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October 17th, 2019

8 19 19 school boardUSD 480 Director of Elementary Education Lana Evans talks to the USD 480 school board Monday evening about approving a list of interim instructors for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. The list was ultimately unanimously approved by the board. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The USD 480 school board had an easy evening ahead of them Monday at its last meeting before the start of the 2019-20 school year. 

Up first for the board was the hiring of interim instructors for the upcoming year. The list includes Rebecca Applebee, Ashley Prosser, Richard Forbes and Austin Downs for Liberal High School, and Noemi Rodriquez for Seymour Rogers Middle School. Ultimately, the board unanimously approved the interim instructors list.

“You approved several at the last meeting and these people have been added since then,” USD 480 Director of Elementary Education Lana Evans said. “And at the next board meeting this month, to my knowledge, there should be one more name, and then one more transfer of someone who’s moving to a different position, Then after that, we’ll hopefully be set for a while.”

“So will we get a full and updated list of where everyone’s been moved to, a final list, after all of this is said and done?” board member Travis Combs asked. 

“I’ve been making sure to document that with everything on here,” Evans said. “And like I said, there’s one more I’m aware of, plus that transfer, that will be up for approval at the next board meeting. Other than that, everyone is where I’d originally wanted them and everyone is where they were told they were be. But I’ll follow up with the buildings’ administration to make sure no one got moved around who shouldn’t have and then at the next board meeting is when that final list should be ready.”

Evans also briefly talked about recruitment. 

“So are we actively going to attempt to recruit all brand-new teachers?” Board President Steve Helm asked. 

“Yes, we still are,” Evans replied. “In fact, I got a call a few days ago from a potential candidate from out of town who we’d been looking at and we’re working to arrange an interview. We’re willing to visit with them and see how they’d fit in here and we’re still actively seeking people to fill the open positions we have, and if we have some graduates who come in, hopefully we can get them hired where they’d best fit here.”

“Some businesses also have the option of doing interviews by Skype or FaceTime or something like that, is that something we could consider doing here?” Combs asked. 

“One of the practices we’ve had is if they are far away, we’ll do a Skype interview to see if everything’s a good fit and once it’s agreed to continue on, we’ll continue to pursue them,” Evans said. “And more than once we’ve also given assistance for airfare and other traveling expenses to get here. We do offer things like that if we know they’re from really far away. But it is really good if we can get them to travel here because that way we can really sell ourselves and they can get a better idea of what we’re like.”

Up next for the board was discussion of renewing with Microsoft. Ultimately, the board unanimously approved the renewal for $54,928.12, which is an increase from $50,034.52, which was last year’s renewal cost. After that discussion, the board then talked about the replacement of a pair of boilers at Liberal High School. The district solicited bids to remove and replace the two 2400 million BTU, at LHS with two 1200 million BTU boilers. Ultimately, the board approved the bid from Wichita Burner in the amount of $103,552.

“My question is how did ESP come up with its $75,000 number when they supposedly took bids and everything for us before turning it over to you all?” Board member Alan Brown asked. 

“The boiler itself was an add-on for them,” Director of Operations Chad Mease said. “When we got through this winter and had a near-failure, we evaluated them to figure out how far gone they were and their plan was already done and they hadn’t evaluated the boilers, so we asked that to add them into the project at that number mostly as a placeholder since we weren’t 100 percent sure what we’d ultimately get into or what size we’d need in the end. Their price was rather high and we decided to put it out for bid because if we hadn’t, our budget would’ve gone way out of the contingency allocation. This will take those two boilers that are there at LHS now for heating purposes – one is completely out of service and tanked out, and the other one is almost at that point. Both of them will be removed and replaced. It’ll ultimately make things much more efficient and it’ll be way better overall.”

The board also approved the listing of a few USD 480 properties with Landmark Realty: Central Office for $135,000; Education Service Center for $175,000; the former McDermott property for $325,000; and the property at 910 N. Lincoln for $12,500. To conclude the new business, the board talked about the JCDAD Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Policy. 

“Nearly all policies go through a review committee, but there are a few policies out there that, instead of taking them through the committee, I take them to the nurses and that staff and they make their recommendations and then I bring it to the board,” Superintendent Renae Hickert said. “But if there’s anything like this where someone could potentially end up in court, I take those to our legal counsel since they’re the ones in charge of enforcing everything and will ultimately be in charge.”

Some questions were raised and then discussed about some parts of the policy before the board ultimately decided to table the vote on the policy changes until the Sept. 9 meeting. 

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