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In addition to electing a new member, approving capital improvement expenditures, and hearing a proposal for a high-school level organization, all three reports located elsewhere in this issue, the Prairie View Unified School District board of education increased substitute teacher pay at its monthly meeting Sept. 12.

The 5-0 vote, with Rita Boydston abstaining, increased full-day license-level substitute compensation from $95 to $130 and half-day from $50 to $60. A 6-0 vote raises daily long-term substitute pay after more than 10 days in the same role from $150 to $160.

District administrators noted difficulties in getting teaching substitutes so far this school year. Rex Bollinger, Ed.D., district superintendent, said the $95 was “behind” other districts, with Spring Hill paying $140 daily.

Board members suggested $120 per day, but Brian Uphoff, board member, argued the figure was “not high enough to compete” and offered the $130/$60 motion that was seconded by Brad Heide.

Bollinger also presented substitute figures for classified positions but said he would streamline a proposal and “bring back to you in the future.”

Among numerous personnel moves approved last week will be three potential substitute teachers who will benefit from the increase.

After three executive sessions for non-elected personnel totaling 20 minutes, the board approved hiring Tracy Cook as an immediate substitute and okayed Bryan Butler and Gavin Cullor pending their licensures.

Other hirings are Carrie Kana and Carolyne Sramek as bus drivers, Kayla Ritch as a bus aide, Krystal Young as a La Cygne Elementary custodian, Eric Ellett as high school Student Council adviser, Tracy Konda as high school Scholars’ Bowl coach, and Brianna Haupt as head middle school girls’ basketball coach.

Board action also included the hiring of Bridgett Elam as a food service cook effective Sept. 1 and her termination effective Sept. 8. Resignations were Jayla Harvey as a food service cook and Angie Chambers as middle school boys’ basketball coach.

Transfer actions are Katie Martin and Kitana Parscale from bus aides to drivers, Nichole Hale from La Cygne Elementary paraprofessional to aide, Shayla Meyer from Parker Elementary paraprofessional to La Cygne aide, and Nina Brenneman from La Cygne custodian to Prairie View High.

During the student service report, in answer to Boydston, Director Beth Sandness said that every potential student “is pretty much enrolled.” Information before the board showed the district with 914 students, of which 193 are under special education individual education plans.

“Our September 20 count (the date to determine state funding allocation) is about the same as last year,” she said. “It’s not a big hit nor a big jump.”

Wade Teagarden, board president, noted that 45 percent of district students are on free and reduced lunches, which he estimated as “low.”

Sandness, also the district’s food service director, said the percentage is really not much different than before the pandemic, but she said some parents may start seeing a food service debt with a price structure re-established this year after 2 1/4 years of no-cost to families to feed their children at school.

“If that’s the case,” said Sandness, “I’d encourage them to fill out forms and see if you can get help. There is no cap on how many in a district can be served through free and reduced meals.”

In other business before the board:

--The board approved annual dues of $12,719 to the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and $2,300 for their legal assistance.

--Bobby Johnson, district grounds and maintenance coordinator, alerted the board to a possible starting point for a spring request from Tiffany Ellett, La Cygne Elementary principal, for an at-risk pre-school program room that may require taking out a wall, all at a $136,000 estimate. Before that, however, he indicated architect involvement, engineering consultations with Nabholz Construction, Lenexa, and sign-off by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

--Under consent agenda financial statements, Bollinger pointed out two portable sheds listed as surplus items “to get off the property.” Johnson estimated the sheds’ areas as 10-by-15 feet and 12-by-24 feet.

--Also under consent agenda financial, Bollinger clarified Heide’s question concerning handwritten checks of $10,918 to Truly Insurance, La Cygne, for a cyber policy by saying it is an annual premium for cybersecurity and that it had actually decreased by $3,000 this year.

--The board approved the removal of Mark Meek’s name from bank cards. Meek is the former middle school principal who accepted a similar role at Spring Hill.

--With Teagarden asking if the Buffalo Attendance Matters incentive program is “having some fun,” Sandness reported that “posters are going up around the towns,” and early-week winners were included on the public board agenda report.

--Walter Vandeventer, middle school social studies teacher and wrestling program director, reported that participating Prairie View organizations had earned around $7,000 helping with merchandise sales at Kansas Speedway racing events at Kansas City Sept. 10-11.

--In answer to Uphoff’s question about an advanced ninth-grade English/language arts curriculum, Joseph Hornback, Ed.D., district superintendent, responded, “We didn’t,” and said he would check.

--Uphoff and Brad Stainbrook volunteered to be the board’s committee to go over new KASB policy recommendations prior to their full presentation to the board.


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