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October School Board Reports — Week 3

The Kansas and Missouri State Boards of Education as well as eight local school boards met last week.

Kansas

Bonner Springs/Edwardsville

Highlight:

  • Routine responsibilities of governance

Hickman Mills

Highlight:

  • Received metal detector search log summary and police report

State Board of Education

Highlights:

  • Heard an update on the new Kansas Educator Evaluation Protocol (KEEP), the new teacher evaluation system that is in its second year as a pilot program. State education department staff have developed an online tool administrators at the 22 participating districts can use to help manage all the steps in the new process.
  • Heard a report from University of Kansas Professor Robert Harrington regarding his research on bullying and his plans to create a teacher certification program focusing on bullying prevention.
  • Heard an update on Kansas’ participation in development of the new national Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Heard a report on two Kansas State Department of Education programs intended to keep young people from becoming obese. The programs are K-FIT and Let’s Move in Kansas Schools.
  • Heard a report on the U.S. Department of Education’s new meal pattern recommendations. “Tremendous advancements in our understanding of what a healthy school meal should look like have occurred since the standards were last updated 15 years ago,” according to the state board’s agenda. “The new school meals are intended to be high in nutrients and adequate in calories, based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).”
  • Heard an update on the Kansas Writing Assessment, which starting this year will be available for students to take online in addition to the pencil-and-paper format. Increasing numbers of standardized tests now are being offered online, including those associated with the new national Common Core Standards, and students must learn to use this new testing format.
  • Revised state education department policies in order to clarify or remove inconsistencies.

Turner

Highlight:

  • Routine responsibilities of governance

Missouri

Blue Springs

Highlights:

  • Received financial audit for 2011-2012 school year
  • Considered approving the final budget for the 2012-13 school year
  • Considered revising the district policy governing “Use of School Buildings, Grounds and Equipment” and approving a new policy governing “Energy Management”

Grandview

Highlights:

  • Considered approving the annual update of the district’s assessment plan
  • Heard an update on the district’s application for a federal Race to the Top grant
  • Considered revising district policies

Lee’s Summit

Highlights:

  • Received the official enrollment report for the 2012-13 school year showing a slight decline (important, because the state bases funding on enrollment)
  • Received a report on the 2013 legislative priorities of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City (Lee’s Summit is a member)
  • Heard a finance committee update on selection of a site for a proposed new middle school

Liberty

Highlights:

Platte County

Highlight:

  • Heard a report regarding the “Budget Reduction Process.” Because the state has not fully funded its School Finance Formula, the district has had to draw upon reserves, and balances are dwindling. Administrators are concerned that the district may lose its “AA” credit rating, which keeps interest rates low on existing debt. Students, staff and community members will be included on committees making budget reduction recommendations to the school board. Although the district may need to reduce staffing, according to the report, “Personnel considerations (reduction of work force) will be dealt with through staff turnover and will not be a part of the public process.”

State Board of Education

Highlights:

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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