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By Caroline Downs
The Kenmare school district will use additional transportation funds received this year to purchase two new mini-buses with gasoline engines, following action taken by board members at the February 12th meeting.
The district will now receive $273,246.00 annually to offset transportation costs, an increase from the $117,352.00 paid in previous years.
Bids for the 14-passenger mini-buses were submitted for consideration during the February meeting. Hartley’s School Buses of Rugby bid a 2013-2014 bus on a Chevrolet chassis at $53,000 new, and offered $2500 for a 2002 Bluebird mini-bus the district would like to offer in trade.
Harlow’s Bus Sales, Bismarck, bid a similar bus at $47,800, with $5000 offered in trade.
Trucks of Bismarck, Inc., bid two busses at $92,800.00 with $8,000 offered in trade if the district purchased two buses.
The board rejected a motion 5-1 to refer the bids to the Transportation Committee for review and a recommendation to the full board at the March board meeting. Some of the bid prices were quoted with a 30-day limit.
Board members approved the purchase of two buses from Trucks of Bismarck with the trade of the district’s 2002 mini-bus, for a cost to the district of $84,800.
Meal prices go
up next year
The school board reluctantly approved an increase in meal costs for the 2013-2014 school year, as required for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program.
Students are currently charged $2.60 per meal, with the price going to $2.70 per meal starting in August.
“It’s not something the board wants to do,” said board president Lars Christensen, “but we’re mandated to do that.”
The motion passed on a 5-1 vote.
Extended contract for
Board members approved a contract extension for elementary principal Janis Gerding, based on a recommendation from Superintendent Mueller.
Gerding said Mueller had asked her to attend three conferences in June, including one emphasizing PowerSchool training, one related to response intervention, and one focused on the use of Google applications in the classroom. Gerding also wants to devote time to preparing to use the READ 180 system and software with teachers and students next year in order to increase students’ reading achievement.
Gerding’s contract was extended from 10 months to 11 months, with a commensurate change in salary.
“With all that going on, it sounds like time and money well-invested,” said Craig Ellsworth.
The board completed the second of two evaluations required for the superintendent each year.
Board members rated Superintendent Mueller “Satisfactory” on the 10 items included on the evaluation form approved for use.
The board approved the “Satisfactory” rating for Mueller’s relations with the board, relations with the community, recruitment and retention of staff, relationships with students and parents, financial management, educational leadership, supervision of buildings and grounds, supervision of transportation, professional and personal development, and extra-curricular programs.
Superintendent Mueller told the board he intended to focus on the use of the Common Core standards in all subject areas and on continuing to emphasize communication with staff and parents. He also noted stability developing in the district’s sports programs, with most coaches planning to continue in their roles next year.
In other business:
• The board approved minutes of the January meeting and the district’s bills for payment, as presented.
• Wellness Committee chair Michele Nelson reported on plans to create a survey to administer to students, parents and staff regarding the school’s overall wellness program.
• Board members approved June 11th as the school board election date. Seats currently held by directors Christensen, Ellsworth and Jan Kostad will be up for election.
• The board approved resignations submitted by elementary music teacher Barb Johnson and high school math instructor Alan Munson.
• Board members approved an open enrollment request for a third grade student in the Mohall Lansford Sherwood school district whose family recently moved to Tolley.
• Gerding reported a schoolwide goal had been established for the IXL math program of 5000 problems completed within the coming weeks. “From February 1st through February 11th, the students have 77 hours and 21 minutes logged,” she said. “That was more than the whole month of January. They’re doing a great job.”
• Gerding announced two new second graders had enrolled at Kenmare Elementary School since the last board meeting, along with one third grader and one sixth grade student.
• Superintendent Duane Mueller distributed copies of a proposed calendar for the 2013-2014 academic year. According to the proposed calendar, classes would begin August 19th, with a holiday break scheduled for December 21 through January 1st. Graduation would take place May 24th or 25th during the Memorial Day weekend. The calendar includes 175 days of instruction. The board will act on the proposed calendar at a later date.
• Superintendent Mueller announced two changes to the article published in The Kenmare News regarding the January 2013 school board meeting. He noted Title I funding in the future could be reduced, but not eliminated as reported in the article. He also emphasized the new doors ordered for Kenmare Elementary School include safety glass, not bulletproof glass as written. “I want that clarified at this time that I was misrepresented in the paper,” he said.
• Board president Lars Christensen noted the Negotiations Seminar he attended with Kostad, Blaine Huff, Mueller and business manager Renae Murphy was worthwhile, especially regarding changes the district will face in the coming months because of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, as related to health insurance benefits offered to district staff.
• The Curriculum Committee, with members Christensen, Kostad and Lenny Rodin, will meet Tuesday, March 5th, at 7 am at Kenmare High School.
• The Negotiations Committee, with members Christensen, Huff and Kostad, will meet Tuesday, March 5th, at 8:30 am at KHS.
• The next regular meeting of the Kenmare School Board will be held Monday, March 18th, beginning at 6 pm at Kenmare High School.