Updates and reports at Monday's meeting

At the start of Monday night’s Augusta Board of Education meeting, Augusta’s Walmart was recognized for providing a Community Grant in the amount of $1,000, which will be used for the district’s Summer Lunch Program.
Town hall meeting for Rec Commission
Augusta Superintendent John Black announced at last night’s Board of Education meeting that there will be a town hall meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11,  2017, at The Point Events Center in Augusta.  The public will have an opportunity to ask questions relating to the recreation commission.
According to the County, the ballots concerning the rec commission proposal, will be mailed around April 10 and the election ends on April 25.  Dr. Black advised that the unofficial results will be available by late afternoon on the 25th, and the official count will be announced on May 1.
“This is a team effort and you can share any suggestions or concerns that you might have,” Dr. Black advised board members.
“The representatives on the Rec Commission board need to be a cross section of the community, not just from athletic groups,” suggested BOE member Jim Brown.
Black also shared that Augusta Mayor Matt Childers is in the process of drafting a letter to the editor in support of the Rec Commission and will be published in the Times-Gazette in the near future.  Yard signs are also being created in support of the measure.
Legislative update
Dr. Black, one of hundreds of Kansas educators watching the legislature for signs of cuts to K-12 funding, presented a brief update for board members.
“Last week I heard four different legislators talk about the first half of the session and speculate about the latter half,” Black continued, “All of them have stated that they will have a school funding plan by June 30th.”
Black added that those legislatures also agree that they first need to reach agreement on the revenue plan.
Balancing the budget is top priority and that requires a budget rescission bill since the spending must be reduced from the original budget.  Senate President Wagle was expected to present the rescission bill to the floor on Wednesday.  The bill contains a 2 percent to 2 1/2 percent cut to schools yet this year.  A 2 1/2 percent cut is about $64 million.  
“Some legislators are just tired of it and don’t want to see any cuts to education,” Black continued, “The debate is expected to get heated on the senate floor today.  I do like what I hear at this point, although I’m not sure of the outcome.”
Tracking AHS students after graduation
The Augusta BOE goal was recently modified to: “Increase the percentage of successful students in Augusta from 44.5 percent success rate to 72 percent by July 1, 2020.”
Dr. Black reported that the district’s subscription to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) was renewed last fall and that the account has been updated with several years of graduate information.  NSC is a source for degree verification and enrollment verification, and student educational outcomes research.
The data and reports provide:
• Count of students enrolled in college in the fall immediately following graduation from high school.
• Count of students enrolled in college at any time during the first year after high school.
• Count of students enrolled in college at any time during the first two years after high school.
• Count of students enrolled in college the first year after high school who returned for a second year (freshman to sophomore retention).
• Count of high school graduates with a college degree.
• Time to college graduation within six years (associate, bachelor and higher).
• Class of 2010 postsecondary enrollment and progress.
• Most common institutions of enrollment in the fall immediately following high school graduation for all classes by number of students.
“The percentage of students in Augusta enrolling immediately following graduation has varied from 50 percent to 70 percent since 2010.  Why did we have a drop?  Can we account for the other 30 percent?  It doesn’t tell us if they were in technical school, the armed services, or employed,” advised Dr. Black.
“Can that information go to the Clearinghouse?” asked BOE member Jim Brown.
“No, but we could keep a scorecard on that.  There’s no reason we can’t track that,” Black replied.
Board members agreed that NCS is a mechanism that can help the needs of students, as well as improving the rate of student success.
Moving next BOE meeting
The board approved moving the April BOE meeting from the second Monday to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17th.