The possibility of making repairs on the high school practice track and selling several district properties highlighted the Winfield board of education’s Monday night meeting.
The condition of the Winfield High School practice track has been an item of discussion at several previous BOE meetings. Athletic director Billy Tipps shared information about possible upgrades and approximate costs.
"It's not that the track is unsafe to use for practice," Tipps said, "but it does have numerous cracks and needs to at least be resurfaced. If we do nothing, it will just continue to deteriorate, maybe to the point where it cannot be fixed."
Board members discussed several concerns including accessibility to the facility and how much it is actually used. Members voted 5-0 in the absence of Tim Nihart and Jamie Kaiser to allow Tipps to solicit proposals for track repairs.
The board also voted 5-0 to seek appraisals for the sale of one school building and one open lot. According to Superintendent J.K. Campbell, the district may consider marketing two of their vacated properties: the facility located at 400 E. Ninth Ave. (the west building of the former Winfield Intermediate School) and the open lot across from the Winfield Early Learning Center, located between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Selling the former Webster Early Learning Center on East 12th Avenue might also be a possibility.
Campbell said no local company can do an adequate appraisal of "large, old school buildings,” and he thinks the district wilkl have to use an appraiser possibly out of the Wichita area.
"The appraisal could possibly cost three or four thousand dollars," Campbell said.
In other business, the board:
•Approved 5-0 the process by which food service employees will eventually work for Chartwells rather than for the district. Current food service employees will be district employees as long as they are working for the district. When they leave the district, their replacements will be hired by Chartwells which now runs the district’s food service.
"I don't think we'll notice too much difference for a couple of years," Campbell said, "but over time this will be a benefit to the district." Campbell said he would keep BOE members posted each year on the number of food service workers at the school who remain as district employees.
•Voted 5-0 to increase substitute teacher pay to $80 per day to be competitive with pay scales in other area school districts.
•Approved 5-0 a market advertising agreement with the Kansas Army National Guard and to accept the $25,000 donation from them which is being used to renovate and equip the high school weight room facilities. The board reviewed the agenda for advertising submitted by the KSARNG, which will provide for more student engagement and interaction opportunities. This will include social media and presence on campus during school hours and school sanctioned events.
"As we talked about before," Campbell said, "this is something we already do with them and other branches of the military as well as colleges and universities."
In exchange for the donation, the marketing contract is for a school year beginning August 2015 and concluding May 2016.
The district will still have final approval of the guard's marketing involving Winfield schools.
"We'll probably recognize the support we've received from the National Guard during some football and basketball games," Campbell said. "We're very grateful for the gift."
•Discussed BOE goal setting/Kansas Association of School Board report and reviewed new and revised policies as recommended by KASB.
•Voted 5-0 to reinstate a professional learning contract with Catapult Learning for $31,745 for K-5 teacher professional development.
•Heard a report from Assistant Superintendent Mark Littell regarding the Kansas State Department of Education's release of the statewide aggregate assessments results measuring the new KS College and Career Standards. These assessments were taken in Winfield schools during the 2014-2015 school year. Littell warned the board that district results could be down this year.
"This is a new accountability model," Campbell said, "and we are assessing different standards for this first year."
•Learned that the KSDE is now requiring each school district in Kansas to submit a mentoring plan for new teachers and leaders in the district to provide a structured mentoring program that helps districts develop and retain strong teachers. USD 465 will partner with the Kansas Mentoring and Induction Center (KMIC) at Wichita State University for an agreement.
Three USD 465 instructional coaches are currently enrolled in the program. The cost is $3,500 for all three participants, which includes six and a half days of training during the school year. The agreement was unanimously approved.