Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

District OKs agreements with agencies

December 28, 2006

The Lansing School District and several local agencies solidified their working relationships this month with the renewal of operating agreements between them.

School Board members voted 6-0, with board member Craig Gephart absent, to approve agreements with the city of Lansing, Lansing Correctional Facility and the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative during the board's monthly meeting Dec. 11.

A memorandum of understanding between Lansing Police and the school district provides guidelines for school and law enforcement officials pertaining to school matters.

Superintendent Randal Bagby told board members the document helps define the roles of each party.

"The city of Lansing, and the Police Department and the school district work very, very well together. It's one of the best I've seen in a while," he said. "However, I think it's important for you to know that our role with working with kids is we're more about social/emotional and theirs is more statutory : "

The memorandum outlines the responsibilities of each party, including when school officials will contact law enforcement authorities. It specifically addresses the use and possession of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, as well as personal safety involving threats, weapons and physical violence.

For example, the document states that district personnel will report possession of illegal drugs to the police and "immediately call the police via 911" in "all cases of dangerous weapon possession."

Bagby said there were some instances when school officials have discretion on whether to contact law enforcement.

"If it's something such as drugs or violence, it's really a no-brainer. We'll call them," he said, adding there are some situations - such as a shoving match on the playground - that might not warrant a call to the police. "As professionals, sometimes we're called upon to make a judgment."

In a separate vote, the board approved the renewal of an agreement between the city and the school district regarding the use of facilities and equipment. The document states the parties will not be subject to user fees, but cleaning and damage deposit rules will apply.

The board also approved the renewal of an agreement between the district and Lansing Correctional Facility related to inmate labor at the Lansing schools.

The agreement, which has been renewed annually since the late 1980s, provides guidelines about inmate supervision, communication and eligibility for employment.

Bagby told the board that when he came to the district in 2004, he worked with LCF officials and revised the criteria defining inmate eligibility for the program.

He said inmates who had been convicted of violent or sexual crimes against people and/or drug possession with intent to distribute were ineligible for the program.

The guidelines have become so rigid, he said, that the number of available positions at times has exceeded the number of available inmates.

Aside from the agreement, School Board member Richard Whitlow asked Bagby what steps the district takes to ensure that its employees haven't been convicted of sex crimes or violent crimes against children.

Bagby told the board that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation screens all permanent employees before they report for duty.

The board also approved a cooperating district agreement among the six Leavenworth County schools districts participating in the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative.

The contract establishes a legal, organizational and financial framework for the districts to operate within the co-op.

"We needed a few language changes to accommodate the New Beginnings building," Bagby said, referring to the facility located at the Lansing Business Center.

The Lansing School District owns the building, which houses the co-op's school for students with special needs.

Other districts in the co-op are Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth, Easton, Basehor-Linwood and Tonganoxie.

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