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Members of the Pleasanton USD-344 school board met on Monday, August 8, for their regular monthly meeting.

Christine Teagarden of Truly Insurance provided a brief presentation to the board concerning insurance for the district. The insurance company is called EMC Insurance, and provides coverage for the vast majority of the school districts within the state of Kansas. Teagarden provided information and summaries on the various types of insurance the district uses, and the cost of each. Following a brief discussion, the board voted and approved EMC Insurance as their insurance provider.

Elementary principal Nathan Meik presented his monthly report to the school board. He noted that, while basic reading skills among the students has shown significant growth, this growth was not reflected on state assessments. He shared that adjustments have been made to the curriculum that will focus more on state standards. Meik shared that Kindergarten, first and second grade teachers have been receiving training on the new curriculum material.

Meik also welcomed new staff members to the elementary. These individuals are: Xoe Cauthers, fifth grade teacher; Emmah Laver, fourth grade teacher; Darcy Workman, third grade teacher; Niki Schoor, kindergarten; Tanner Edwards, PE teacher; and Connie Boyles will be their learning specialist for the special education department until a permanent replacement can be found. He noted new paraeducators were: Jackie Hill, Heather Atherton, Lizz Johnston, and Lindsey Conn.

High school principal Sarah Conley provided her monthly report to the board. She shared that she had been meeting with students and parents over scheduling with the STARS program. She also noted that she will be providing a weekly newsletter sent out through email and social media, to increase communication to parents and students.

Conley shared with the board new hires, who are Bill Roudybush, high school math; Christy Cutshaw, high school English; and John Heidrick, junior high history. Conley noted they still needed to find a teacher for the music program, a high school history teacher, and a junior high paraprofessional.

Conley included a list of items to be covered in an upcoming meeting with the new teachers. This includes an introduction to district departments and procedures; building productive classroom environment; using Power School; elementary math curriculum; handbook review; and negotiated agreement review. General professional development for all teachers will include PBIS rewards; IMPACT referrals; school-wide discipline system; and handbook updates.

Following the principals’ reports, superintendent Travis Laver updated the board on the upcoming STARS open house and ribbon cutting. This will be held on Friday, August 12 at 10 am. Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education; Dale Dennis, Deputy Commissioner of Education, Kansas State Department of Education; and Jim Porter, Kansas State Board of Education for District 9. Laver also shared that superintendents from Jayhawk-Linn, Prairie View, and other districts within the co-op will be present, as well board members from Jayhawk-Linn and Prairie View. Classes for the STARS program will begin on Monday, August 15, with an enrollment of approximately 50 students.

School board members reviewed the budget during the meeting. Laver noted that the district is staying below the revenue neutral rate. The board voted and approved the budget for 2023 as presented.

Laver then provided the board options for policy updates concerning resignation procedures. After discussion, it was agreed to table further action until the next regular meeting.

Discussion was held by the board concerning a proposed National Honor Society project. The NHS would like to paint quotes and inspirational phrases around the building to build up positivity. Laver shared he would rather they not paint on the walls; however, they could use bulletin boards, frames, or other non-permanent materials. The board voted and approved the project, on the condition that anything put up was not permanent.

The board also approved the following: meeting agenda; minutes of the previous meeting; payment of monthly bills; the Hiland Milk bid of 43 cents per milk carton and 23 cents per juice; providing a retention bonus to all employees who are returning as either half time or full time. Co-op employees will be receiving a retention bonus from the co-0p; the hiring of Tammy Herring as special education driver/rider; resignation of Coby McKee as assistant basketball coach; and accepted the recommendation to allow a specific student for early graduation, December 2022.


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