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USD 457 finalizes 2010-11 budget

Published 8/10/2010 in Local News

By DEREK THOMPSON

dthompson@gctelegram.com

Garden City USD 457 board members voted to finalize the 2010-11 district budget at Monday night's school board meeting, following no opposition from the public.

The school's budget will increase 3.75 mills from last year, raising the budget to $47.12 million, $17,653 higher than last year's budget. The mill levy increase will bring the district's budget to 48.95 mills.

The budget passed by a vote of 6-1, with Jeff Crist as the opposing vote.

"I have been consistent in the 11 years that I have been on the board in opposition to raising the local option budget because it's a property tax," Crist said in a separate interview Monday.

Board member Gloria Hopkins was glad to see the budget pass after months of deliberation.

"It feels good. It feels like it's part of our purpose as the board of education," Hopkins said in a separate interview. "Thank goodness Kathleen Whitley is as good as she is with helping us manage our money and our funds; the due diligence she has applied to our public funds is to be celebrated."

Under the 2010-11 budget, the estimated property tax on a $100,000 home would be $562.93.

The board also voted 6-1 to approve the proposed business plan and board goals for the 2010-11 school year, with Jean Clifford voting against the motion. Clifford said she felt the board should reconsider grade thresholds at elementary and middle schools before moving forward with the 2010-11 goals.

The four overall goals for the board include:

  • continue to raise academic standards for all students
  • provide effective management of district resources
  • continue to refine processes to improve communication
  • provide a support structure that will maximize learning in a safe, orderly and healthy environment.

As part of the second overall goal, the board is seeking to develop a plan to realign kindergarten through eighth-grade attendance center boundaries for the 2012-13 school year.

In November 2008, voters approved a $97.5 million facilities upgrade that includes the construction of a new high school. As part of the plan, Garfield Elementary School will become an early childhood center, Abe Hubert Middle School will be converted into an elementary school, the current Garden City High School building will be converted into a middle school and New Outlook Academy will move into J.D. Adams Hall, which sits adjacent to the current high school.

By moving an elementary school into the larger Abe Hubert Middle School, the elementary school will accommodate twice as many students, Superintendent Rick Atha has said, and boundaries will need to be redrawn to better serve families.

The board heard a presentation from Robert Schwarz, owner of RSP and Associates, an Overland Park-based demographics analysis firm.

The board took no action following the presentation, as it is in preliminary planning stages of rezoning the realignment boundaries.

In other business, the board:

• Heard a curriculum report from Rick Banner and Raul Silva, instructors at the Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

• Heard a wellness policy update from Tracy Johnson, director of nutrition services. Included in the update was a revision to the vending machine guidelines at the high school. According to Johnson, vending machines can serve carbonated beverages, but only an hour after the lunch period, and the vending machine cannot contain more than 50 percent carbonated beverages. The revision brings the high school into the "advanced" state guideline, Johnson said. Next year, the district will adopt the "exemplary" level, and there will be no carbonated drinks in any vending machines that are accessed by students, Johnson said.

• Accepted a low bid of $36,566.28 from Ward's Garden Center for an irrigation system and sod at the Early Childhood Center.

• Accepted a low bid of $31,178 from Yorktown, Va.-based Cybernetics for updates to the backup tape library technology at the Educational Support Center.

• Appointed Shelby Hanneman as systems operator at Charles O. Stones Intermediate Center.

• Appointed Allison Beckwith as special education para at Florence Wilson Elementary School.

• Appointed Kinlee Roth as .50 Title 1 interventionist at Georgia Matthews Elementary School.

• Accepted the resignation of Melva Cottrell, crossing guard at Florence Wilson Elementary School.

• Accepted the resignation of Laurie Howland, special education speech para at Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center.

• Accepted the resignation of Annalisa Bernal, special education para at Victor Ornelas Elementary School.

• Accepted the resignation of Leticia Padilla, bilingual para at Bernadine Sitts Intermediate Center.

• Accepted the resignation of Hector Rivera, crossing guard at Buffalo Jones Elementary School.

• Accepted the transfer of Andra Molina, special education para, to GCHS.

• Accepted the transfer of Leslie Murillo, special education para, to Abe Hubert Middle School.

• Accepted the transfer of Dorothy Hill, hearing impaired para, to Garfield Early Childhood Center.

• Accepted the transfer of Vanessa Smith, hearing impaired para, to Florence Wilson Elementary School.

• Accepted the transfer of Darcy Pendry, first-grade teacher, to Alta Brown Elementary School.

The next board of education meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Educational Support Center, 1205 Fleming St.

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