• Last modified 470 days ago (March 9, 2023)


Centre board studies
state open meetings law

Staff writer

An attorney with Kansas Association of School Boards met with Centre board members Monday to review rules pertaining to the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

The board was cited earlier for violating the act by not being more specific about subjects of executive sessions.

As reported last week, Superintendent Larry Geist pledged to make sure the board was in compliance in the future. He invited Luke Sobba, state school boards attorney, to address the board.

“We just want to make sure you can do things right in the future.” Sobba said. “Openness is important,” he said.

He explained how to make a motion for an executive session when it regards district employees or other non-elected personnel. The motion must state that the board will discuss employee performance, employee contract, or other specific things not just that involved personnel matters. Only that subject can be discussed.

He also said that when board members were together outside of a meeting, they should not discuss board business.

“We’re a small district,” Tony Hett said. “It happens all the time that we are together.”

“Just don’t discuss board business,” Sobba said.

He advised they try not to sit together in public.

Sobba listed other things that can be discussed in executive session, such as student matters, employer/employee negotiations, and purchase of property.

If a member of the public wants to talk to the board about a non-elected person, the board can invite the individual into an executive session, he said.

Special meetings can be called by the president of the board or three members. A quorum is required, and no amendments can be made after notice has been given. Only what’s listed on the agenda can be discussed.

In other business Monday, Becky Suderman, Parents as Teachers director for Marion County, gave a report. She said five families and five children were being served in the Centre school district, and seven families were on a waiting list. PAT has three teachers and is looking for another so more families can be served, she said.

Parents as Teachers provides personal visits, group activities, screenings, and resources such as a diaper bank and transportation for child wellness checks.

“We help parents to be teachers,” Suderman said.

The board spent almost an hour in a virtual interactive session with Kansas Online Learning Program director Vickie Jirak and two women from a company that provides advertising. The advertisers asked for $210,000 in advertising for the next school year.

Geist said it was too much, but Hett said he knew how much costs had risen. He made a motion to give KOLP $210,000 for advertising, but it was defeated 3-4. The board then unanimously approved providing $175,000, an amount Jirak had previously requested.

This year’s KOLP advertising budget is $160,000.

The board also discussed the delay in planned building project. Engineering and design are complete, but Geist said the district was waiting on approval of a federal emergency management grant at the end of April or in May. Bids would be let three weeks after approval.

Adriane Richard said people were becoming impatient for a day care facility to be available. She asked whether it would be possible to purchase a trailer to be used until the project was completed.

Geist thanked her for the suggestion and said he would look into it.

After an executive session, the board hired Dawson Raymer as social studies teacher and Mary Havel as English teacher for the next school year.

They accepted the resignation of English teacher Sherri Hudson, effective at the end of this school year.

Last modified March 9, 2023