Work continues to progress on the new Butler County Special Education Cooperative.

The El Dorado USD 490 Board of Education took action on a couple of items Mondayevening following an update on the new Special Education board by Bernie Spradling, BCSEC and USD 490 board member.

Spradling said they had met for the first time and will start meeting monthly.

“The first meeting was getting things worked out and figuring out where we go from here,” she said.

At the next meeting, they will be getting organized and hold election of board officers. They also have talked about the need for developing a board policy handbook and are talking about working with the Kansas Association of School Boards.

“They (KASB) have a new person up there who has experience with special education,” Spradling said. “I think they’re going to start with them and get a copy of one (a handbook) to start with, then we will go through and refine it and adjust it.”

Looking at personnel, USD 490 will be sending out letters terminating contracts for special ed teachers in May. Along with those letters will be sent a letter of intent to re-employ.

Some things currently in process for the new cooperative is applying for a federal tax ID number; selecting a bank, auditor and attorney; soliciting bids for insurance and benefit carriers; establishing an account with KAPERS; and joining KASB.

“It was just basically getting started,” Spradling said.

These things have to be in place by July to have the new cooperative up and running for the next school year.

In addition to hearing the update, the USD 490 board approved a revised agreement for the cooperative.

Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services, said the attorney general had a couple of items they wanted to change, but they were minor so it wasn’t worth delaying the process.

“We will accept what they want to do,” he said “It won’t change the end result.”

The board approved the agreement 6-0 and will resubmit it to the state. BOE Member Tom Storrer was absent.

Another item relating to the cooperative was a need for a financial and payroll program.

“They currently use our software package with the Coop,” said Superintendent Sue Givens. “As they transition to the new cooperative they’ll have to have their own package.”

They got bids and were recommending the lowest bid, which also had good reviews.

She said the district’s transition to their new software has not been smooth, so they would not recommend that program to them.

The board approved, 6-0, purchasing Skyward Financial and Payroll Software for $43,095 from BCSEC funds.

In other business, the board:

• approved the 2014-2015 calendar.

• approved the personnel and BCSEC recommendations.

• heard an update from Grandview Principal Susan Holthaus. She said it has been great being at Grandview, having moved to that school just this past fall.

“It’s really great to be back with third, fourth and fifth graders,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I missed those intermediate students.”

She said they have 245 students and have 30.6 receiving free and reduced meals. She also said her professional goals have to do with the evaluation tool, which is a challenge because she has not known the staff long.

• approved one-year extensions on several administrative contracts.

• heard from Robbie Manthei with Nabholz Construction, who thanked them for the opportunity to build the new schools in El Dorado.

• recognized Norm Wilks for his recent award and Spradling, former BOE member Leon Leachman and Givens for completing the Boardsmanship Academy.

Julie Clements can be reached at