Discussion on Board of Education elections continued at Monday’s USD 402 school board meeting.
Currently, Augusta has three districts with two board members in each district and one at-large member. But that method may need changed and the BOE is seeking input from the public.
Three more options, in addition to keeping the current method, are available for changing the current method of board elections:
• Two districts with three board members in each district and one board member at-large;
• Six districts with one board member in each district and one at-large, or,
• All board members elected at-large. (K.S.A. 72-8009).
There was some discussion and support voiced for having all board members elected at-large. Board member Jim Brown, however, stated he is in favor of keeping some members elected from each district.
“I think we need to be careful and think about this. We want to make sure everyone is represented equally and that may mean keeping members from each district,” Brown said.
All agreed that there has been population shifts and District 1 has twice as many residents as Districts 2 and 3, and that the board may seek to change the boundaries of the districts by adopting a resolution specifying the changes in the boundaries. The resolution would have to be adopted in October of even-numbered years. (K.S.A. 72-6769).
There are also three voting plan options:
• Voting Plan A would allow all voters to vote for all candidates in both the general and primary election.
• Voting Plan B allows all voters to vote for all positions in the general election, but allows voters to vote only for candidates in their member district in primary elections.
• Voting Plan C allows voters to vote for only candidates in their member district in both the general and primary election. (K.S.A. 72-8003).
Superintendent John Black advised the board that if they choose to do nothing to change the method of election or voting plans, that the patrons of the district can force a change. Ten or more electors in the district would need to prepare a plan of change and submit their plan to the clerk of the board and the State Board of Education. If the plan meets the statutory criteria, the State Board would certify it to the county election officer and the school district. Petitions may be circulated and if the requisite number of signatures are received, an election on the change can be forced.
The board is expected to continue discussion and would like to hear from patrons.
With the departure of board member Larry Winter at the end of June, there will be a vacancy on the board. The board may appoint someone for a two-year term, but that someone will need to be from District 3.
Page 2 of 2 - Anyone residing in District 3 who may be interested in serving is asked to contact any of the the board members or Connie Hummel, Board Clerk. To view boundaries and the district map, go to: www.usd402.com, or contact the district office at 775-5484.
Contact information for all of the board members can also be found at USD 402’s website.
Action was taken on other agenda items at Monday’s meeting. The board approved 6-1 to pay the annual invoice for the Schools For Fair Funding, Inc. in the amount of $13,744.31. Board member Andy Hall voted against the action.
The board approved 7-0 to add a part-time Title 1 Reading and Math Teacher using only Title 1 funds available to Garfield and Robinson Elementary Schools.
Superintendent Black explained, “By adding different modalities of learning, more students can succeed in math and reading. Garfield teacher Kelli Malm has received and is continuing to take training regarding research-based instructional strategies to improve student learning in both reading and math.”
Construction nears end
“We are getting close to being done. Our focus now is to get playgrounds in place for the beginning of the school year in August,” Dr. Black advised.
At both Garfield and Lincoln schools, sod and irrigation is underway for playground areas.
Crossland is currently waiting on brick for exterior signs at both of those schools, as well.
The office counter surfaces at Lincoln and Robinson are being replaced.
Drawings are completed for the district storage building and Dr. Black reported that frames for the structure should be going up in early June.
At AHS the existing water problem around the commons area south windows is being addressed, as well as replacement of the stage sound system.
Some window problems at Ewalt School are being looked at and improvement to the playground and drainage.
Black also addressed the ongoing traffic issue at Augusta Middle School. “There has been a lot of study and we shared with you the estimated cost of $84,000 of making the corrections and adjustments to the crosswalk and at the front steps,” he continued, “We are not recommending any changes at this point. There has been discussion with the Safety Department and the AMS principal and we’re looking at having three crossing guards. The focus is on student and driver behavior.”