Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Various topics keep school board busy

October 12, 2006

Several minor items came up at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting and most were passed unanimously Monday night.

The discussion items for the night included Insight schools, district insurance, Vinland Elementary School heating, monthly financial report and the board vision and ethics.

Supt. Paul Dorathy informed the board about the state of the VES heating and cooling system.

"The old part of the building has boilers that are sitting back in there that have reached the end of their life," Dorathy said. "Those are requiring a lot of maintenance. It was time for the board to step forward and do this. They will go from 30 percent efficient to about 95 percent. It will be a savings in a lot of ways."

After a lengthy discussion, the school board approved the first phase of the replacement process for $9,500.

Another item of new business was the district's insurance company. Dorathy said the renewal date for Allied Insurance will be coming up Oct. 22, but a new company has given them a lower price.

Employer's Mutual Casualty Company agent and Baldwin High School alumnus Clint Kueffer contacted Dorathy about his company. At the meeting, Dorathy said EMC will save the district approximately $19,000, but the district will have to pay an $8,000 penalty to Kansas Association of School Boards for leaving their worker's compensation program.

Dorathy said he wanted to stay with Allied, because they are local, but the savings was too much to pass up.

"You try to stick with the local company if it's within one percent, but if it's higher than that, you should look to save the district money," Dorathy said.

The school board voted 7-0 to accept EMC as their insurance company for this year.

Earlier in the meeting, the board also voted unanimously to adopt the National School Boards Association code of ethics.

Board President Alison Bauer asked the board members to choose their favorite code of ethics from the list she gave them last month. There were two policies that were debated Monday, but the group chose the NSBA policy with a 7-0 vote.

Bauer thinks the code of ethics will help the board and the public.

"Unless you have served on a board before, not everything gets spelled out at that training session," Bauer said. "This way, board members know we have a reference to look back at. It is also going to be a good educational tool for the public, since it will be on our Web site."

The school board also briefly discussed its vision statement Monday. Board Member Ande Parks read the vision that is on the district's Web site, but thought it should be changed.

"I think we should have something a little more geared to what a board does," Parks said.

Board Member Scott Lauridsen wanted something that dealt with more than classroom teaching.

"There are a lot of things that we do that are outside the classroom," Lauridsen said. "I think it's bigger than that."

After a short while, the board voted to have a work session to create the vision statement.

"That's going to take all of the work session," Bauer said. "When you sit down to write a vision statement, you suddenly realize what a big job that is. To have all seven of us reach consensus on what that is will take a while."

The work session will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the District Office.

On Monday, the school board visited an old topic that was left behind last spring. Last week, Lauridsen received information from Insight Schools regarding their interest in Baldwin as a place of headquarters for a state-wide virtual school.

"We shared status since we had last talked," Lauridsen said. "They have the state of Washington up an running. They are exceeding their start up plans by three times the number of students. Now the burden is back on us to whether we want to pursue this or let them know to look for another district."

Once again, the concern from the school board is the financial part of the contract and how the state assessment scores would be affected.

"If they are so focused on coming to Kansas, I need assurance that the curriculum is line in with state standards," Board Member Blaine Cone said.

Dorathy said the board should look into it, because area virtual schools are taking Baldwin students away from this district.

"It's competition in a way," Dorathy said. "You are in it or you aren't. I think it's something that the board has to face, because virtual schools are all around us and we are losing students to area districts."

The school board met with board attorney Bob Bezek in executive session early in the meeting. In a second executive session later, the board had a preliminary discussion of land acquisition and personnel.

After the second executive session, the board approved the personnel report. It included the hiring of Audrey Hoplin (car driver), Josiah Mason (Baldwin Junior High School assistant wrestling coach), Joshua Kohn (BJHS assistant wrestling coach) and Brock Hartshorn (BHS assistant wrestling coach). It also included the resignation of Emily Johnson as BHS target area math/problem-solving chair. BHS math teacher Mike Spielman was hired to the position.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the District Office.

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