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Opening the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting, members of USD 344 held yearly board nominations with Cindy Inman becoming the new President, taking over for Tanner Ogden. Jay Allen was nominated vice-president and Ogden as Media Liaison.

Bills were approved in the amount of $205,506.34.

Elementary Principal Nathan Meik introduced Boy Scout Troop 120 and said they were working on their Citizenship in Community merit badge and three of the four scouts should have their Eagle Scout badges by September.

Meik went on to state that the district took six students to the spelling bee and two of the six were in the third grade; four students from PES ended up in the top seven spellers with one of the students from the third grade. Top two of the three that placed were from Pleasanton, including Aiden Patrick and Benson Meik who was the champion. He will represent the district in the state spelling bee in Wichita Mar. 25.

Meik said Read Across America is scheduled Feb. 27 through Mar. 3 for pre-school through sixth grade. He asked for volunteers from the board to read to students.

High School Principal Sarah Conley discussed an idea they had on how to make February more special. With that they decorated, made special lunches, wrote personal letters to teachers and students nominated teachers for awards.

Part of the student nominations included, Most Likely To…give homework over the weekend – Mr. (Jesse) Secrest; to be called mom (accidentally) by a student – Mrs. Wendy Conley, and several others.

Superintendent Travis Laver informed the board that the former KU Honors Banquet, now Scholars Banquet is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m.

Kendall Gammon, a former American football long snapper and center who played for three teams in the National Football League, will speak to students Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 12:15 and 1 p.m. In 2004, Gammon was the first pure long snapper to be selected for the Pro Bowl. Gammon served as the analyst for the Kansas City Chiefs radio broadcasts until 2019.

Laver discussed a House Bill 2224 that would require schools to have 190 hours of student contact days; USD 344 currently has 170 days, 20 days short. He said the state is not adding any money to the idea making school districts come up with the additional cost.

The board discussed that Laver said he compared USD 344 to other districts using the longer hours and there was no difference in test results.

Laver commented that the USD 344 lunchroom will be used by Bike Across Kansas participants June 17 at the end stage of the 400-plus mile ride that starts on the Colorado border. He said organizers make a point of purchasing supplies locally and looks forward to the 600 riders that usually join the ride.

The board discussed closing the school Wednesday, Feb. 15 so staff and students could go to the Kansas City Chiefs championship parade in downtown Kansas City. Board member Jay Allen suggested a poll of staff and the majority wins.

The board approved the 2023-2024 district calendar.

Executive session was held including newly hired superintendent Don Epps. The 10-minute session was extended for 10 minutes with action taken afterwards. 

- The board accepted the resignation of Jaxson Eddy Asst. HS football coach and JH Asst. Basketball coach.

- Hired Kasen McKee and Christy Cutshaw as open gym supervisors.

- Accepted the resignation from Kent Fletcher Asst. HS basketball effective Friday.

-  Accepted the resignation from Gay Harrington as head cheer coach at the end of the season.

- Accepted the resignation of Mike Holsman from Special Education rider.

- Hired Kasen McKee to finish out the season as HS Asst. Basketball coach.

- Accepted the resignation from Sydney Dent from JH Track. 

Board member Tanner Ogden brought forward an idea to create an in-school childcare for staff and students. (See separate story in this edition)


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