Butler County Times Gazette
  • Skelly Elementary sees good start to school year

  • The USD 490 Board of Education heard an update from Staff Ruff, principal at Skelly Elementary, during their meeting Monday.
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  • The USD 490 Board of Education heard an update from Staff Ruff, principal at Skelly Elementary, during their meeting Monday.
    He told the board members they currently have 409 students, with 72 percent receiving free and reduced lunches. They have 40 certified staff and 42 classified.
    Looking at the year, they are using a new program to set goals and and to increase communication between teachers and the administration. As part of this, they are doing goal setting this week, then will start the process of doing observations.
    Ruff’s second goal is, with the size of the staff, to increase communication with staff by holding weekly “stand-up” meetings for five to 10 minutes Wednesday afternoons. This would replace the longer monthly meetings they held in the past.
    Ruff’s hope is they address issues and things going on in a more timely basis.
    Then once a month they will have a staff meeting for a professional learning community.
    Discussing the start of the year, Ruff said they had 485 sign in for parent night, which did not include everyone, then 184 grandparents there for coffee and tea a couple days later.
    The board also discussed an education comparative report put together by a think tank.
    Superintendent Sue Givens said those facts show them at $22,000 per pupil expenditure, while the average in the state is $13,000.
    “That is a fact if you read the table flat,” Givens said. “We’re going to talk about the rest of the facts and explain why that figure is misleading.”
    Norm Wilks, fiscal services director, said the numbers were from the 2011-12 school year based on actual expenditures.
    He said that included money that goes through their budget from KPERs, as well as the funding for the Butler County Special Education Cooperative, which totals over $18 million. When that is taken out, it makes the funding $13,348 per student.
    Another consideration was $2.4 million for the first year of bond and interest payment for the middle school and Skelly, as well as money for the stadium project.
    “It doesn’t give a complete picture of what happens in the school district,” Wilks said.
    In other business, the board:
    • heard about bids for furnishing for the new EMS. They approved the bid of $172,234.68 4-0. BOE Members Deb Wheeler, Scott Starkey and Tom Storrer were absent.
    • heard about policy updates, including taking out policies already in statutes so it just reflects USD 490 policy. There also were a few changes to wording in some portions. The board approved the changes 4-0.
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