The Augusta Board of Education approved 5-0 a memorandum establishing the distribution of the Crossland gift

Last October when Bennie Crossland presented a $25,000 check from Crossland Construction’s board of directors to Augusta USD 402, the funds were placed with the Augusta Community Foundation.

It was determined there would be two purposes for the funds. One option was to establish a scholarship fund for Augusta graduates and the second option was to use the funds to support the Augusta Teacher of the Year program. Board officers agreed to propose using the funds to recognize the new Teachers of the Year winners and to support instruction in classrooms.

The Augusta Board of Education approved 5-0 a memorandum establishing the distribution of the Crossland gift.

The board also considered and took action on two resolutions. The board formally communicated its support for all-day kindergarten funding by the Kansas legislature by passing 5-0 a resolution in support of Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to fund all-day kindergarten.

“According to KASB, legislators are stating that they are not hearing from constituents on the matter, so passing the resolution reflects Augusta USD’s support,” Superintendent Dr. John Black stated.

The second resolution relating to the tate legislative actions on school board elections drew more discussion.

The legislature would like to move public school board elections to November of even-numbered years, suggesting it would reduce focus on school board candidates as they compete for attention with all other candidates for every federal, state and local office.

The proposal by the state would also mean moving the school board elections from the spring to the fall and potentially creating a “lame duck” board, impeding discussions of administrator evaluations, contract extensions, teacher evaluations, negotiations and budget preparations.

“We have enough problems getting people to run now. This looks partisan,” BOE President Bill Rinkenbaugh said.

Board Vice President Jim Brown agreed.

Board Member Andy Hall said, “I might agree with that, but moving the elections to November wouldn’t hurt. People get out to vote then and it might save taxpayers money.”

“It is partisan and that is the only reason it was brought up. This has nothing to do with practicality,” Bob McCalla added.

With board members Kim Braungardt and Matt Blank absent, the vote was 4-1, with Andy Hall voting no, in approval of the resolution to call upon the Kansas State Legislature to pass no law changing the election cycle for local boards of education.

Homecoming parade moved

The board also approved a request by the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber was asking the district to consider dismissing school early on Homecoming, Oct. 3, in order for the homecoming parade to be held on Friday afternoon before the game instead of Saturday morning, which has been the custom. It would be a two hour early dismissal. Students would be dismissed to their parents and to their bus routes, with all being encouraged to attend and/or participate in the parade.

Black said, “It is important to the community to support events such as this. This would be one more step to organizing and getting more people involved.”

“El Dorado has done it and it works there. I like the idea of the parade before the game,” Rinkenbaugh stated.

The request was approved 5-0.

Technology proposal

In continuation of last month’s discussion concerning wages and job descriptions for the Technology Department, Bart Hamilton, director of technology, presented the board with comparisons with four districts and Augusta concerning budgets, staff and equipment.

With the intent of filling three positions, the board approved the positions of Help Desk Technician, Level 2, Field Technician, and Systems Specialist. They agreed to wait on filling the Help Desk, Level 1 position to see what duties would remain and to purpose using Library Media Specialist, who have considerable technical training.

The current amount spent on wages for the technology personnel is $93,141 and the new rate will be $117,520.

The board will continue to evaluate the positions and technology needs of the district.


Belinda Larsen can be reached at