School board briefs
Academic honors recognized
Superintendent Richard Erickson, in his monthly "Good News Report," recognized Tonganoxie Elementary and Tonganoxie Middle School students for reaching state Standard of Excellence status in various categories: Third-grade math, third-grade reading, fourth-grade math, fourth-grade reading and TES building achievement.
At the middle school, students reached the standard of excellence in seventh-grade reading.
In addition, the 19th annual Kansas University Honors Program recognized 19 THS seniors on Sept. 19 at the Lied Center on the KU campus. The students were recognized for being in the top 10 percent academically in their class.
The students are: Amanda Albert, Elizabeth Baska, Kayla Beggs, Jake Bontrager, Laurie Chenoweth, Donald Dyster, Ann Erickson, Samantha Franiuk, Tyler Gurss, Tracie Hileman, Lindsey Himpel, Ashlee Lohman, Cally Owsley, Kaitlyn Saathoff, Sarah Smith, Breanne Somolik, Kristen Titterington, Christy Weller and Matt Williams.
At least four of the students also have ACT scores of 30 or above, Erickson also pointed out.
Special meeting set for insurance bids
The school board voted to conduct a special meeting Monday, Oct. 29, to review insurance bids.
Earlier in Monday's meeting, during patron comments, Diane Bretthauer, who is an agent at The Insurance Center in Tonganoxie, expressed displeasure regarding how bids were being handled and that local agencies were not being given enough time to properly supply bids.
Later in the meeting, board members requested that Erickson look into the possibility for a later deadline.
For more on this story, see next week's edition of The Mirror.
Decision-making concerns voiced
Alan Theno was one of a handful of patrons to speak to the board during patron comment time.
He read from a lengthy prepared statement explaining his disappointment with a meeting last month in which the district bought out the contract of former director of operations Jamie Brun.
"In the last four years of attending board meetings, the Sept. 10 meeting was the worst meeting I have ever sat through," Theno said. "In the meeting we all listened as the superintendent went on and on about how the district is in a money crunch. Two hours later the board is giving $57,000 away because of a problem the superintendent caused.
Superintendent Richard Erickson and Brun were in an argument at the board office that eventually led to Brun calling 911.
"The mess this district is in is one of your own doing," Theno said. "If any of you think giving taxpayers' money away is the answer to the district's problems, then write your resignation and leave."
In the spring, the district also bought out remaining contracts of two administrators who were suspended with pay during an investigation of both. However, the investigation revealed no wrongdoing and all parties agreed to buyouts.
"You cannot sit there and believe your actions over the past few years haven't hurt our schools," Theno said. "Renewing the contracts of staff that lie to parents, that do not follow procedures, break federal law and hide problems from the board defies logic."
Theno's son filed a sexual harassment suit against the district in May 2004. In December 2005, the two sides settled and the district was directed to pay $440,000.
School board member Mildred McMillon, who was voted in during an April election, asked for a copy of Theno's statement Monday, but Theno declined.
Theno also ran for school board in the spring, but was soundly defeated by Diane Truesdell.
Erickson outlines possible programs
Superintendent Richard Erickson spoke to the board about the increased curricular and extra-curricular programs the board has offered during the past 10 years, including additional dual college credit offerings.
He said Monday that he would like to look into offering some form of training courses in these fields in the future: computer technician, police school, ROTC, fire school, personal finance, real estate sales, insurance, culinary arts and machinist work.
He also mentioned starting Grandparents Day in the middle and high schools and focusing fundraising on events, rather than selling a product.
In addition, he would like to evaluate the feasibility of installing wind turbines on school property to help produce electricity for the school and community.
Erickson said the inspiration for some of those suggestions came from a story he read recently in an Arizona newspaper at a Phoenix airport. Erickson recently flew by way of Phoenix to Idaho to be with his father for 10 days. Erickson said his father had open-heart surgery.
Three coaching resignations OK'd
After a total of 25 minutes in executive session, the board accepted the resignations of these high school coaches: Matt Bond, assistant boys basketball; Mark Elston, assistant baseball; and Jared Jackson, assistant softball.
The board also hired: Ryan Reed, high school social science teacher; Doug Sandburg, assistant THS girls basketball coach; and CJ Friesen as technology assistant to technology director David Milhon.