The USD 490 Board of Education is continuing to look into the possibility of getting a food service provider for the district.

The USD 490 Board of Education is continuing to look into the possibility of getting a food service provider for the district.

During their meeting Monday, the board members talked about their two visits to school districts and the next steps in the process.

One trip was to Ark City.

Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services, said the highlight there was the choice.

“Their meals were all prepared at each of the schools and they had three choices for meals at every meal,” he said.

In addition, the traditional snacks and beverages were separate from the reimbursable meals and had to be paid for with cash.

Their choices ranged from a taco bar to sub sandwich to pizzas and hamburgers and a salad bar.

Another school visit was to Augusta.

“The elementary was pretty similar to what we’re doing,” said BOE Member Bernie Spradling. “They were letting the kids serve themselves on the vegetables and fruits.”

They cooked some of the foods throughout the lunch period so the food was always fresh and hot.

“It seemed like the staff they had really adapted well,” said BOE Member Cathy Cooper. “They were kind of proud of the fact they made pizza steadily throughout the lunch hour.”

Those who visited commented on how good the pizza was and that it was homemade.

Augusta also had a sample plate at each food bar so students could see what they would get.

There is one more site visit later this month.

In addition, Wilks has submitted a request to the state to be able to send out requests for proposal from the food service providers.

In the next week to 10 days the district will receive that information back with approval and they will put out the RFPs in March, getting proposals back in May. Wilks expects to do negotiations in the early part of May, then resubmit to the state department for approval to go forward with a contract.

“Hopefully we will have a contract for your approval in the June or July meeting,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• heard an update on Grandview Elementary, which is at 250 students, down about 12 from the beginning of the year, with the free and reduced rate at about 28 percent.

Principal Kim McCune said her professional goal looks at the things surveys were telling them were of concern to parents. That included the behavioral aspect of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) program. McCune wants to improve quality and fidelity of tier one support and learn more about tier two and three. As part of that, they are having intentional Positive Behavior Support lessons on a quarterly basis and also are looking to get more parent involvement in the building.

• heard a description of summer school programs. The Summer Academy program will be moved to Skelly Elementary, while course completion programs will move back to the middle school and high school so the principals can oversee those students rather than mixing those two program. The cost of the summer programs will remain the same and the district is looking at collaborating with other entities for summer transportation for youth.

• heard a recommendation from the Evaluation Committee on a program for teacher and staff evaluations. After looking at three programs, they approved the E4E evaluation tool as the staff evaluation model for negotiation.

• heard an update on the KSDE audit and budget. The general fund is up about $531,000 over last year, although $300,000 of that is new facility weights, so it is one-time money. The district is up 41 students from what was published last July. One benefit is that the budget is built on a three-year average, so the increase is enough to carry this year’s numbers over to next year. One unknown number is special education, for which they won’t know the distribution of until the end of May or early June.

When comparing the operating budget, which is the general fund and the local option budget minus special education and facility weights funding, the net operating budget went from $13.6 million in 2011-2012 to $13.8 million in 2012-13.

One concern with next year is the fact they won’t have new facility weights for the middle school because it won’t be open until January.

Norm Wilks, director of fiscal services, said they hope to take the additional $200,000 this year that is above the published budget and move it to next year to cover health care costs and staff salaries.

Looking at the longer term trend, the net operating budget was $15.3 million in 2008-09.

• heard an update on the legislature, which included the Senate Education Bill and the session for governmental regulations when they can get together and talk with legislators.

• heard about the textbooks looked at for math for the next six years for K-12. At the elementary level, one of the things teachers liked was the math expressions and that mathematical practices are embedded in every lesson.

“It’s not just giving the answer, but why and how,” said Julie Jensen, director of curriculum.

It also provides more resources at the high school level to support MTSS.

“Everything we’re looking at today is common core,” Jensen said.

The board approved the purchase of the new K-12 text books.

• approved the 2013-2014 academic calendar with a start date for the school year of Aug. 14. School will end before Memorial Day.

• approved the low bid from Ziegler Electric in the amount of $26,983 for new lights in the EHS gym. This would replace the halogen bulbs with T-5 bulbs that are cheaper and last longer, as well as are more energy efficient. In addition, the switch for the lights would be moved out of the breaker box.

• authorized the superintendent to sign a three-year renewable contract with the city to operate the activity center on a 50-50 basis for utilities and maintenance costs. The school district had been paying those costs for 18 years to make up the difference in what the city put into the center during construction.

• approved the financial audit contract.

• approved contract extensions for administrative contracts.