Recognitions, meal price increase, social worker hired, all part of Monday's meeting

The Augusta Board of Education took a moment at Monday’s meeting to recognize Doug Law, retiring Augusta High School Athletic Director.  
During his 34 years in the Augusta school district, Law served in several administrative positions at the Augusta Middle School and the High School.
“Doug wasn’t able to attend the retirement reception held at the end of the school year and we didn’t want to miss recognizing him,” BOE President Bill Rinkenbaugh said, “Not only is Doug a great leader, but a good friend.  I appreciate you.”
BOE member Bob McCalla agreed, “We appreciate all your years of service and your support.”
“I had some memorable years - definitely good years.  Thank you,” responded Law.
Also recognized, but not present at the meeting was AHS senior Gabby Wheatley for placing first in Yearbook Copy Writing in the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Journalism Contest, making her the 3A-4A champion.
Abbee Rhodes became a State Track and Field champion in shot put with a throw of 42’6.76”.
Meal price increase
In 2011 the State required schools to charge students for paid meals at a price that is on average equal to the difference between free meal reimbursement and paid meal reimbursement. Schools that were charging less were required to gradually increase their prices over time until they meet the requirement.  Schools were also instructed that they may choose to cover the difference in revenue with non-Federal funds instead of raising paid meal prices.
The measure establishes a maximum annual increase in the required paid increases of 10 cents annually, but allows schools to establish a higher increase at their discretion.
Superintendent John Black advised that the average meal price in Augusta schools is $2.87 and we need to match $2.92 for a difference of 5 cents.  The recommendation presented was to raise prices per meal 5 cents for next year.
Board members approved the increase.
The following are meal prices for 2018-2019:
Elementary - $1.80
MS and HS - $2.05
Adult - $2.35
Reduced Price - $0.30

Elementary - $2.75
MS and HS - $3.05
Adult - $3.65
Reduced Price - $0.40

Early Childhood milk prices will not change; $70 for a four day week

Dr. Black issued an invitation to the board members to stop by the summer lunch program at Robinson Elementary.  He reported that 1,100 meals have been served so far this summer.
Patriot League Band Festival
Board members approved a request for the Augusta Middle School to host this year’s Patriot League Band Festival and to release the AMS students from school on March 6, 2019.
Both the band and choir festivals have been held annually in the spring as part of the previous affiliation with the Pioneer League.  These events will continue to be held within the Patriot League.
Social Worker hired
Assistant Superintendent Holly Francis presented a proposal for the hiring of a new position of a social worker to be shared between Title 1 schools, Garfield and Robinson Elementary.
“Garfield and Robinson have a high number of students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged that can prevent barriers to student success,” stated Francis.
She explained that the position would work as a link between home, school and community and would impact students in a positive way.  
“Every end of the year we carry over the maximum Title 1 funds and we have enough additional funds to make this happen...we wanted to see how you feel and if we can move forward,” Francis continued, “We’ve created a job description and if approved, all the applicants will know your expectations.  They would be working with all the students, not just Special Education students.”
Francis also explained that the funds are available at any time of the year and if a quality candidate does not apply immediately, the job could be posted again at a later date.
“We won’t hire unless we feel it’s the best fit.”
Board accomplishments
Superintendent Black shared an outline of board goals and accomplishments.
Activities to be completed in 2017-2018 and accomplishments include:
• Research the need to expand early childhood programs in USD 402 and prepare a recommendation.
1. Approved a 3 and 4 year-old preschool classroom to start in August 2018.
• Support and expand AVID and JAG in USD 402.
2. The BOE received multiple reports on AVID and JAG-K throughout the year.  AVID will be expanded to 10th grade and JAG-K plans to expand by 5-10 students.
• Increase opportunities for student internships and apprenticeships.
3.  Internship and job shadowing opportunities were explored at AHS.  Trips were taken to other districts with successful programs.  Changes were made in AHS teaching assignments for 2018-19 in order to offer more internships.
• Hire and retain highly qualified employees with competitive salaries, wages, and benefits.  Set goals to be made by 2019.
4. Administration of district departments met at various time and developed targeted starting salaries for employees in the district.  The information was reviewed with the Fiscal Committee.  Still awaiting school funding decisions from Topeka and final local LOB decisions.
KASB update
The State urged the Kansas Supreme Court to keep schools open, accept the new finance law and dismiss the Gannon lawsuit that has continued for eight years.
The Court ruled that the legislature must demonstrate it has met its constitutional obligations under Article 6 by June 30, 2018. The state created a new funding plan, and the parties were required to submit new briefs to the court by April 30, 2018. The court heard oral arguments on May 22, 2018. The court is deciding whether the new bill adequately and equitably funds public education in the state.
“When I’m asked what to expect, I have no clue on how to respond,” Dr. Black continued, “I don’t expect a quick decision.  And it will be interesting to see what the decision is.  School will probably be allowed to get started and we’ll get all of the normal processes done and make the most out of June and July.”
Black also shared that after years of denying that “money matters” in K-12 funding, the State finally conceded that it does.
“This (the concession) provides a new direction for the whole process,” Black added.
Fees approved
Board members also approved recommended 2018-2019 student fees for elementary, AMS, and AHS.
Special meeting
Board members will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, at the district office for an end of the fiscal year special meeting.