Archive for Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Middle school parking lot needs replaced 4 years after construction

June 15, 2010

Tonganoxie Middle School was constructed roughly four years ago. But asphalt already is in dire need of repair, according to Larry Easter, Tonganoxie school district’s maintenance director.

In chatting with a few asphalt companies, it was determined there was no gravel layer beneath the asphalt around the middle school.

Because of this, there’s not a base beneath the asphalt to absorb moisture and subsequently it becomes like mud and causes decay, Easter said.

The typical configuration, according to asphalt companies with which the district has been in contact, is a four-inch gravel base and two inches of asphalt on top of the base.

About 50 percent of asphalt in front of the main entrance at TMS will have to be replaced, Easter said.

“It’s a mess,” Easter said.

Superintendent Kyle Hayden said the back lot at TMS was in better shape. Though it didn’t have the gravel base, he speculated that perhaps asphalt there was laid on a better base.

Easter said asphalt projects throughout the district would cost an estimated $50,000 this summer, with the majority needing to be spent at the middle school.

Board member Mildred McMillon urged officials to research whether the Kansas Association of School Boards had any building code specifications for asphalt work.

On Tuesday, Hayden said discussions with DLR, the architect’s engineering firm for the project, indicated there were no specifications when the middle school was constructed.

Another board member, Kathy Bargaray, said “we’ve had issues big-time in this district” with relation to asphalt.

Later at Monday’s meeting, the board approved Easter seeking bids for asphalt work.

Board member Kris Grinter asked whether a third lane could be constructed where the access road connects to the south parking lot at TMS.

“To get into that lot in the evening, you have to play chicken,” Grinter said about traffic issues.

Hayden said it wouldn’t be a quick fix, as widening the road would be expensive and would require curbing.

Board president Kay Smith said she was frustrated by the asphalt woes because there was a committee of asphalt experts that evaluated construction plans for the middle school.

Hayden said the asphalt configuration could have been a cost-cutting measure.

Easter reported the sidewalk on the east side of the elementary school would be widened this summer and handicapped parking near the main entrance would be improved.

In other maintenance news, Easter reported:

• The high school weight room is complete. The electrical supply has been run, all equipment has

been moved and the room is in use by students and staff. It is the former upstairs wrestling room that was built as part of THS renovations approved during the 2004 bond issue.

• The new THS wrestling room in the multipurpose building is nearly complete. The office is finished and the only item still to be completed is a half-wall dividing the separate areas. The wrestling room is moving back to the multi-purpose building south of Beatty Field.

• The dirt work for the TES’ new swing area, funded by PTA, is under way. Anticipated completion is later this month.

• Sam Lobb is repairing the stadium light that was damaged the same time that copper was taken from the Chieftain Park soccer field.

• Roof repairs, which were bid in May, have started.

Board approves hires, wage hikes

The board also approved an increase in pay of 15 cents per hour for all classified staff, as well as an average raise of 2.1 percent or $885 for each teacher. Benefits increase for teachers will be on average 2.4 percent or $1,125. That is salary increase of $885 and $240 in health insurance coverage per year. Classified staff will receive the same increase in health insurance coverage. Classified staff consists of secretaries, custodial staff, transportation, maintenance, food service and paraprofessionals.

At Monday’s meeting, the board hired Heather Katz as Tonganoxie High School color guard coach, Deborah Garner as sixth-grade math at Tonganoxie Middle School, Billy Seymour on an extended summer work agreement and Cleta Mark as fifth-grade teacher at Tonganoxie Middle School. Mark, who started teaching in Tonganoxie 36 years ago, submitted a retirement letter May 3 with hopes of being rehired. It’s a route many teachers in the district have taken — retiring to draw KPERS benefits while also having the opportunity to then apply for the same position. If re-hired, the teachers are paid at a lower salary.

Dickerson touts highlights

During her principal report, TMS principal Jill Dickerson spoke about highlights throughout the 2009-10 school year, such as the Destination Imagination global finals tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., and the TMS FCCLA chapter receiving the Kansas State Middle School Community Service Award.

Board approves resignation.

The board accepted the resignation of Pat Wakeman as science teacher. Wakeman taught college credit biology on a half-time basis. In his letter of resignation, Wakeman said he was resigning because of staff reassignments occurring during the final week of the 2009-10 school year due to Phil Loomis’ retirement as science teacher. He also said he hoped that lab class sizes could be kept at 18-22 students per lab class. He noted current lab facilities at the high school are “woefully ill-equipped and under-sized” and chemistry lab stations are circa 1960s.

Wakeman said in the letter he wanted to complete a foundation grant project involving tree planting and wanted to help maintain environmental areas at the high school, outdoor classroom at the elementary school and work with the city’s master trails plan that would cross the high school grounds.

Also in his resignation letter, Wakeman, who has taught in the district for the past 40 years, thanked the 2005 school board for hiring him to teach college credit biology after his initial retirement from the district.

District to receive second year of PEP grant

The Tonganoxie School District will be installing climbing walls at all of its schools thanks to PEP grant funding.

Tonya Phillips told the board an additional climbing wall would be installed in the coming weeks at TES, as well as walls at the middle school and high school. The district qualified for the first year of the Carol M. White PEP Grant for the 2009-10 school year. Phillips said the district learned earlier this year that progress toward goals was achieved in the first year of the grant, which qualified the district for grant money in 2010-11 as well.

The district was awarded $290,730 in the first year. Highlights of the first year were each building having a fully equipped fitness room, increased staff, increased class offerings, updated curriculum and equipment and appropriate/applicable professional development. The district also made marked improvement toward all goals and objectives.

Plans for the second year of the grant in which the district will receive $216,227 call for a challenge course at Tonganoxie High School, HOPSports at the middle school, sports walls at the elementary school and all physical education teachers being certified instructors in CPR, first aid and AED, as well as climbing and ropes courses.

HOPSports is an interactive training system.

“We are very fortunate to have this grant,” superintendent Kyle Hayden said. “It’s one of the most state-of-the-art programs in Kansas and probably a four-state area. It’s allowing us to do things we had never thought we could imagine.”

Executive session

The board met for 15 minutes to discuss personnel before approving consent agenda items early in the meeting. Later in the meeting, the board met for a total of 30 minutes to discuss personnel.

When the board returned to its regular meeting, the board unanimously approved, 7-0:

• The amended school calendar for 2010-11.

• Interlocal agreement with the City of Tonganoxie for a neighborhood revitalization plan.

• Additional bills.

• Ratification of master contract for teachers for 2010-11 school year.

• Supplemental contracts for all activities sponsors and coaches except for track, baseball and softball, as those spring sports still are going through the evaluation process.

• An updated organizational chart.

• Authorizing superintendent, board clerk and auditor to make necessary transfers to special funds and legal maximum amount to contingency reserve, capital outlay and supplemental final state aid to close out the 2009-10 school year.

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