Archive for Wednesday, February 10, 2010

District finds savings loophole

February 10, 2010

A handful of Tonganoxie school district educators submitted their letters of retirement to the Tonganoxie School Board.

At Monday’s meeting, the board rehired them.

The scenario allows the teachers to begin receiving Kansas Public Employees Retirement System benefits, while also still being able to work in the district at a negotiated salary. Retirement is effective June 1; the rehire is effective Aug. 1, as KPERS criteria require a 60-day period between retirement and rehire.

Before the current school year, Kansas teachers could teach in the same district from which they retire at a ceiling of $20,000 while receiving KPERS retirement benefits.

Now, however, there is no ceiling.

According to Superintendent Kyle Hayden’s calculations, the scenario will save the district about $60,000 in 2010-11 by rehiring the teachers at a lower salary rate.

Hayden said there was dialogue with teachers who were approaching retirement about the possible rehire and the understanding that the position would be advertised and the hire would be made from the field of applications.

“We felt like that is truly following equal opportunity employment law,” Hayden said.

He said it was a win-win situation, as teachers would be able to retire but would have the possibility of being rehired working in the same position while also receiving full retirement benefits. The district, in the process, reduces paying salary by 30 percent minimum, Hayden said.

Teachers submitting retirement letters were: Andy Gilner, THS social studies and drivers education instructor; Randy Kraft, THS agriculture education instructor; Pam Lamb, THS family and consumer sciences teacher and FCCLA adviser; Mark Mall, THS math instructor; and Kathy Walker, THS counselor.

“The fact we selected the same teachers is testimony to the fine job they’ve done over the years, whether it be in the classroom or extracurricular activities and the expertise and leadership they bring to the building,” Hayden said.

The superintendent also said he expected more teachers probably would be eligible and would be considering retirement in hopes of being rehired.

The board approved the measure unanimously, 6-0, with Diane Truesdell being absent.

Cuts for 2010-11 discussed

With the state budget crisis continuing as the economy continues to sputter, talks of a maximum of $750,000 in budget reductions were discussed at Monday’s meeting.

Some areas Superintendent Kyle Hayden proposed as possible cuts were:

• Transportation. $50,000 by reducing pay to ride transportation.

• Summer school. $20,000 by eliminating TMS and THS programs.

• Administrative staff. $40,000 with the retirement of Richard Erickson.

• Freeze on all staff salaries for the second consecutive year.

• Athletics staff. $25,000 by eliminating six positions.

Larger cuts, which would need board action before May 1, would be extending the school day 15 minutes and reducing the school year by five days, would save about $50,000, while cutting support staff by four positions would save $70,000. The largest cut, if necessary, would be eliminating 10 positions of certified staff and programs, which translates to $400,000.

Independent auditor’s report

A representative from Lowenthal, Webb and Odermann in Lawrence presented his findings of an independent audit of financial statements for the school district.

Auditor Brian Nyp noted there was no mismanagement of a financial, accounting, reporting or auditing matter. The auditor reported that no such disagreements arose during the course of the audit of mismanagement.

“I think we get good feedback from Kyle and the rest of the staff,” Nyp said, referring to superintendent Hayden.

They’re really striving to do a good job and make sure things are in order.

Some suggestions that came about from the audit:

• The district implement a capital asset and supply inventory policy.

• Because it is not district practice to authorize activity fund fundraisers and that tracking of fundraiser revenues and expenditures have not been completed for current activity fund fundraisers, auditors recommended that the district create a policy requiring each activity fund fundraiser be authorized and that revenues and expenditures be tracked for each fundraiser by the activity fund bookkeepers.

• Several bank account and other organizations were identified as using the district’s taxpayer identification number. It’s recommended that those groups remove their accounts from the district’s taxpayer ID number. Small grants also are placed in those accounts. The audit recommended those revenues be counted in the district’s gifts and grants fund.

• Timesheets of police officers who provide security for district events be signed off by the police chief, as they are not currently.

• Recommended the district approve accounting and internal control policies over payroll disbursements.

Resignations, hires accepted

The board approved the resignations of transportation coordinator David Clayton, THS physical education instructor Jennifer Murczek and TMS athletics director and middle school track coach Phil Jeannin.

Clayton’s last day with the district was Monday.

Jeannin and Murczek will finish May 26. Murczek also is resigning as freshman volleyball and assistant girls soccer coach effective in May.

Murczek’s family is relocating to Texas, while Jeannin has accepted a position with the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission. A longtime physical education teacher in the Tonganoxie school district, Jeannin served a total of 37 years in the district.

Hires also were approved: Debbie Allen as special education transportation paraprofessional and Teri Richert and Monica Wise as bus route drivers for the remainder of the school year.

The board also approved the hire of Stephanie Wittman, physical education teacher for the 2010-11 school year.

Facilities and grounds report

Westar Energy is looking into the middle school to study why an unusually large number of light ballasts have needed to be replaced recently. Westar has installed a meter to the electric power entering the building to gauge whether power spikes might be the culprit.

TED Systems is doing the annual fire inspection for all buildings. Replacing the former company, G&P Systems, results in a savings of $1,400.

A sink leaking at the elementary school caused water to pool behind the wall. When the wall was opened to expose the vent line, the trapped water had a strong odor. An environmental company inspected the situation and proper chemicals were used to prevent bacterial growth. Wet cabinets have been removed to prevent mold or mildew issues and the odor appears to have been eliminated.

Finally, a trade-in of a mower is being negotiated, with net cost expected to be about $6,000.

Executive session

The board met in executive session for a total of one hour, 15 minutes to discuss personnel. For the first 30 minutes, the board also met to discuss attorney-client privilege. Hayden met for all but five minutes of the executive session, while THS principal met with the board for 21 minutes, TMS principal Jill Dickerson for 17 minutes and TES principal Tammie George for four minutes.

District conducting survey

The school district will be conducting an online parent/staff survey to collect feedback about how the district is performing. The survey has about 50 questions and will be available during parent/teacher conferences Wednesday, Feb. 18 and Thursday, Feb. 19 and to staff during the final week in February. Results will be shared with the community and the district will utilize information for school improvement purposes. Computers will be set up at the conferences for parents.

Comments

kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

Where is the rest of the school news???? The Mirror must have forgot to report the drug busts at the High School. The poached deer found in the back of a truck at the High School. Our School Board hired someone that has spent time on the Kansas sex offender list. A film crew from Los Angeles spent 4 days in Tonganoxie filming a documentry about problems our schools have had. The Mirror is a "news" paper. It should report all of the news.

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rwildcat 4 years, 10 months ago

kanfarmer,

Please be careful not to state opinion as fact in a public setting. I know for a fact your information is not correct regarding the individual supposedly being a sex offender. This kind of innuendo is extremely hurtful, especially when it's not true.

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kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

rwildcat How do you end up on the Kansas sex offender list if you have not been convicted? Its public record! You can check your "facts" by searching.... sex offenders 66086

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rwildcat 4 years, 10 months ago

kanfarmer,

You're right, it is public record.

Are you aware there are three categories of offenses on the registry list, two of which have nothing to do with sexual charges? That's why it's called the "offender registry". If you'll notice, the conviction of the person in question was battery, not a sexual crime.

Also, the person in question has served their probationary period. The record is now expunged, which means it's as if it never existed.

So, to answer your question, those are my "facts" and how I came about them. Can you now explain how you came about your "facts"?

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kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

I read the charges on the Johnson County web-site. public record! The charges were sexual battery. Several charges. Pleaded down to what your seeing now.. yes? You said as if never existed? Do you think the victim feels like it never happened? I think your missing part of the point. Is this the best person for the job? With all of the people out of work , this is the best our school board could come up with. Well expect for one menber. One voted no. Good for her. Good people do dumb things, we all have. But should they work at out schools?

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rwildcat 4 years, 10 months ago

The "victim" in this case has made a living from the court system. The fact remains there was no conviction for any kind of sexual charges. Anyone can say someone did something. Only when someone is convicted of those charges are they guilty. I would have no problem trusting this person with the responsibilities of their position in the school district.

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Trouble 4 years, 10 months ago

"rwildcat"

Battery... well that is a lot better then a sex offender.... What are you talking about? It doesn't matter what the persons crime was or if they are still on the offender list. I don't beleive this kinda of person should work for the school at all. What if a kid make the offender mad is he going to batter them? "kanfarmer" is right the mirror is doing a poor job about reporting the news to the community. This is first I heard about any of these stories. What is up with that? What else are they leaving out?

About the loophole there is nothing like working the system. I don't know.. this don't sound right? Retire and school hire them back all in the same meeting, so they can start receiving their retirement benefits and pay them just a little less then what they were making before? Because it is not much savings 5 teachers $60,000.= $12,000. less a year for each teacher. So they are making $50,000 a year in stead of 60,000 a year plus retirement benefits? What a deal. Work... that system... Work it.

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kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

PLEASE.blame the victim???? If your charged with robbing a bank and its pleaded down to shoplifting. Does that mean the bank was never robbed?

Trouble, I have no idea why the Mirror doesn't report whats going on in our schools. Maybe someone should ask besides you and me.

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rwildcat 4 years, 10 months ago

Trouble and kanfarmer,

Is there anything in any of my posts that says I think it's okay to commit a crime? I don't.

On the other hand, insinuating someone is a sex criminal without knowing anything about the case [and when it's simply not true] is the type of thing that can ruin someone's life.

Which of the two is a worse offense?

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kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

You dont think its ok to commit a crime, but you think its ok to hire someone who has commited a crime against a person to work unsupervised with kids? I don't know any company that would hire a person with this background. But our school board is willing to risk the taxpayers money, hiring a person with a VERY questionable background. Our school boards in the past have a long history in risking paypayers money and losing it. There is no need to take this risk. With all of the more than qualified people out of work, there must have been a better choice. The conviction were talking about was with a co-worker. I do know a bit about this. Thank god we live in a country that has open records.

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Trouble 4 years, 10 months ago

"rwildcats" Yes, in away you did say it was Okay. You said... "The conviction of the person in question was Battery, not sexual crime. Also, The person in question has served their probational period and the record is now expunged, which mean it's as it never existed."

I do not know where you come from but a crime is a crime and just because you paid to get yourself out of trouble and did your time does not mean that it never existed!! I do not know what this person did and don't care but the school board could have probably found a better employee then what we got in this person. Anyone that can not control his or her temper and get charged with battery, which means that they can not keep their hands off someone. Was the person young and stupid maybe, I do not know. but what "kanfarmer" is saying is this person the best one for this job? Working for the school.

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rwildcat 4 years, 10 months ago

kanfarmer and Trouble,

Thanks for the comments. Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Take care!

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kanfarmer 4 years, 10 months ago

We can agree to disagree, thats why we live in America.

          You take care also!
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