Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Board discusses having THS students tested for drugs

June 11, 2008

Random drug testing could be coming to Tonganoxie High School.

Members of the THS Site Council spoke to the school board Monday about having the testing at THS.

Tim O'Hagan and other members of the site council, as well as THS principal Jamie Carlisle, discussed the topic with the board.

Carlisle said he was trying to be proactive with the policy.

"It gives our kids another reason to say 'no,'" Carlisle said.

Carlisle discussed the situation further, noting that there were more severe issues in the area where he previously was an administrator, Baxter Springs.

"I came from the meth capital of the four-state area, and we had serious problems," Carlisle said. "We don't have anything even close to that at Tonganoxie High School. I'm confident of that."

Debbie Hatfield, who formerly was on the site council, said the drug testing was "putting the cart before the horse.

The group also discussed the importance of parents properly educating their children about drugs and alcohol.

"A lot of kids get started right out of their parents' refrigerators," said board member Mildred McMillon. "They need parent education as well."

No action on the drug testing was taken at Monday's meeting.

School-issued laptops

Tonganoxie High School students lobbied for a one-to-one initiative at Monday's meeting.

THS students Austin Smith, Dalton Lawson, Ali George and Cooper Gish presented a DVD and fielded questions from school board members at the meeting about the initiative, which would put laptops in the hands of every high school student.

The four students, as well as THS assistant principal Brent Smith, activities director Brandon Parker and technology director David Milhan traveled to El Dorado earlier this year to gather feedback from students, teachers and administrators about the program. A few years ago, the El Dorado School District adopted the plan of one laptop for every high school student.

The school board requested additional information on the initiative, such as more concrete numbers regarding costs.

THS principal Jamie Carlisle said he is passionate about the initiative and hopes the school will implement it.

Board president Leana Leslie thanked the students for the presentation.

"I think we're definitely interested, but we need to know the bottom dollar," Leslie said. "We need to know technology-wise, and what our options are to pay for the computers."

Superintendent Richard Erickson said he thought the district was "one year away from that program."

THS gets higher test scores

Tonganoxie High School experienced dramatic improvements in state assessment scoring, according to THS principal Jamie Carlisle.

Carlisle reported the school saw improvements in math and reading.

He said the goal for reading was 72 percent, but THS students came in at 96.9 percent. He said out of 121 students, only four did not make the proficient or above level in reading.

"That's outstanding," Carlisle said.

He noted the high school likely would make standard of excellence status in reading.

"I don't think that has been achieved at the high school," he said.

Success highlighted

During the good news report, Superintendent Richard Erickson touched on the many successes of the 2007-2008 school year.

"It was a great, great school year," Erickson said. "I know I repeat that each year, but this was an exceptional year of student achievement.

"That's why we're here. We're all here to try to do our very, very best to support the success of our kids."

In addition, Erickson spoke about the future.

He said he was looking at proposing an increase in the mill levy for the local-option budget to fund the one-to-one initiative, as well as construction for additions to Tonganoxie Middle School and Tonganoxie Elementary School. Although TMS was completed in 2006 and improvements were made to TES in 2007, Erickson said the district already is dealing with space issues, especially with all-day kindergarten starting in the fall. He mentioned moving the fourth grade to the middle school to open up space at TES.

Possible cost-saving

Maintenance director Larry Easter reported on ways to save money within the district. He evaluated the air conditioning at the high school and found that use could be scaled back 106 hours a month. Board member Kay Smith also requested that vending machine lights be taken out throughout the district to conserve energy as well.

Easter also reported on new floor wax his office is using. It is more expensive, Easter said, but lasts longer as well.

New central office

The school board made steps Monday toward building a new central district office.

Board members unanimously approved allowing Erickson to form a committee to build a new office, as well as secure an ideal location for the new structure.

Plans call for the high school's building trades class to construct the new office. Erickson also plans to obtain information from the Basehor-Linwood School District regarding its central office. That district's building trades class constructed its central office 15 years ago, Erickson said.

"I think it's a great idea," board member Mildred McMillon said.

Special meeting

A special meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26 at the Tonganoxie Middle School library. It will be a final meeting before the new school calendar year kicks in.

New hires

After a total of just more than two hours in executive session to discuss personnel matters, the school board approved these hires: Werner Anderson, middle school teacher; Connie Weltha, elementary school counselor; Tammy Hilker and Marcia Hummelgaard, paraprofessionals; and Priscilla Schriner, at-risk paraprofessional.

The board also approved supplemental contracts for THS, TMS and TES for the 2008-09 school year, as well as pay increases for classified employees.

School administrators pay increases were approved for building administrators: School superintendent Richard Erickson ($106,250); technology coordinator David Milhon ($70,886); at THS, principal Jamie Carlisle ($88,872), assistant principal Brent Smith ($79,350) and Brandon Parker ($46,862); at TMS, Jill Dickerson ($79,350) and Mark Altman ($74,060); at TES, Tammie George ($79,400) and Ty Poell ($67,712);

New kitchen manager

Ron Leslie will be the new THS kitchen manager. The board approved, 6-0, with board president Leana Leslie abstaining. Leana Leslie abstained because she is Ron Leslie's wife. She left the room when the vote was taken and also left executive session when her husband was discussed during that time.

In other business, the board:

¢ Approved central office job descriptions. For board clerk, the school board accepted the description, with the addition of being away from home at night for school board meetings.

¢ Approved consent agenda items, as well as the treasurer's report.

¢ Accepted the bid of $12,000 for construction of cabinets in the TES third-grade modular classroom by Chris Weller. The board accepted the bid contingent upon the bid be made with Weller's construction company rather than to Weller himself. Weller is a district teacher and board members said an audit last year indicated that district employees who did additional work for the school needed to be contracted out to the company, rather than the individual, for tax purposes.

¢ Approved a teacher inservice day on Nov. 14. A statewide middle school conference is being held that day, so Erickson proposed the inservice day for elementary and high school staffs. The board asked Erickson where the conference would be held, but he was unsure. The board requested more information about the conference before approving TMS' involvement in it.

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