Archive for Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Longer school day could be in 2010-11 plans

January 13, 2010

School days could be longer during the 2010-11 school year for Tonganoxie students.

Superintendent Kyle Hayden spoke to the board about reduction considerations in budgets for the remainder of the current school year and the next during Monday’s school board meeting.

Adding minutes to each day would allow the district to shorten the school year, which would save up to $80,000 with the year being reduced five to 10 days, Hayden said.

Administrators at Tonganoxie middle and high schools were receptive to extending classes by 15 minutes, but elementary school administrators weren’t as receptive.

“It’s not non-support, but it’s a different ball game at the elementary school,” Hayden said about younger students. “You really don’t want to go beyond seven and a half hours, especially with K (kindergarten), one (first grade), two (second grade) kids.”

Another area of possible budget trimming, seventh-grade athletics, won’t be discontinued. Hayden said the administrative team wanted it, as well as reduction of junior varsity and freshman schedules, taken off the list of possible areas to cut. However, a no-cut policy is an area administrators still would like to pursue as a budget-cutting measure.

Discussions are ongoing about potential cuts for the remainder of the 2009-10 school year and for 2010-11.

District switches to skyward

The school district will be switching from PowerSchool to Skyward for its student management plan.

Starting with the next school year, the three-year contract evens out to about $38,000 per year and can be paid off with no interest after three years. Hayden said multiple companies are serving the district, but it would be better to streamline those services into one company. Some issues are systems not being integrated, data loss and re-entry, lack of response when problems arise and inadequate training and support. Hayden said various state systems do not work well with PowerSchool and have various issues in reporting. The board approved the measure, 7-0.

Student speaks to board

Tonganoxie High School senior Taylor Davis, who holds a state office in Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, thanked the board for the district’s continued financial support of her and other FCCLA members.

“I can personally say through FCCLA it has completely changed my career focus,” Davis said, noting she had planned to go into law, but now wants to become a family and consumer sciences teacher.

Davis talked about once being a shy and reserved student but said she is now is a dominant, outspoken leader at THS thanks to FCCLA. She said FCCLA and other school organizations FFA and FBLA are important.

Board member Kay Smith said Davis reminded “me of me 100 years ago,” noting she was a shy student and then ran for national office. She also applauded Davis for wanting to pursue a teaching career.

“There is no better job than being a FACS teacher,” Smith said.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a check for $120 from Amy Moore of Sunflower Broadband. The money was raised through a customer sign-up drive, as a portion of each account was donated to the school.

• Approved, 6-0, the hiring of Mark Elston as TMS eighth-grade assistant boys basketball coach. Elston fills the position previously held by Dave St. Cyr, who died Dec. 30. Board member Leana Leslie arrived at the meeting after the vote was taken.

• Approved, 7-0, the district strategic plan, which lays out the district’s mission, vision and goals.

• Met a total of one hour, 15 minutes in executive session to discuss personnel. Hayden met with the board for nearly an hour of those closed-door meetings.

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