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USD 410 commits to additional playground funding

News editor

Renovations to the Hillsboro Elementary School playground will move forward this summer, even if the district has to put more money toward the project, USD 410 members decided Monday.

The board approved bids of $178,630 for construction of the north playground. About $120,000 has been raised for the project, $55,000 of which came from district capital outlay funds.

“This playground needs done,” Superintendent Steve Noble said. “We need to have a plan for a construction crew to come in there as soon as kids are out of there.”

The original funding plan included receiving a $50,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. While department officials were initially encouraging that the grant would be funded, the application has languished as the Kansas legislature wrangles over how to close a projected budget deficit.

“We can’t wait forever on this grant,” Noble said. “I’m asking for approval knowing that if we get the grant it will fund this. If we don’t get the grant, we’re probably looking in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $40,000 of additional board capital outlay, depending on any additional fundraising dollars to come in, to finish this project.”

“We have to assume that the rest will come out of capital outlay,” board member Rod Koons said.

The board approved $18,900 for Dalke Construction to demolish the north playground and prepare the site for installation of new equipment. Landscape Structures will provide and install new equipment and a resilient synthetic playground surface at a cost of $158,730.

The board was not so quick to approve the expense of career and technical education funds for club sponsors to attend national competitions for which their students have qualified.

The discussion was sparked by an upcoming Technology Student Association conference in Dallas for which several students have qualified. Noble estimated it would cost $1,540 for a sponsor’s expenses, and said past practice has been for clubs to raise trip funds to cover both student and sponsor costs.

Paying the sponsor’s expenses from district money would free club-generated money entirely for students, which would reduce the club’s overall fundraising needs, Noble said. It would also serve as recognition of the sponsor’s contribution to student achievement.

“I guess the area that would be a concern would be that by starting that precedent, what’s considered an earned trip?” Koons said. “Is that easily defined? These events the band and choir have gone to in the past, one could say they’ve qualified for that.”

Noble said the intent was to fund advisers of school-sponsored clubs that have set criteria to qualify for national competition.

“Right now our fine arts programs do not have qualifying standards for national competitions,” Noble said, likening past trips to Branson, Missouri, Colorado Springs, and Kansas City, Missouri to field trips.

After discussion of a variety of scenarios, board members voted to approved the Dallas trip, but put off a decision whether to pay for the sponsor on this and future trips.

“We’ll come up with a modified proposal that has some controls on it,” Noble said.

In other business:

  • Parents as Teachers received district support for another year, after a report on the program’s activities by Lori Soo Hoo. The district’s cost will be $9,129 next year, an increase of $1,726. Soo Hoo attributed the increase to a loss of grant funding.
  • Resignations from Max Heinrichs, HHS/HMS principal, and Greg Brown, assistant principal and district activities director, were accepted. Robert Rempel was hired for the assistant position. Interviews for principal will be April 27-28, and will be conducted by teams of school and board personnel, students, and parents.

Last modified April 15, 2015

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