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Tonganoxie USD 464 board members spar over handbook errors

Officials have heated exchange about procedure

October 14, 2015

Grammatical errors in a school handbook led to a heated exchange during approval of the agenda at the Tonganoxie USD 464 school board meeting.

Members Kaija Baldock and Amelia Brusven raised concerns about several errors in the draft of the safety and crisis prevention handbook.

The discussion then moved to Brusven and board president Dan Hopkins arguing about the changes.

Hopkins contended that he looked over the handbook for not content and not for grammar.

Brusven contended that part of reviewing the handbook should be to look at errors.

“Do you need a definition of ‘content?’” Hopkins said to Brusven.

Hopkins then said told Brusven that she was “ambushing the administration.”

Brusven fired back.

“You can think whatever you want,” Brusven said. “I think that’s not a good way to lead the district.”

She said it’s an issue that’s “come in front of us two or three times,” but Hopkins said they’re concerns that could be brought to Superintendent Lyn Rantz and district staff upon reviewing the information.

“Because we don’t know about the problem when you ambush us,” Hopkins said.

Agenda’s for board meetings, which are the second Monday of each month, are sent out the Thursday before a meeting.

The board previously asked for an English teacher in the district to proofread the handbook after previous issues Brusven and Baldock noted with spelling errors in documents.

Rantz said she had an English teacher review the handbook, per the board’s previous direction.

The board voted, 4-3, to approve the agenda as it was, with Brusven, Baldock and Bryan Kemp voting against.

Food-help program revamped

Tonganoxie Elementary School counselor Katie Welsh shared with the board this year’s Backpack Buddies program.

The longtime program was revamped for this school year.

Tonganoxie schools previously accepted food items and monetary donations that were then discreetly placed in the backpacks of children in need.

Starting this year, the school has opted to only take monetary donations and no longer store food at the school.

The food is received through Second Harvest Community Food Bank in partnership with West Haven Baptist Church. The church stores the food and also given monetary help to the cause. It takes about $150 to sponsor one child during a school year.

Walsh handed out awards of appreciation to the Rev. Mike Bronson, along with TES and Tonganoxie Middle School students who have helped the cause. TMS students, for instance, had a dance as a fundraiser for the cause.

Walsh said 38 percent of children in Tonganoxie USD 464 qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Those children are at risk for missing meals on the weekends, she said.

Secretary to retire next month

The school board approved resignations and work agreements at Monday’s school board meeting. The retirement of a Tonganoxie Elementary School secretary also was in the personnel recommendations.

Deborah Becker will retire Nov. 27 from TES. Susan Donnelly, a TES general education para-educator will resign from her current position Nov. 2 and replace Becker in the front office.

Other resignations approved at the meeting were Jennifer Fatherly as TES general education para-educator, effective immediately; Brenda Lynch, TES special education para-educator, filling a custodian position; and Tracy Thomas, Tonganoxie Middle School dishwasher.

Work agreements approved were Robert Lewis, TES evening custodian (replacing Candace Haislip); Erin Stevens, TES special education para-educator (replacing April Seba, who filled a new special education para-educator position); Samantha Schnittger, TMS Science Olympiad sponsor (replacing Stacy Willis); Becky Walters, TES special education para-educator (filling new position); April Seba (filled new special education para-educator position. Student then left district, so position is no longer necessary. She replaces Brenda Lynch); Debra McCracken, TMS kitchen manager (replacing Diana Wenger); Brigit Little, TES kitchen manager (replacing Donna Wilson); and Crystal Weaver, TES dishwasher (replacing Ashley Moran, who filled the new dishwasher position).

Originally published at: http://www.tonganoxiemirror.com/news/2015/oct/14/tonganoxie-usd-464-board-members-spar-over-handboo/