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Prairie View Unified School District 362’s board of education finished the approval of school year 2023-24 student handbooks at their May 8 monthly meeting. 

After approving the middle school’s at their April meeting, the board approved those for both La Cygne and Parker Elementary attendance centers unanimously and for Prairie View High on a 6-1 vote, with Russell Pope dissenting.

Before the votes, Brian Uphoff, board member, asked about supply list costs, saying he had always kept his below $30. Andrea Richardson, middle school principal, said she would do a discount-store check, and Tiffany Ellett, La Cygne Elementary principal, said their school keeps supplies on hand, noting contributions made by parents, local churches, and the La Cygne public library.

Rex Bollinger, Ed.D., district superintendent, said that employee/staff handbook approval would occur during the board’s regular 7 p.m. monthly meeting June 12.

The board also approved 2023-24 early December graduation for Bradley Barnhart, Jessica Dumcum, Zoe Parker and Tristan Young. Joseph Hornback, Ed.D., high school principal and district curriculum director, said the three steps for their potential early graduation were to meet with school counselor Stephanie Nichols to form a graduation plan, then next meeting with parents before coming before the school board.

For this year’s high school commencement at 2 p.m. Sunday in the high school gymnasium, Bollinger ascertained the attendance of board members Richard Gravelle, Brian Lueker, Pope and Uphoff.

On another action, following a seven-minute executive session for student confidentiality, the board approved the in-district transfer of two elementary-level students from Parker to La Cygne.

During curriculum and instruction reports, Wade Teagarden, board president, asked about this month’s FastBridge national normed testing. Beth Sandness, student services director, said a single reading and mathematics test is being given and said preliminary results are “showing good growth in reading.”

She reported a change by the State Board of Education in their dyslexic screening guidelines are that a high school student who scores at or above the benchmark in FastBridge reading is exempt from that test the remainder of their high school years.

“High school teachers are thrilled,” Sandness said.

During Sandness’ report, Uphoff asked about her report’s chronic absentee numbers this year of 42 at the high school, 14 at the middle school, 21 at La Cygne Elementary, and 10 at Parker Elementary.

Sandness said some have received letters “letting them know we’re watching attendance, especially if they’re out of district.” 

Others are the result of “major health concerns,” she said. “We know them.”

During curriculum report, Brad Heide, board member, asked Hornback about the district’s current eight-member curriculum council membership. Hornback anticipates the membership for next school year “will stay somewhat stationary.”

During principals’ reports, Pope asked if a document of cost quotes presented by Mark Hough, secondary level activities director and assistant high school principal, was to be acted on at the meeting.

Bollinger said the quotes are for now just for information “to give you an idea of what things are going to cost.”

During consent agenda/financial statements, Pope asked if a surplus list from the district’s bus barn storage “warehouse” is the result of a “natural purge.”

Bollinger said the storage “shed is getting full,” and the surplus approval would allow for some items to be sent to auction, some to be sent to recycling, and some to be discarded as landfill trash. 


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