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USD 410 plans calendar

News editor

The calendar for Hillsboro schools in the 2012-13 school year will probably be similar to the current school calendar.

Superintendent Steve Noble presented a draft calendar for the next school year Monday at the USD 410 Board of Education meeting. The draft is essentially the same as the current calendar, with adjustments for dates falling on different days of the week.

School would begin Aug. 22, and students would have Sept. 3, Oct. 25 and 26, and Nov. 21 through 23 off before Christmas break. The last day of school before Christmas would be Dec. 20.

According to the draft, class would resume Jan. 2 and continue through May 21. There would be no class Jan. 14 and 15, Feb. 22, or April 26. Spring break for students would begin March 15, with classes resuming March 25.

The calendar is designed to meet requirements for classroom time while canceling classes on days when much of the student body is out of town, such as state volleyball and wrestling tournaments.

The draft calendar includes seven professional development and work days for teachers, and the fall semester would end Jan. 11.

Board member Joe Sechrist asked whether there were basketball games were scheduled for Dec. 21, the first day of Christmas break. When he was told games were scheduled at Marion that day, he recommended having class Dec. 21 and moving the day off to Jan. 2.

Board members also asked about completing the first semester before Christmas break. Noble said that would tip the semesters to the spring being longer than the fall, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Students generally miss more class time in the spring semester as it is, he said.

Noble said he would revise the calendar and present it for a vote at the next scheduled meeting, March 12.

Technology

Hillsboro High School technology teacher Creigh Bell and students in the robotics program gave a presentation about their projects. Several students competed with their robots Jan. 28 in Ponca City, Okla.

The students, who are organized in two-person teams, explained the ideas behind their robots. The robots presented were in various states of completion, as several of the teams are currently reworking their designs after the competition in Oklahoma. Volunteer assistant Elmer Westerman said he is anxious to see the students’ final designs, based on what they saw at the competition.

The students will have at least one more competition at the state Technology Student Association conference, with the possibility of someone advancing to national competition. Bell said he is also making plans for a local demonstration for the community, possibly inviting teams from other nearby schools as well.

Board member Mark Rooker got the chance to control one of the robots as Bell demonstrated some of the features of the control system.

Later in the meeting, the board voted to forgive the final three payments from TSA, totaling $1,630, for a laser engraver the district purchased with the expectation that the group would repay $6,500 of the purchase price.

Noble recommended forgiving the final three payments as a way to boost the district’s technology and entrepreneurship efforts.

Transportation

Transportation Director Keith Goossen presented reports about bus routes, mileage, and replacement plans.

He said parents occasionally ask him why students are picked up as early as they are. Goossen said his goal is to have students at school by 7:40 a.m. so they can have 20 minutes to eat breakfast before school begins at 8 a.m. He said it seems there is a bit of a trend with people moving into the country. He speculated it may be for cheaper housing.

The total miles put on district vehicles increased by about 13,000 miles compared to the fall 2010 semester, an increase of almost 11 percent. About 4,000 miles of that increase was miles transporting students, but the remaining 9,000 were non-student miles.

Board member Chad Nowak asked whether there were occasions when multiple administration vehicles were sent to the same events. Noble said there was one such instance in the fall semester, but there haven’t been any since Christmas break. He said they always try to arrange to only take one vehicle.

Goossen’s vehicle replacement plan calls to purchase a new small bus for Head Start and a new Suburban in 2012-13 as vehicles are retired. The first replacement of a full-size bus would be in 2013-14 with the replacement of the 78-passenger activity bus.

Goossen said the district may need to consolidate the brands of buses it purchases, because electrical problems are increasingly the issues that take buses out of service. Having all buses of the same brand would allow the purchase of a single diagnostic tool and software to simplify fixing those issues.

Currently the district has buses of several makes because different manufacturers had low bids at different times.

In other business:

  • Marion County Parents as Teachers Coordinator Lori Soo Hoo gave a presentation, using a doll and blankets as a metaphor for five layers of support the program offers for families. She also presented a request for funds from the district. Based on USD 410’s share of countywide student enrollment, she requested the district contribute $8,115 of the $25,000 provided by local districts. There are 27 families in the district receiving services, and another 26 on a wait list. Soo Hoo said she needs a decision by April, because her grant application is due in May.
  • Noble expects the district’s 2012-13 budget to be relatively stable for the first time in several years, with no significant changes in enrollment or state aid. There are three competing funding plans at the state level, and one that could even increase school funding seems to be gaining momentum, he said.
  • The board met in closed session for about 56 meetings to discuss personnel with Noble. HHS Principal Max Heinrichs and Board Clerk Jerry Hinerman were also included in portions of the closed session. After the closed session, the board approved contracts for Heinrichs, Hillsboro Middle School Principal Greg Brown, and Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Evan Yoder through June 2014. The board also approved supplemental contracts for assistant high school baseball coach Aaron Stepanek and 2012-13 cheerleading sponsor Michelle Melton.

Last modified Feb. 15, 2012

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