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October 17th, 2019

7 8 19 usd 480 recap photoUSD 480 Superintendent Renae Hickert introduces Todd Carter and Jennifer King as new members of the USD 480 administration during the most recent meeting of the UDS 480 school board Monday evening. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


It was an easy evening for the USD 480 school board during its most recent meeting Monday night. 

The meeting started off with some appointments to USD 480 leadership. The board ultimately appointed Erika Camacho as the USD 480 treasurer and Scarlette Diseker as the assistant treasurer for the 2019-20 school year and also appointed Jerry Clay as clerk and Rusty Tuman as assistant clerk of the board for the 2019-20 school year. The board also appointed Rick Yoxall as the USD 480 board attorney for the 2019-20 school year and Hay, Rice, and Associates as the district's auditor. All appointments were decided by a margin of 6-0, with board member Nick Hatcher absent for the evening. 

After the appointments, Superintendent Renae Hickert introduced Todd Carter and Jennifer King as new members of the USD 480 administration. Carter will have a more varied job description and King will be working with the special education staff and with pre-K and ESL matters. Hickert also talked to the board about various committees for the board members to be part of. 

“The ones I think are especially important and need more attention are the facilities and transportation committees,” Hickert said. “I feel like those are more rubber stamp committees and I would like to see how we can make those more interactive and more productive committees. I wanted to get your input on that before we move on to the resolutions later tonight. I really liked the process we used when we did the science department renovations at the high school – we talked to the teachers first and asked them their thoughts and then we hooked them up with an architect, and the department had a huge say in how those renovations went. I felt that process worked really well, but the Facilities Committee wasn’t really too involved with that work, but I’d like to work it so when we have a special project like that, we could use that process and put a board member on that committee. For example, if we were working on one of the school libraries, we could put a committee together of teachers, librarians and a board member, and they could work together with the architect to come up with the plans, and then all of that would come for consideration before the board. I’d really like to make those particular committees more interactive. With the Transportation Committee stuff, Stacey usually just tells us what he needs, but I don’t know overall how valuable that is. But the Facilities Committee is definitely one I feel strongly about and I feel like we could do a much better job there of getting staff input for special projects and help everyone feel like their voices are heard.”

After that, the board members then assigned themselves to the different committees comprised of board members. There were also some alternates assigned to some of those committees. 

After Hickert’s report, USD 480 Director of Operations Chad Mease gave some updates on some of the summer projects currently going on. 

“At the high school we’ve authorized Change Order No. 3, and the biggest pieces of that order were to add additional proper venting in the chemical storage closet since there was none, and we needed to bring it up to code. There were also some added auto-vents at some of the sink locations that were being placed along block walls so we didn’t have to tear those out,” Mease said. “Part of that change order also included making the substantial completion date to Aug. 5 for that project, which will help reflect all the other activities going on in the high school. At Cottonwood Elementary and Sunflower Elementary with the kitchen remodels, the architect reached out to me last week and originally, we hadn’t included any structural engineering project, but with the relocation of some things at Cottonwood, we’ve incurred those costs and we’ve included that too. At Bright Start Early Learning Center, the curb’s in place and a portion of the parking lot is paved and the rest of it’s currently basically a swimming pool due to all the rain recently. With the middle school concession stands, as of last week, the foundations were in at Eisenhower Middle School and at Seymour Rogers Middle School and there was also some plumbing and related work going on, so that’s moving along smoothly. Then with some Transportation Committee stuff, Stacey’s outlined some of those needs, one of which is a 14-passenger bus to help run rural routes and that will also give us a more in-between vehicle for some of the smaller groups of students we transport. We’re also looking at doing some paint and body work on one of the activity buses.”

After the reports, the board then approved board resolutions A through U, which concern matters such as appointing the authorized representative of the district to direct the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS), designates the school district employee responsible for coordinating compliance efforts and the hearing officer for complaints alleging violation of Title IX, and establishes the mileage allowance rate for privately owned conveyances used for official school district purposes, among other things. To conclude the new business, the board also approved application for payment No. 3 to ESP for performance contracting for $1,400,582.15.

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