Archive for Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Special school board meeting

May 6, 2009

By Shawn Linenberger

slinenberger@theworldco.info

The Tonganoxie School District now has a written policy in accepting out-of-district students.

It will be a basic continuation of previous practice, but now in writing.

Out-of-district students will be accepted if space and resources are available and if the students are and remain in good academic and behavioral standing.

Tuition will be assessed for out-of-district kindergarteners at a proposed $2,200 for a school year because the state only provides 50 percent of normal per-student funding when it comes to kindergarteners. In addition, out-of-district students in first through 12th grades will be assessed a fee, also proposed at $2,200, who enroll after Sept. 20. That is the day an official headcount is taken to determine state aid.

The board approved the written policy, 6-0, with board member Mildred McMillon absent.

The board also continued discussion about charging to bus students who live within 2.5 miles of the school building they attend.

The state provides funding for busing students beyond that mark, but not below.

A concern that came up centered around families that are right around that 2.5-mile radius who might have one student who would be farther than 2.5 miles from that student’s school, but a sibling would be less than 2.5 miles from that sibling’s respective school.

Board member Leana Leslie voiced concern about it.

“I can see more buses run half-empty wasting gas because one person’s way out south of town who wants to pay the fees, but no one else (in that area) is paying for it,” Leslie said.

Hayden said there are about 700 students who live outside the 2.5-mile radius who attend district schools, while 400 fell within the radius.

No action was taken on implementing a policy, but board member Darlyn Hansen said discussion should continue in the future.

“I don’t think you should close the door,” Hansen said. “It’s a significant number of students.”

Hayden said it needed to be decided “how much do we want to gamble in providing a service and how valuable is that service to the patrons.”

With budget planning in the works, Hayden offered worksheets for the best-case and worst-case scenarios, depending on what cuts the Legislature makes in education funding.

Hayden used base state aid per pupil numbers of $4,292 and $4,236, based on current anticipated numbers. The previous per-pupil state aid was set at $4,433.

Various reductions, such as buying out teacher’s planning periods, reducing classified staff, increasing meal prices and increasing textbook and technology fees were included in the best-case scenario for a total savings of about $1.2 million.

In the worst-case scenario, Hayden offered considerations in some of the following areas: reducing administrative staff by one person, eliminating summer school and additional custodian-maintenance staff, reducing supplemental positions and reducing the school year by five days. In accordance with that reduction, each school day would be extended 15 minutes. Projected savings in that scenario would be more than $1.8 million.

Resignations, retirement and non-renewal approved

During the special meeting, Hayden also

After a 30-minute executive session, the board accepted resignations from Angela Oelschlaeger and Richard Riedel, transportation; and Teri Richert, elementary school kitchen staff member.

The board also voted to not renew Ann Kontor’s contract as high school Spanish/French teacher.

Denise LaRosh’s retirement also was accepted. LaRosh is a language arts teacher at THS.

The next regular meeting will be 6 p.m. Monday at Tonganoxie.

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