The USD 273 Beloit Board of Education met in regular session on Monday evening at the district office with six board members present. Superintendent Jeff Travis shared a memorandum of understanding which includes language on under what circumstances students may be restrained in case of emergency.
The agreement stipulates that the directive be revisited twice per year, and that all school board members sign. The county attorney, city attorney, the county sheriff and court services officer will also sign off on the agreement. The memorandum delineates the responsibilities of each party in-regard to student referrals to law enforcement, and when school officials are required to report behavior to law enforcement based upon Kansas Law.
Travis said there will be some policy changes required due to the memorandum. He will bring those changes to the next meeting after some direction from the Kansas Association of School Boards. This is a new requirement from the state.
Reporting on the legislature, Travis said a school funding bill was passed to add $289 million in additional funding over the next two years statewide. Based on the new school funding formula passed by the legislature, USD 273 will receive an additional $527,706 for the 2017-18 school year compared to 2016-17 funding level. Some area districts are losing funds while other gain. The formula is based on factors including changes in enrollment and valuations.
Travis announced that 2018 graduation will be held on Saturday, May 19 at 11 a.m. Travis also said they hit a snag on a new school vehicle which was approved last month. Ford has done away with their fleet program deals, and the district missed the cut-off by three days. They will re-open the bidding process.
Travis also reported that USD 273 received national recognition from US News and World Report school ranking awards with a Bronze Award. Student performance, graduation rates and other factors are compiled. There were other considerations such as college and career readiness which USD 273 offers, but were not available to the publication prior to the release of the awards. USD 273 would have received higher than a bronze award had that been factored is. Travis pointed out that other districts listed for higher awards had college and career readiness numbers below that of USD 273.
“This should be celebrated. It is a huge accomplishment and a big thing for our district coming from a private organization,” Travis said.
Travis also discussed school redesign program which was discussed in a recent webinar with the Kansas State Department of Education. They are looking for schools to volunteer. USD 273 is considering applying for one of the seven spots which will be chosen by September 1.
Brady Dean delivered the Mitchell County Partnership for Children report showing a cumulative report of progress for each of the five preschools in the district partnership. Brady also reported on some upgrades to classrooms and some changes in the set-up of Beloit Elementary to better utilize space and make their processes more efficient. Dean also discussed BES’s above average results from state assessments.
Special Education Cooperative Director Karen Neimczyk discuss Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) which is a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente which assesses the associations between child mistreatment as they impact education and health/wellbeing outcomes later in life. The study involved more than 17,000 participants and painted a clear picture of adverse experiences in childhood leading to major risk factors for illness and death as well as a poor quality of life.
Niemczyk reported that aside from two speech language pathologist positions, all Special Education Cooperative certified positions have been filled. They will be hiring as many as 13 paraprofessionals. She also discussed training sessions taking place over the next couple of months. She said they will also be contracting out some staff to assist other districts in the cooperative. She said this sharing of resources will help keep costs down.
Parents as Teachers is in its 23rd year. They cover the 5 districts in the cooperative, and served 105 families with a total of 160 children. They served 40 children in USD 273. They received a new hearing screening machine thanks to a Dane G. Hansen Grant. A new parent educator will be hired in the Beloit district this coming school year.
In action items, the board approved the staffing lists for Parents as Teachers, MCPC, Early Learning Center, certified employees for BES, BHS and the Special Education Coop. Classified employee lists were also approved for the district.
The board the approved a contract with SE Kansas Education Services Center which provides IEP software hosting and training for the Special Education Coop.
The board then approved a cooperative agreement between Stephanie Meyer Photography and Cole W. Eberle photography where they will split the photography work for school and sports pictures and year books for the next two years. The board also addressed food services which required a 10 cent increase per meal for lunches district wide in order to meet federal guidelines. All these items were approved unanimously.
Contracts were announced for Jana Coil, School Psychologist and Theresa Niblock, Speech Language Pathologist, Beloit Special Education Cooperative, Kylie Snavely, Fifth Grade Teach, BES, and Raegan Streit, Teacher Aide, Early Learning Center. Resignations were accepted from Jeff Bates, BHS Business Teacher, Tonja Binsnette, Paraeducator (effective Aug.10), Christine Greif, BHS First Grade Teacher and Megan Gronewoller, BES Secretary.
The USD 273 Board of Education is next scheduled to meet on Monday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office in Beloit.