The El Dorado USD 490 Board of Education approved a new English Language Arts curriculum for the middle school and high school Monday evening.

EHS English teacher Jeremy Johnson and USD 490 Director of Curriculum Julie Jensen presented the request for the new resources.

“Basically we are doing a 6-12 English language arts adoption,” she said. “Last year we did a K-5.”

To prepare for the recommendations, teachers wanted to use the material from November to January, so they could vote on what worked.

Johnson presented the recommendations.

“It was quickly narrowed to two publishers,” he said, explaining most of the curriculum falls under the two publishers.

A resource called Collections was ranked first by EMS teachers, while My Perspectives was ranked first by EHS teachers.

“We said if they match, why do they have to follow the same program, and they do match,” Johnson said.

The differences include the EMS one goes better with the resources used for K-5 classes and it fits better with the iPads they use. The high school choice has better literature selections and is designed to go with laptops.

“They are both just terrific programs,” he said.

Jensen added there are additional supports in both and writing is definitely in there.

They would have the resources for seven years, so Jensen broke down the cost for those seven years at 7 cents per student per day.

They also will have two training sessions for the teachers and one day coaching per building.

The cost of both is $98,719.

The board approved the purchase 7-0.

Legislative update

BOE Member Norm Wilks gave the board a legislative update.

He said they are two weeks away from turnaround, which means they only have two weeks to get things out of the house of origin.

“I will start simply with reminding everyone with where the hole is and the job they have to do,” Wilks said. “To keep the state balanced at the end of Fiscal year for 2017, on June 30 we need to find $325 million. The hole is right now for the plan of 2018 is about $592 million. If everything stays the same it will be about $172 million for 2019. So they’ve got to do some heavy lifting.”

Wilks said the House appropriation recision bill is to borrow $314 million from the pool money investment board.

“It delays any of the payback to starting in July 2019,” he continued. “So the eventual cost of the payback will go up, then they want to take half of the ending balance this year to apply to KPERS to buy down some of the debt.”

He said the House tax bill eliminates the LLC exemption the governor passed in 2012 and restores the medial exemption as an itemized deduction.

Another change was to the tax bracket, which is estimated would raise about $500 million a year.

“The House appropriations last week was a bill to cut schools about 5 percent which is about $128 million and higher ed about $23 million,” Wilks said. “They reduced the borrowing to about $100 million for the pool investment board and did a KPERS delay of about $90 million.”

He said the Senate tax version also eliminates the LLC exemption and increases some rates, but only about half as much as the House does.

“We’re still waiting to see which way that goes,” he said.

In addition, the House committee will be looking at a new proposed school finance plan for next year, which follows a lot of the old formula in terms of being student driven with different weights. Some significant changes would be enrollment will be based on the prior year and at-risk funding would no longer be based on the free lunch count.

“I think you will see some wild gyrations in terms of student count on what free lunch generates and what the government census generates,” Wilks said.

Another change would be bond and interest aid would go back to the prior law.

Wilks also said the four-year phase-in of moving the base budget to $4,895 was a significant increase.

Another House Bill would restore due process to the old statute.

Other changes being looked at are for technology, software, food, fuel and the LOB.

“Until we get the fiscal issue resolved there are a whole lot of these things that may be good ideas that aren’t going to go anywhere because we can’t afford it,” Wilks said.

In other business, the board:

• approved the 2017-18 calendar 7-0.

• approved personnel and administration contracts 7-0.

• recognized student accomplishments, including:

Regan Lattey was recognized for her “If I Were Mayor” essay and DAR essay.

Breckyn Poe was recognized for being in the Pioneer League seventh grade spelling bee.

The seventh grade boys basketball league champs were recognized. They included players: Trip Baker, Payton Ball, Connor Clausing, John Ferley, Hayden Greene, Korbin Johnson, Jeremiah Kemboi, Ethan Manke, Kendall Pinkerton, Miles Stringer, Jaydon Sundgren, Jordan Walmsley; and coaches: Gary Melcher and Isaac Pantoja.

Mason Paye and Connor RardinLo were recognized for being in Youth Leadership Butler.

Logan Stenseng and Makenna Hayes were recognized for being in State Debate.

EHS State Scholars bowl members Logan Stenseng, Shawn Luehrs, Bruan Bernhardt, Siubhan Mora-Bruce and Delaney Taylor were recognized for placing sixth at State. Coaches are Todd Miller and Jelinda Keeling. This is the first time in many years the team has gone to state. They also were league runner-up; won the regional of 12 teams, going undefeated; then went to State Saturday being undefeated in the preliminaries and finishing sixth.

“This is the most well-rounded group of five I’ve gotten to work with,” said Miller. “We medaled at the four tournaments we attended. These five represent what was a really, really good group of freshmen through seniors this year.”