Groundbreaking set for school projects
Contracts have been executed and work has finally begun on the long-awaited construction of the Lansing school district's new elementary school and high school auditorium.
Now it's time to celebrate.
At the Lansing School Board's monthly meeting Monday, district officials announced a ceremonial groundbreaking for noon Thursday, Sept. 21, at the elementary school site on West Mary Street. The ceremony will commemorate the groundbreaking of the high school auditorium addition as well.
McPherson Contractors and its subcontractors already have begun work on the project, which voters approved through a $23.6 million bond referendum in April 2005.
School board president Shelly Gowdy said she hoped the public would attend the celebration.
Superintendent Randal Bagby told board members that Durham School Services had donated transportation for more than 600 elementary school students who would attend the ceremony.
The students will receive sack lunches to enjoy during the field trip to the site of their new school, Bagby said.
"It's going to be a good day," he said.
Work at the sites - on district-owned property on West Mary Street and at the high school - will occur simultaneously. The estimated completion date for the elementary school is Dec. 10, 2007. The high school auditorium is scheduled to be completed Jan.15, 2008, with its high school band room slated for a Dec. 10, 2007, completion.
Bagby told the board he was working with Jeff Andrews, technology coordinator for the district, to install webcams at the construction site.
Webcams will keep the public informed of the construction, and as a side benefit provide a measure of security at the site, Bagby said.
Also at Monday's board meeting, Bagby provided a report on preliminary enrollment figures.
Unofficial Lansing school district enrollment figures show Lansing's four schools' headcount up 3 percent, from 2,113 to 2,174 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Preliminary out-of-district student enrollment figures show a decrease from 130 to 109 students.
Bagby said the date for official district enrollment headcount is Sept. 20.
The district's audited full-time equivalent enrollment count is used by the Kansas Legislature to appropriate state funds.
The board heard a report from assistant superintendent Donna Hughes on the district's Adequate Yearly Progress.
AYP, a federal mandate of the No Child Left Behind law, is based on reading and math scores from testing conducted in the spring.
Lansing students in third through eighth grades and sophomores took the math assessment, and 82.8 percent were deemed proficient or above. That's compared with 74.6 percent of students who were deemed proficient or above statewide.
Lansing students in third through eighth grades and juniors took the reading assessment, and 90.2 percent were deemed proficient or above. That's compared with 80.5 percent of students who were deemed proficient or above statewide.
Board member Craig Gephart complimented Lansing Elementary School teachers and principal Tim Newton for the high proficiency levels students had achieved as early as third grade.
Hughes said she thought the test results demonstrated that the district's curriculum was aligned with the state's.
By 2014, schools are required to reach 100 percent proficiency to be in compliance with No Child Left Behind standards.
Hughes also reported on preliminary district scores for Building Standard of Excellence, a set of benchmarks set by the Kansas State Board of Education.
A certain percentage of students taking the exams must fall into categories of basic, proficient, advanced and exemplary.
Hughes told the board that more than 50 percent of the district's grades met the Building Standard of Excellence.
"We did better on the reading side than we did on the math side," Hughes said.
Final numbers will be released later this fall.
The district will hold a board retreat from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Holiday Inn in Lansing.
Steve Wyckoff, a nationally known speaker on education, will speak during the event.
In other action, the board:
¢ Heard a presentation from Kris Logan, parent of Heather Bennett, Lansing High School senior. Logan read a letter from Bennett explaining the benefits of her involvement in the 20/20 Leadership program. Bennett was the only junior participant in the program from Leavenworth County last year and the only senior participant from Leavenworth County this year. They asked the board for support to help encourage more participation from LHS and Leavenworth High School.
¢ Heard acknowledgments from school principals. Jan Jorgensen, Lansing Intermediate School principal, thanked the Lansing Educational Foundation Fund for awarding a grant to purchase a $500 wireless InterWrite School Pad for use in LIS classrooms. Tim Newton, Lansing Elementary School principal, thanked the Lansing Educational Foundation Fund for awarding a grant to purchase two AlphaSmart keyboards, which help students with motor or writing difficulties communicate in the classroom.
¢ Heard a report on the construction fund. Bagby told the board the fund would be seeing more activity with the upcoming construction on the new elementary school and high school auditorium.
¢ Approved site council membership appointments at Lansing Elementary School, Lansing Intermediate School, Lansing Middle School and Lansing High School
¢ Approved the Certified Staff Handbook and Crisis Handbook
¢ Approved the Kansas Association of School Boards recommended board policy updates as amended to include the University of St. Mary on the list of schools that eligible students may be released from school to attend
¢ Appointed board member Beth Stevenson the Kansas Association of School Boards 2006 delegate to the annual convention in Wichita and appointed the rest of the board as alternates.
¢ Approved two early graduation requests
¢ Approved applications for out-of-district students to attend Lansing schools
¢ Approved the substitute teacher list
¢ Approved appointments of Courtney Rodgers, LMS assistant volleyball coach; Walter Armstrong, LMS assistant football coach; Chris Elliot, LMS assistant girls basketball coach; and Larry Goodman, LHS assistant drama sponsor.
As part of its consent agenda, the board unanimously:
¢ Approved minutes from the Aug. 14, Aug. 22 and Aug. 28 meetings
¢ Approved bills for the month
¢ Approved the clerk's financial, treasurer's, investment of securities and miscellaneous reports
¢ Approved the resignation of Jeffrey Hurley, Lansing Middle School custodian; approved recommendations to hire Robert Papkow and Denise Montour, custodians; and approved the transfer of Joshua Bagby, custodian/maintenance.