Special ed co-op accepts building from USD 408 years ago

Marion County Special Education Cooperative officially accepted the offer of a building Monday evening from USD 408.

The school district, wanting to get out of the landlord business, offered the administration building to the cooperative for $1.

Cooperative director Chris Cezar recommended the acquisition. Cooperative board president Deb Geis said the acquisition would improve the relationship between the cooperative and USD 408.

"Marion hasn't been trying to profit from the venture," Lyle Leppke, USD 408 representative, said. "We want to get out of the landlord business."

The only stipulation, Leppke said, is when the cooperative no longer wants the administration building, USD 408 wants first chance to acquire it.

Leppke reported that the Florence City Council was to accept a signed deed from USD 408 for the other two special education buildings — one used for CLASS programs and the gymnasium which also houses OASIS.

In other business:

— The purchases of computers and computer equipment were approved which include nine desktop computers and seven laptops for the cooperative for approximately $16,554. The funds will be taken from this year's budget.

An additional approximate amount of $7,000 also will be spent from this year's budget for two projectors and interactive boards. Approximately $7,000 more will be spent from next year's budget for two more projectors and interactive boards.

— Cezar reported that it had been difficult to find qualified certified principals to serve as an OASIS administrator and was leaning toward a lead teacher. He also checked into a security guard but wasn't sure if that was the appropriate way to oversee the class.

— An increase in the cooperative's workman's compensation insurance policy prompted officials to seek another bid. However a bid from Case & Son Insurance of Marion was not received in time for the meeting.

The cooperative has had worker's comp insurance through KASB (Kansas Association of School Boards) for many years and in the past, when premiums have increased, the board has been reluctant to change companies because of the long history.

The board approved the increased amount unless the bid from the Marion insurance company was significantly less.

— Employees will continue to use a medical debit card to pay for medical expenses as in the past. Pre-taxed dollars can be credited to the card and then used for medical expenses.

— A stipend totaling $6,000 to $7,500 for five staff members was approved to compensate the employees for additional assistive technology team training.

— The cooperative will begin a four, 10-hour day work week beginning next week. Larger districts have been doing that as a way to reduce utility costs. The change would affect office staff and custodians.

— Betty Sanders was recognized by Cezar and the board for 20 years of service as a para-professional at Marion Elementary School.

— The board approved the resignations of classified staff members Nancy Elizabeth Finch, Jennifer Roland, John Mark Phelps, Breona Smith, and Amy Wilson. Licensed staff resignations were accepted from Ronda Martin and Denise Brown.