By TIM HORAN
A preliminary capital outlay expenditure totaling $825,323 was previewed by the Abilene USD 435 Board of Education at its regular meeting Monday. However, only a few of the items are set in stone as the board will review expenditures again at the next meeting in April.
The highest item on the list was $132,528 for the technology lease which is constant every year, said Superintendent Denise Guy.
Another $50,000 falls under “other technology.”
“Other technology expenses of $50,000 is for things like computers for the journalism students where the iPad cannot be used,” Guy said. “This year the money would go for teacher laptops.
“There is a mail server there and a wireless upgrade,” she added. “We aren’t getting a great connection yet and this would help add some coverage for the high school and middle school.”
As the school district beefs up security, a key card system for the Support Services building and the District Office is on the list.
“One of the security items we talked about at the high school was having security cameras at each one of the doors and out at the tech building,” Guy said. “The tech building, for security sake, we have some west exterior doors in dire need of replacement and the key card system. We need to replace the garage doors at the back of the tech building.
“I feel pretty comfortable with the first list but the bottom list I would like to wait and see where we are at financially before moving forward,” she said. The first list was $688,727. The bottom part of the list was $136,596.
She said some of the items are a direct correlation with the Train study and are items which can help with efficiency in the buildings.
“One of them is windows and doors at Kennedy,” she said. “If you remember the bond issue previously, we replaced McKinley and Garfield windows. We did not replace Kennedy’s. We could do it all at once or we could break it down and just do windows or just do the doors and do it in two years.
“One of the things Train came up with was the bathroom remodel; put different toilets and sinks in for better water conservation,” Guy said. “We could do a nice facelift. We could do a men’s and women’s bathroom each year and put that on a rotation basis. Over a six or seven year period of time, we could redo all of our bathrooms so they are more efficient and given an update.
“We counted all of the carpets in the district and we found if we could replace nine carpets a year we’d have a nice 15-year cycle,” she added.
“This will be your first look (at the capital outlay list) and I’d like to come back next month with a more refined detail,” she said.
In a report, Guy presented the board members with the “Ed Weekly Code of Conduct Study.”
She told board members not to panic in reading that Kansas ranks 37th in the nation in achievement.
“There is so much more than achievement in this report,” she said.
The study by Ed Weekly looks at six areas: chance for success in students; transitions and alignment; school finance analysis; K-12 achievement; standards, assessment and accountability; and the teaching profession.
“There are multiple pieces of data that fit each one of those six areas,” she said.
She said there is a section that states Kansas ranks fourth in achievement in fourth-grade math, 11th in eighth-grade math, 12th in fourth-grade reading and 17th in eighth-grade reading.
“Achievement itself, the 37th in the nation, doesn’t really equate,” she said. “There are a lot of other things involved in this.”
She said one of the things that brings the Kansas score down is that the Kansas assessments only have multiple-choice questions.
“The teaching profession is ranked quite low,” Guy said. “Some of the things in there are teacher pay parity; teacher salaries at least equal to comparable occupations. We are low in that area. They also talk about a statewide induction program for new teachers, statewide mentor program for new teachers, reduced work load for all first year teachers. Those are all things we don’t have in place and those are things that count against us in this. There are some states that have all of those things in place,” Guy said.
“One of the good things is the chance for success area,” she added. “As a state, we outrank the United States. Our students have a greater chance of success because our parents are employed and the family income is decent and our assessment scores in reading and math give our kids a better chance of success.”
She said another area that lowers the score is the post high school alignment from high school to college.
“There are a lot of things that are not aligned there yet,” she said. “I know the Board of Regents and the state department are working on some of those things. That is one of the reasons we have the college to career standards: so we are better aligned to the standards for the students that are going to college.
“When you read the headlines that Kansas ranks 37th in the state in achievement, that’s not quite accurate,” Guy said. “The purpose of the study is to help us with education in Kansas to improve. There are definitely things we can improve on and there are things in this district that we can improve on.”
In other action the board:
* approved the following personnel: Chris Cooper, assistant superintendant; Christy Whitehair, fourth grade teacher; Patsy Barlow, substitute cook; Danny Robinson, AMS assistant track coach; John Vecchio, full time baseball coach from part time; and Stephen Tuzenew, AHS night custodian;
* heard a report from high school teacher Debbie Farr and student Nicole Knox on the recent trip to Oklahoma City for the national meeting of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Knox and fellow student Allison Badding received a silver medal in a competition. The students had to convert a common recipe into one that was gluten free.
* the board approved dropping two courses, World Music and Study Skills taught by Danette Whiteley and adding two new courses, Beginning Piano and Beginning Guitar which will be taught by Whiteley. The board unanimously approved adding the courses but didn’t fund them;
* set the fee for driver’s education at $210, the same as last season;
* went into executive session to discuss non-election personnel for two hours.
The following is the USD
435 Capital Outlay
Technology: technology lease, $132,528; other technology, $50,000; copy machine, $20,000; mail server, $6,000; wireless upgrade adding additional arrays for middle school, high school and Garfield coverage, $44,939.
Support Services and District Office: key card system and replacing two back doors, $13,450.
All buildings: building capital outlay, $80,000.
Abilene High School: 15 additional security cameras and server (doors, tech building, parking lot, $30,000; piano lab & guitar lab, $12,810; AHS gym floor, $95,000; replacing four west exterior doors to the tech building, $8,000; key card system for tech building, $13,925; replacing garage doors on tech building, $7,000.
Abilene Middle School: SMT lab carpet, $5000; special education remodel, $3,000.
McKinley: carpet six rooms, $15,000; walk-in freezer, $15,000.
Kennedy: install automatic closing mechanisms on second set of entry doors in front, $3,700; tile hallway (front and special education) $5,783; dishwasher, $17,592.
Transportation: bus, $85,000; van $25,000.
Other: Kennedy windows ($59,220) or doors ($21,085), $80,305; bathroom remodel at McKinley $29,354; resurface blacktop (crack seal) at Garfield, $10,000; fix McKinley driveway,$7,000; video for board office, $7,014, audio ($6,498 for BOE member speakers), $2,923.