Basehor-Linwood school board mulls 2014 budget decisions
The Basehor-Linwood School District Board of Education is looking at funding several improvement projects next year but must decide soon which are a priority.
According to Superintendent David Howard, the district will have $250,000 to $300,000 to spend from its capital outlay fund next year. But the district has a list of projects with a price tag of more than $425,000 — and that’s just for technology improvements. On top of that, Basehor Elementary School needs a new roof that Howard said will cost $300,000 and is likely to be funded by a bond.
Topping the list of technology needs is replacing teacher laptops, which would cost about $183,000. Howard said the staff’s current laptops are at least six years old. Adding to the technology wish list is replacing the Wi-Fi internet systems in all of the elementary schools, which is estimated to cost $60,000, along with the purchase of iPads for incoming 6th graders, which would cost $91,000.
The district has more money to spread around this year in comparison to last year, when only $190,000 was available, but the board will have to decide which projects are a priority. Howard presented the figures at Monday’s board meeting to make the entire board aware of the upcoming projects.
Technology was the center the discussion Monday night as three board members spoke about their recent trip to Wichita for the Kansas Association of School Boards Convention.
Board member Shelley Stevens said she, along with Board President Dayna Miller and board member Eric Dove, took tours of several schools that were taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology. Shelley said third graders were able to give a group of school board members a tour of a school and used iPads and other technology to show what they were learning. Dove said he saw some music departments using iPads and other technology to allow students to create music digitally.
“They were engaged, they had school pride, they used technology and they were on fire about learning,” Shelley said.
In other business at the board meeting:
•Several new course proposals for the 2014-2015 school year presented by BLHS Principal Sherry Reeves were approved with a 5-0 vote. One of the new course requirements will be that BLHS students must take a basic physical education class that teaches them the fundamentals of exercise and diet. Currently students have the option to take that class or a strength and conditioning class that Reeves says skips some of the basic elements of physical education. Another approved course change is the requirement for students in Algebra 1 classes to be in the class every day rather than go more than 24 hours between classes in the current block-schedule system. Reeves cited research that shows students need to practice the fundamentals of math daily to appropriately learn the concepts. The addition of another graphics design class that would allow students in the media technology pathway to engage in internships with the school district or other organizations was also approved. Additionally, another course was added to the culinary pathway program in partnership with Kansas City Kansas Community College.
• The board heard a presentation from Basehor’s two pre-schools. The presentation demonstrated how pre-school education is key to adjusting children to school life and how pre-school can help identify areas of need for students before they enter kindergarten.
•The board approved the addition of another assistant wrestling coach position at BLHS due to the number of students who joined the program this year (43).
• The board approved updated job descriptions for several maintenance positions, custodial positions and food service positions.
• The board unanimously approved the appointment of custodian Douglas Grier and unanimously approved the resignations of custodian Colleen Williams, BLHS football coach Steve Hopkins and BLHS math teacher Dough Earnhart.