USD 434 considers list of capital outlay projects

SCRANTON — The USD 434 Board of Education revisited a board survey of interest in a variety of capital outlay projects for the district during its March 8 regular meeting.

At the February meeting, Steve Pegram, superintendent, asked the board to vote on the projects they would like to see pursued by the district, as a gage of interest.

The voting saw the strongest support for two items – security cameras at Carbondale and hiring a full-time curriculum director. The curriculum director position was pitched at the January board meeting.

“We didn’t explain it, and I limited what you could vote on,” Pegram said. “I thought we’d do that tonight.”

Pegram, staff and board members expanded on a list of items during this month’s meeting, including Chromebooks for all Kindergarten through third-grade classes and associated apps. Pegram said there were nine classes with around 20 students each.

“We know there’s nine more classrooms that want to do that?” asked Randy Boudeman, board president. “If we do, then we’re all for it.”

At the Santa Fe Trail High School sports complex, options included adjustments around the football bleachers, including concrete between the bleachers and concession stand, to close in the bleachers to create storage.

Other football field items included replacing the sound system; repairing, repainting or replacing the football press box; replacing the football field lights; and painting end zones and numbers on the football field.

A large ticket item which received little discussion was the development of a baseball and softball complex at the school.

New lettering on the high school was also suggested.

“Something that stands out,” said Michelle Ferris, board member.

Chris Kendall, board member, suggested mats on all the walls of the auxiliary gymnasium, and a new or larger concession area for volleyball, wrestling and basketball games.

“That area is too small,” Kendall said.

A public address system was also suggested for the auxiliary gym.

Improvements at the Carbondale Attendance Center track included removing the old backstop and constructing throwing and jumping areas.

“This is kind of moot now,” Pegram said, noting junior high students will be practicing at the high school.

Security items included cameras in the new domes at SFT, cameras on the west doors at Overbrook Attendance Center, fob entrances at OAC and cameras at CAC.

Pegram also suggested a new greenhouse for the high school, noting the recently completed facility at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School.

“They got a Monsanto grant of $25,000,” Pegram said. “The total cost was $125,000.”

Zac Anshutz also suggested looking into door blockers for the classrooms, in the incident of an active shooter.

“They go on doors, where the teacher or someone in the room has to take them off to open the door,” Anshutz said.

The options included the addition of a curriculum director, with the option to move custodial salaries into capital outlay to fund the position’s salary.

Other communication options included replacement of the phone systems at OAC, as well as an internet–based phone system overhaul for the entire district.

The final items on the list were asphalt parking lots at the north and south lots at SFT, east of OAC, and east of CAC.

In other business, the board:

• received a presentation from Amy Huizenga’s first-grade class regarding several technology projects. The class has been using web-portals to work on projects, including paper airplanes, apple boats, valentines and painting with Skittles.

“We use a web site called Kiddle,” Huizenga said. “It’s like Google for kids. They were able to go in and safely search.”

She said the class has also been working with hyper documents – digital lessons with media and links built into the document.

“I’ve been really proud of them,” Huizenga said. “They’ve been really big kids doing a lot of stuff. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been a good challenge for us.”

• was presented a $2,500 check from Monsanto on behalf of Linda Faust, who applied for the grant for Overbrook Attendance Center.

“If you’re a farmer, you can fill out this little bitty information thing, to get a grant for your county,” Faust said. “Tell you farmer friends, it’s out there in the county.” (See related article on page 12)

• discussed the special education program toured by area superintendents last month at southeast Kansas schools.

“They run a satellite program where they lump their disabilities together,” Pegram said. “That teacher becomes an expert at that disability.”

Boudeman said the Three Lakes Cooperative discussed it at their board meeting.

“The idea, they kind of liked,” Boudeman said. “They wanted to make sure a parent wouldn’t be having to come from one end of the district to another end of the district.”

Pegram noted the locations of students with disabilities would change from year to year, and said the districts would continue discussion at future meetings.

• tabled discussion of a student tracking system for district busses. Pegram discussed the possibility of a different system, developed by the Hiawatha school district.

• approved employment of Megan Torneden, part-time bus para; Kayla Chiddix, Amy Huizenga and Betsy Kraus, teacher mentors; and Brit Dewey, head junior high track coach. The board approved resignations of Becky Coltrane, high school cheer sponsor, and Jamie Rosine, assistant high school boys’ basketball coach.

• conducted a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.

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The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

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