Exciting announcement made at Monday's BOE meeting

A special announcement was the highlight of Monday’s Augusta Board of Education meeting.  Representatives from Butler Community College were in attendance at the meeting as the plans for a new Culinary Arts Academy, to be located at the district’s Central Kitchen at the high school, were revealed.
The partnership of Butler Community College, USD 402 and Opaa! Food Management is providing this hands-on engaged learning and college and career opportunities.
Opaa! Food Management specializes in serving the nutritional needs of K-12 school districts.
Superintendent John Black reminded board members that over the past several years, the BOE has identified as a board goal to increase college and career opportunities for students to increase student internships.  Another related goal focused on improving community relationships.
Augusta High School Principal Donna Zerr stated, “We’re so excited about this new opportunity for Augusta High School students and the Central Kitchen is the ideal place...Students will be able to attain an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts when they graduate from high school...Butler’s Culinary Arts Department is highly respected.”
Zerr explained that juniors and seniors will be able to take the course and there will be 16 slots the first year.
Business items
Each year the district’s Needs and Priority Lists, 5 Year Building Maintenance List, and the Capital Outlay Maintenance Balances are updated and used to guide decisions related to the use of the Capital Outlay fund.
Dr. Black said that building administrators provide information and suggestions to the Needs and Priority Lists on a regular basis.
“The lists provide consistent maintenance to the buildings and athletic facilities, and a second purpose is to plan for expensive projects over time,” Dr. Black added, “The documents will become more public and we will post them on the website for viewing.”
Board members approved the updated Capital Outlay documents for 2018-2019.
 The district office staff has been evaluated Skyward School Business Suite software for a couple of years and visited with other districts as they have moved to the software.  
“This will be a huge project to make the switch, but we feel it will be very beneficial in the long run,” Black stated.
Annette Powers, District Director of Finance, advised board members that the new software would be a sound replacement for the current system.  The School Business Suite software includes various functions including Finance, Employee Access and Management, Benefits, Payroll, Timekeeping, Salary Negotiations, Substitute Tracking, Fast Track, and School Based Activity Accounting.  Fixed Assets tracking is also available and can be added later.
The price of the new software will be $18,125 more per year, but a one-time cost can be split over two years and will include set up, training, and transition.
“It will take all of us to learn our parts, and it’s going to be hard, but we will a lot more capability than what we have now,” Powers said.
The board approved the new software and the new system is expected to go live in July 2019.
Secretary/Dispatcher for Transportation
Currently the secretary/dispatcher hours at the district’s Transportation Department are 5:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. and then 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., as a split shift.  
There are a number of routes, Early Childhood, Special Education, and college routes happen during that time when the secretary/dispatcher is off duty.  
“We’ve added more mid-day routes this year so more staff are in and out of the office and are out driving...We’re short on drivers/aides and the current secretary/dispatcher has been covering driving routes and as an aide as needed, which has created more overtime for that position,” explained Matt Ward, Assistant Superintendent.
Board members approved added a part time secretary/dispatcher position in order to help with missed calls from parents, not leaving the front desk unmanned during business hours, and to cover the current position when the employee calls in sick or goes on vacation.  The new position hours will be 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.  The starting rate for this position is $10 an hour.
Suspensions and expulsions
Matt Ward discussed the district’s Suspension/Expulsion guidelines pertaining to students’ drug offenses and asked:
•  What can we do differently to support these students?
• How can we provide appropriate supports for Augusta students?
• Where can students go to stay connected and supported?
• How can we improve communication during the process?
Board member Carey Lee voiced concern about recommending specific treatment and support facilities, but Ward explained that most districts to provide a list of facilities and that many parents faced with the difficult situation don’t have or take the time to go through an extensive list of treatment places.
The following language was approved:
“As a condition of continued enrollment in the district, students shall abide by the terms of this policy. Students shall not unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess or use illicit drugs, controlled substances or alcoholic beverages on school district property, or at any school activity. Any student violating the term of this policy will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement officials, and will be subject to suspension and/or expulsion
First Offense: Possession/use of illicit drugs
An expulsion recommendation will be presented to the USD 402 hearing committee.
Minimum 45 school day suspension, up to 90 school days.
A student placed on long term suspension under this policy may be readmitted on a probationary status if the student agrees to complete an evaluation and the recommended treatment from an authorized drug treatment facility (paid by the parent). If the violator has proof of completion of the evaluation and recommended substance therapy the student will be readmitted to school upon completion (no sooner than 45 school days).
If a violator does not complete an evaluation and the recommended therapy, the student will be suspended for 90 school days.
A list of treatment facilities will be provided.
Second Offense: Possession/Use of Illicit Drugs
An expulsion recommendation will be presented to the USD 402 hearing committee.
A punishment up to and including expulsion from school (186 school days).
First Offense: Distribution/Sales/Trafficking of Illicit Drugs
An expulsion recommendation will be presented to the USD 402 hearing committee.
A punishment up to and including expulsion from school (186 school days).
All hearings can be appealed to the Board of Education within 10 days of the hearing result being published.”
Any new or updated information concerning suspensions and expulsions concerning will be posted on the district’s website and will be added to building handbooks.