Archive for Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tonganoxie USD 464 sees first enrollment decline in a decade

September 15, 2010

Preliminary numbers show enrollment has declined for the first time in at least 10 years in the Tonganoxie School District.

But Superintendent Kyle Hayden said the lower number won’t translate to less state funding. He noted that, per state regulations, districts could use full-time equivalent numbers from the previous school year in its reports to the state. Enrollment on Sept. 20 must be recorded as final enrollment numbers to be sent to the state as well.

Hayden noted that weighted funding through such areas as preschool/Head Start, at-risk funding and the free and reduced program has a bearing on funding.

“Revenue is keeping up with state projections, so I think we’re in good shape,” Hayden said.

Preliminary enrollment numbers show 1,894 students in the district, about a 1 percent decrease from the 2009-10 enrollment of 1,914. The only building to have an increase in students from the previous year was the middle school with 609, four students more than in 2009-10. THS dropped by two students to 609, while TES dropped by 24 students to 676.

Board moving forward with facility planning

Chris Niemeyer told the Tonganoxie School Board that current space at the elementary school no longer was desired and that space again is an issue. Niemeyer, who is on the new facilities planning committee, said that, simply put, the community needs a new facility.

“In summary, we are advocating for the future of our community, advocating for the quality of education, quality of life and quality for the future,” Niemeyer said. “Our future is now.”

The board approved, 6-0, to authorize the development of a request for proposal of materials for architectural/engineering and construction management professional services and continue the process for implementing phase I facility planning projects. Board member Leana Leslie was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Phase 1, estimated to cost roughly $25 million, calls for a new second- to fifth-grade elementary school on the district’s 80 acres where Tonganoxie Middle School currently stands. It also would cover renovations to the elementary and high schools.

The committee had hoped for a February bond issue, but Hayden said the issue likely would be on ballots in April.

Resignations, hires approved

The board approved these resignations at Monday’s meeting: Karen Stephenson, TES teacher; Michael Miller, THS food service; and Dawn Espeland, transportation. The following hires also were approved: Christy Angell, TES paraprofessional; Greg Harr, bus driver; Troy Hogue, THS/TES custodian; Nicole Martin, THS food service; Sarah Edwards, TES teacher.

Teaching format presented

Tonganoxie Middle School teachers Rachel Padfield, Stacy McElderry and Jennifer Johnson presented “Differentiated Instruction and Best Practice Pedagogy” to the board. It’s a method in which teachers can successfully address the needs of all students in the regular classroom setting.

The teachers affixed two $5 bills near the ceiling and asked board member Kay Smith to grab the first bill. She jumped up to snag the bill. The teachers then asked board member Diane Truesdell to grab the other bill. Truesdell could not reach the bill, but asked whether she could use a chair to stand on to better reach the bill.

Padfield said it’s an exercise the teachers use to show students that everyone is working toward the same goal, but that some need to take different steps toward that goal. And in some cases, students might need some assistance in attaining that goal. Padfield said students were receptive to the idea.

The teachers have taken part in co-teaching some of their classes and it has been successful. Padfield is a special education teacher, Johnson teaches seventh-grade language arts and McElderry seventh-grade math.

Students have the option to retake tests to better understand the material and improve their test scores. Asked whether that allows students to not take the initial test seriously knowing they can retake the test, McElderry said she didn’t think that was the case.

“It hits them back because they have to stay with me before school or after school,” McElderry said, referring to preparing for the retaking of tests.

Padfield noted that during a math exercise some students needed a bit more time understanding the material. After the initial instruction, she took the students to another classroom to work through the lesson a bit more and then they returned to the classroom setting.

Board member Kathy Baragary asked about gifted students, who also are considered special education students. Johnson said she works to provide more challenging material in a lesson. She said she wants to provide the same amount of work, but sh

might select more challenging material for those students.

In other action, the board:

• Heard about seventh-grade teacher Jennifer Johnson and third-grade teacher Nancy Patton being nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year.

• Heard from Tonya Phillips about training for climbing walls for all three schools, as well as the challenge course at the high school. Matt Bond, LeAnn Bond, Ursula Kissinger, Paul O’Neil, Ryan Scott, Jeremy Goebel, Stephanie Wittman, Barb Gurss, Diane Titterington, David Walker, Shawn Phillips, Josey Eastes, Jason Wilson, Tiffany Parker and Margery Thompson completed training and certification. The walls, course and training and certification were funded through a PEP grant.

• Heard about fire alarms being triggered at Tonganoxie Middle School. It was determined that there was dust buildup in ducts that was accelerated through custodians treating floors, Hayden said. The floor work also kicked up dust. Work is being done to correct the issue.

• Heard about a water main line developing two leaks Saturday at the high school east campus. Cost was about $5,000 to repair it.

• Approved the agenda, with changes, 6-0.

• Approved the minutes, bills and treasurer’s report, 6-0.

• Approved one-year maintenance agreement, from Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011, with Trane, 6-0. The monthly cost in the agreement is $5,495.

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