Archive for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

USD 464 bond issue talk returns

May 15, 2012

The Tonganoxie School Board is taking another look at a bond issue just more than a year after voters soundly defeated a $26.9 million measure.

This time, the focus appears to rest solely on upgrading Tonganoxie Elementary School.

Representatives from HTK Architects, which worked with the district in preparing for the 2011 bond issue, offered projected numbers of enrollment through 2018 for the district and additional overcrowding at TES. Enrollment is expected to be 885 by 2018. Capacity at the school is 560, and it currently has about 640 students.

Patron Insights, a company that evaluates patrons’ opinions about potential bond issues through phone calls, also spoke to the board. The group evaluates three things: how a district is doing, where people get information about the district and what they think about ideas for a bond issue individually and collectively.

Board members were in agreement that the next bond issue should focus solely on space issues at the elementary school.

Superintendent Randy Weseman asked the board whether the focus of the bond issue would be in solving the space issues at the elementary school.

“One hundred percent,” board member Gene Becker said.

Though discussion is preliminary, Weseman mentioned the idea of moving the elementary school into a new facility near Tonganoxie Middle School and possibly sharing the current elementary school as district offices with other agencies that might be interested or as a community center.

In other business, the board:

• Approved U.S. Bank to finance $218,000 at 1.87 percent over four years for technology equipment.

• Approved U.S. Bank to finance $370,000 at 2.28 percent interest for roof repairs at THS.

• Approved a postage machine lease with Pitney Bowes for $116 per month for 63 months.

• Approved a bid for $1,698.49 from Datamax for the district’s copier lease agreement, which is a savings of $600 per month.

• Approved the THS student handbook for 2012-13. Handbooks for TMS and TES are expected to be presented at the June meeting.

• Approved insurance renewal through WRM America for $165,939.

• Approved board policies A-M. All approvals were by a 6-0 vote, with Leana Leslie absent. She arrived later in the meeting.

Board takes walking tour

of high school

THS principal Jamie Carlisle led a tour of the high school, stopping at nearly 20 stations for various school organizations and classes to speak for a few minutes about their successes.

The board made stops to hear about:

• Community Service Day, which has become a tradition each spring in which THS students break up into groups and volunteer throughout Tonganoxie.

• Leadership program.

• Debate program. Instructor Steve Harrell spoke about THS debate, which is one of the most successful programs in the state. Harrell also announced that THS would be host to state debate for Class 4A and Class 3-2-1A next school year.

• ECO Team. The board learned about the Ecology team, which won its regional competition earlier this school year.

• Science Olympiad, another squad that has placed often.

• Tongie Ink. A shirt design class at THS continues to grow.

• House project. Industrial arts instructor Steve Hughes discussed the current house project in which his students are involved. For several years, the students have built a house that eventually is sold.

• FFA. Students discussed their activities and presented a video.

• Jazz band. The group played as board members entered the band room and as they exited. Instructor Charles Van Middlesworth shared news of recent musical accomplishments.

• Art show. Jessica Johnston showed artwork on display near the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center.

• Forensics. Harrell listed the group’s accomplishments through the years, including a recent runner-up finish.

• Plays and musicals.

• Vocal music. Students performed during the tour. Instructor Tom Gifford told of a judge at a recent music contest informing him Tonganoxie set the bar at the festival.

• SRS. Students Respecting Students is a group formed to help make THS an all-inclusive environment that helps students better respect each other.

• Family, Career and Consumer Leaders of America. Pam Lamb and her students shared the group’s various projects and accomplishments.

• Student Council Blood Drive. The Community Blood Drive has been a successful student council effort at THS.

• College classes. Kathy Walker shared what college offerings are available at the school.

• Senior Agreement. Cathy Cox discussed the program, which was introduced this school year. Seniors have the opportunity to only enroll in classes they need to meet graduation requirements. If they qualified, they had the rest of the school day to work at a job or utilize the time with other activities.

Resignations, contracts and non-renewals approved

The school board approved a list of resignations, certified and supplemental contracts, as well as two non-renewals at Monday’s meeting.

The board accepted resignations for: Heather Brown, Tonganoxie Middle School band and vocal music, TMS band, TMS vocal ensemble, TMS drama and THS assistant instrumental; Cathy Cox, THS class sponsor; Jeff Frank, THS assistant football coach; Lindsey Graf, THS assistant girls basketball coach and THS assistant volleyball coach; Ashley Loucks, first grade; Paul O’Neil, THS physical education; Brad Shelton, THS assistant football coach; Kim Swearngin, THS concessions; and Drew Thomas, THS language arts, assistant debate, yearbook and Future Business Leaders of America.

School board members also approved certified and supplemental contracts, including: Amanda Albert, kindergarten; Jess Leigh, seventh grade language arts; David Hillmon, TMS physical education; Melissa Miller, third grade; Rachelle Pauly, TMS math; Kristin Robbins, TES art; Amy Troyer, fourth grade; Preston Troyer, THS assistant football coach; Holly Wetmore, high school language arts; and Lisa Wynn, third grade.

The board opted not to renew contracts for Heidi Kate Andre, TES art teacher, or William Gibbs, sixth-eighth grade math teacher.


nspd2 6 years, 1 month ago

I agree that the elementary school is in need of some changes, but whether we need to build a new school completely is yet to be seen. I remember the last bond issue and thought at that time that it was to far reaching and encompassed to many changes. I am usually all for anything for the children of our community. However in these days of ever tightening budgets I am not sure that now is the time to ask the residents to come up with more money to support more improvements at the schools. If the economy was better and there were less unemployment maybe then it would be easy for me to agree to spending more money. However right now we are not in that situation. I will be watching and waiting to see how this all shakes out, before decide whether or not I can support this issue.


12345 6 years, 1 month ago

At least the scope of this bond issues seems more under control. I question the models they are using to project future enrollment. the district has been more or less constant since 2008 and dropped significantly two yours in a row.


Michael Vestal 6 years, 1 month ago

Without knowing the scope of the bond issue, I really can't say much about the Bond issue. I agree we need something done with the grade school. I would be in favor of a new school built the way in needs to be for the students, And for heaven sakes, Build it big enough to take care of students for years to come. I would love to see the old grade school made into a community center open to the public. Let the recreation commission run it and have activitys in the building. Well, I guess I did have a little to say about the situation. The last bond issue was dealing with way too much! PUT THE MONEY WHERE THE NEED IS, THE GRADE SCHOOL.


12345 6 years, 1 month ago

A community center just means that us taxpayers will have to maintain the old building while paying for a new one.

As ridiculously big as the new police station will be, there should be enough room for a police station AND a rec center there!


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