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Unified School District 362 board of education members heard and accepted its audit report for the 2021-22 fiscal year at its monthly meeting Feb. 13.

Sean Gordon, auditor for GordonCPA, Lawrence, said the district would receive an unmodified opinion, the “highest and cleanest opinion,” on its regular financial health, as well as on a separate audit required when spending $75,000 or more of federal funds, in this case for a COVID-19-related nutrition grant.

“This reflects very well on the financial and internal controls of the district,” said Gordon in voicing his appreciation for the work of Kylee Capp, district business manager and board clerk.

The board voted 6-0 to accept the report, with Russell Pope participating via phone and Richard Gravelle not present.

During the citizen’s open forum, Jenna Thompson, a Prairie View High senior, read a prepared statement asking for expansion of seniors in all activities to be recognized during seasonal athletic senior nights. 

She cited administrative recognition as a way to improve “lack of student involvement and lack of participation.” She said that rallies for students earning state participation in music and Scholars’ Bowl activities occurred after sponsors “pushed for them. Past traditions should not serve as a condition now.”

During the meeting, board members heard preschool data presented by Tiffany Ellett, La Cygne Elementary principal. 

She reported that the majority of 4-year-old preschoolers are kindergarten-ready, citing data on literacy, mathematics, penmanship, and writing alphabet letters.

“Most are above Kansas standards,” she said.

On a related note, Beth Sandness, student services director, said that the state of Kansas next year will fund 3-year-old at-risk preschoolers “if we have space.”

During her report, Sandness noted that the high school’s National Honor Society induction will occur at 6 p.m. March 6 in the Performing Arts Center, an hour earlier than the 7 p.m. monthly board meeting moved up a week to avoid conflicting with spring break.

Sandness also previewed this past Monday’s in-service, headlined by Gerry Brooks, whom she characterized as a “YouTube Facebook star” whose focus is on building positive school cultures. She said all district staff and those from other school districts had been invited.

During the curriculum report, Brad Heide, board member, questioned a high school course of woodworking principles replacing the vocational construction design (house building) class.

Joseph Hornback, Ed.D., high school principal and district curriculum director, said the second house during the five-year program will be finished this school year.

He said a combination of “no other lot and changing teachers” led to the decision. David Reynolds is retiring, said Hornback, and the woodworking principles was added to fill Scott Bauer’s schedule for next year.

Questioned by Brian Uphoff, board member, about what equipment Bauer’s classes might need, Hornback said the first step will be to “find out what are the projects and then work backward to see what equipment we need.” Mentioned by Hornback as a future project idea, “maybe a tiny home.”

Other changes for high school courses as noted by Hornback will be a forensic science course expanding from a semester to full year to comply with new state career technical education pathway requirements, along with possible introductory entry-level history courses earning concurrent credit from Fort Scott Community College with enrollment of at least five students.

In other business, the board met for five minutes in executive session concerning student confidentiality, with no follow-up public action. 


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