Archive for Thursday, November 13, 2008

State honors district with 31 awards

November 13, 2008

Basehor-Linwood School District has both a reason to celebrate and to view its immediate fiscal future with a bit of anxiety.

The school board members could pat themselves on the back at their Monday meeting for the district’s record number of 31 Standards of Excellence awards from the Kansas Department of Education. The awards represented success at the grade-school level for reading as well as science, math and reading through the middle school and high school levels.

“We are pretty pleased,” said Robert Albers, district superintendent. “We’ve improved from this past year, and I can tell you a lot of districts are glad when they get 10 of the awards. It represents ongoing improvement for the students throughout the district.”

The awards excitement was tempered in light of looming fiscal troubles. That’s because projected statewide revenue shortages could be as much as $230 million for the current 2008-09 fiscal year, which the board discussed. Those problems could extend into 2010, if the problems plaguing the staggering economy continue.

Albers said the state has “a lockbox” for 2009-2010 funding, but he feared someone “may just find a key’’ to those earmarked education monies.

He noted state tax revenues have dwindled because of capital-gains earnings losses and wage-tax losses, which reduce sales-tax receipts. In addition, general tax cuts have reduced revenues as well. In a 2002 revenue shortfall the Kansas Legislature cut spending but also passed a tax increase — something that may not be possible in this economy.

In other actions Monday the board:

• Heard a presentation by Albers on the possibility of utilizing a district “energy czar” to create and promote simple energy-saving policies to help the district save money on utility bills, as well as analyzing and making recommendations about any other ways to save on utility costs.

• Approved and accepted Murray & Sons Construction base bid of $16,937,700 for construction of the district’s new middle school. Murray & Sons constructed Glenwood Ridge Elementary School. The board also approved subcontractors for the project, with bids coming to $1,029,725 for a total project cost of $17,967,425.

• Approved a motion to pursue a design-build contract with Straub Construction for the new district wellness and fitness center, which will house weight-training equipment as well as cardiovascular workout equipment.

• Discussed several resolutions to be introduced in the Dec. 5-6. general assembly of the Kansas Association of School Boards. Those resolutions included analysis of school finance for student achievement, state tax and budget policy, early childhood initiatives, finding high quality educators, strategies for student achievement and fundamental changes that might be made to the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.

• Discussed the process and timeline for hiring a new principal for Basehor- Linwood Middle School. Current principal Mike Boyd is being promoted to assistant district superintendent for the next school year. Dave Howard is moving from current assistant superintendent to replace Albers, who retires June 5, 2009.

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