selections while Sydney Barrett and Taryn Post received honorable mention status. In boy’s basketball, Caydren Cox and Brendan Mason were first team selections with Hunter Budke and Taylor Travis as honorable mention selections.
It was also reported that Jr./Sr. High School parent/teacher conferences were 58 percent attended.
In action items, the board approved the addition of Cade Hewitt as a part time assistant track coach which will cost the district no more than $400. They needed an additional coach to assist with high numbers as there are 70 kids out for high school track. An additional softball assistant coach, Keegan Bailey, was named as well. Marty Hesting was approved as an assistant baseball coach.
Superintendent Travis also discussed a new program they are setting up which will allow online payments to be made for school fee. It will be linked through Skyward accounts or through the bank of a user’s choice,
The USD 273 Board of Education is next scheduled to meet on Monday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office in Beloit.