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USD 410 lays off 3 teachers

One rehired to
teach part-time

Staff writer

At the same meeting Monday in which three retiring teachers were recognized, USD 410 Board of Education voted to lay off three teachers because of school funding cuts and declining enrollment.

Hillsboro Elementary School physical education teacher Doug Dick, Hillsboro Middle School English and yearbook teacher Michele Melton, and HMS sixth-grade math teacher Gita Noble were laid off.

Dick has taught in the district since 2005. Later in the meeting, the board approved a half-time contract for him to continue teaching at HES.

Melton has taught in the district since 1996. Noble started with the district in fall 2010. The district must notify the teachers of the decision in writing by May 20.

Earlier in the meeting, the board recognized retiring teachers. HES music teacher Shirley Baltzer, kindergarten teacher Charlene Driggers, and high school social science teacher Jim Robb accepted early retirement incentives approved in March.

A list of proposed budget cuts called for a reduction in certified teaching staff of the equivalent of 5.8 full-time teachers. The expected savings from that cut is $247,926, nearly half of the $500,000 the district plans to cut in operating costs. With the retirements and layoffs, the district has reached that level of staff reduction.

The district also approved a personnel change in the district technology director position. Jason Henry resigned from the position, and the board approved hiring Brad Just.

The layoffs and new contracts were approved without comment after a 32-minute closed session.

Student insurance reduced

The board voted to increase the minimum threshold of the district’s student accident insurance.

Previously the insurance covered school-related accidents above $3,500. The new threshold will be $25,000, matching the athlete accident insurance provided through the district’s membership in Kansas High School Activities Association.

The change will save the district about $3,000 next academic year. Superintendent Steve Noble said parents will still be able to purchase coverage below that threshold.

The accident insurance is separate from the district’s liability insurance, which covers injuries caused by negligence.

Fewer computers to be purchased than planned

Twotrees Technologies of Wichita will sell the district 62 desktop computers, 12 laptop computers, and 1 mini-laptop computer for $58,469, including warranties, provided the board approves the purchase at a special meeting noon Thursday.

The district originally budgeted about $120,000 for computer replacement, but administrators found ways to reduce the number of computers to be purchased.

Board member Mark Rooker said he wanted to know what would be done with the computers to be replaced. He said he wants them to be put to some use.

Noble said he was certain there was a plan for the old computers, but didn’t know what it was. The board tabled the decision until Thursday.

In other business:

  • There was one good piece of financial news — there will be no increase in health insurance premiums for 2011-12. The board had budgeted for a $40,000 increase. That unexpected savings was put back into several line items in the operating budget.
  • The City of Hillsboro will partner with the district on an application for a Safe Routes to Schools grant from Kansas Department of Transportation. If approved, the grant will provide funding for a plan to add and improve sidewalk routes to schools. The city would also be eligible to apply for grants to pay for implementation of that plan. Board member Joe Sechrist said it would be appropriate, considering the district eliminated the in-town bus route.
  • Equipment for the interactive distance learning classroom will be purchased for $39,000. Money for the purchase came from a grant.
  • A contract proposal from Kansas Association of Education Service Agencies for a virtual school program for 2011-12 was reviewed. Noble urged the board to be prepared to make a decision at the June meeting.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 13.

Last modified May 12, 2011

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