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November School Board Meetings — Week 3


The Kansas State Board of Education and 21 local school boards met during the third week of November.


State Board of Education


  • Considered adopting an official state definition of the phrase “College and Career ready.” Districts throughout the state are phasing in the new national Common Core Standards, which the state board has adopted and which require a focus on college and career readiness.
  • Heard a report on Kansas Learning Network changes, required as a condition for the state to receive a federal waiver of requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The network is the model for assistance to schools and districts struggling to close achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students.
  • Heard an update on the new national Next Generation Science Standards, which the state is helping to develop.
  • Heard a report on recent state legislative meetings, including the School Efficiency Task Force and the Legislative Educational Planning Committee.
  • Considered scheduling a meeting to hear public concerns regarding regulations proposed to govern the use of seclusion and restraint as behavior control methods in public schools.
  • Discussed the teaching of cursive writing in public schools.



  • Routine responsibilities of governance

Blue Valley


  • Considered approval of legislative positions for the upcoming session.

Bonner Springs/Edwardsville


  • Heard a report on the district’s annual financial audit

De Soto


  • Considered approving a resolution to place a Local Budget Option (LOB) change on next April’s ballot. The purpose of the change is to replace at least part of the revenues the district has been receiving from an Xordinary Growth fund, which is being phased out. According to the report on the resolution presented by Ken Larsen, the district’s finance director:

The only remaining funding available to USD 232 is the Cost of Living funding for ‘high cost living area’s’ as designated by the State of Kansas. USD 232 would have been eligible for $1,849,705 from this source in FY 12-13. In order to access this funding USD 232 must have authority for a 31% LOB. We currently have authority for a 30% LOB. The authority for a 31% LOB must be voter approved. IF USD 232 could gain voter approval for a 31% LOB it would gain approximately $375,000 in LOB funding and could then levy the Cost of Living funding of $1,849,705 for a total revenue of $2,224,705, which is $123,306 less than we currently receive from the Xordinary Growth funds, but would effectively offset the loss of these funds. There would be no increase in taxes; rather there would be a small decrease in the mill levy.

  • Heard an update on De Soto high school’s Phase II construction, which is funded by the sale of bond debt approved by voters.
  • Heard a report on changes to student meals required by the federal government’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. According to the report:

The urgency and importance of these changes are in direct response to the fact that nearly 1 in 3 American children (ages 2-19) are overweight or obese. This number has almost tripled since 1980 per statistics collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If this trend continues, these children may be the first generation in the modern era to have an average life expectancy that is less than their parents — up to  years less — as reported by the National Institute for Health.

  • Considered spending a little more than $135 million on new high school math textbooks that instructors plan to use when they start teaching according to the new national Common Core standards next year.
  • Heard a report on the change to new district and school accountability standards the state adopted in order to qualify for a waiver of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
  • Heard a report on proposed changes to teacher and administrator evaluations that area required as a result of the state receiving its waiver of the NCLB requirements.



  • Considered approving changes to projects being funded by the sale of school bonds approved by voters.

Kansas City


  • Considered revising district policies governing “School District Organization” and “School Board Operations.”



  • Heard a report regarding the district’s audit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.



  • Received a report regarding the Kansas Association of School Boards proposed public policy positions for the upcoming session of the state legislature.
  • Heard a report from some principals about how transition to new national Common Core Standards is changing instruction in their schools.
  • Considered refinancing some existing school bond debt in order to save money on interest rates.

Shawnee Mission


  • Unanimously approved a platform for the 2013 session of the state legislature.
  • Hired Ray and Associates to assist in the search for a new district superintendent.

Spring Hill


  • Approved boundary changes necessitated by the building of a new elementary school scheduled to open next fall. All voted in favor of the proposed boundary changes except for Chris Nay, who cast the sole dissenting vote. According to the meeting agenda:

The Spring Hill School District is been growing consistently even through the recession. The community passed a school bond issue in 2011 to build a new elementary school. The building will be ready for occupancy in July of 2013. This will require some changes in elementary boundaries. The community, parents and staff have all had multiple opportunities to provide feedback and input on the elementary school boundaries for the 2013-2014 school year through personal meetings, the USD 230 web page and social media. Over 100 written comments were received and were studied by the Board and Administration. Through studying those comments, scenario #4 was developed and discussed on October 9. Scenario 4 seemed to address most if not all of the concerns expressed.

  • Approved hiring Olsson and Associates to provide engineering services required for parking lot renovations at Prairie Creek Elementary School, Spring Hill High School, Spring Hill Middle School, Spring Hill Intermediate School, Spring Hill Elementary School, Hilltop Education Center, and Board of Education Office. All board members voted in favor of this decision except for Max Strausbaugh, who cast the sole dissenting vote. Funding for this project will come from the sale of school bond debt approved by voters.
  • Unanimously approved spending $116,283.28 on technology infrastructure for Wolf Creek Elementary School, which is currently under construction. Funding for this project comes from the sale of school bond debt approved by voters.
  • Discussed possible new names for middle school buildings: Spring Hill Middle School North and Spring Hill Middle School South.
  • Announced the districts second annual State of the District Breakfast, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at Hilltop Education Center. According to the agenda:

The breakfast will feature updates about the academic progress of district students, activities, and key initiatives as well as more information about the progress of bond-related projects.  After the formal presentation, members of the audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of school district officials.

Members of the community and business partners are welcome to attend, and RSVPs are requested by Nov. 21st. To reserve your seat, please email  or call 913.592.7258.

While there is no charge to attend the breakfast, sponsorships and donations are suggested, and all proceeds benefit the Spring Hill Education Foundation. The following levels are available:

  • $500 – Gold Level Sponsor, Recognition in all materials and a reserved table for six
  • $250 – Purple Level Sponsor, Recognition in all materials plus three seats
  • $100 — Friends of the Foundation, All donors will be listed on promotional materials and receive a reserved seat

Please note that all contributions are tax deductible within federal limits. The foundation is a 501C3 corporation. Your contribution may be made payable to the Spring Hill Education Foundation, and checks can be sent to SHEF, Attn. Christine Splichal, 101 E. South Street, Spring Hill, KS 66083. To make a donation online, visithttp://usd230.revtrak.net/tek9.asp.


Blue Springs


  • Considered hiring Novak Birks, P.C., to conduct the district’s audit for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Excelsior Springs


  • Approved publication of a notice informing the public of school board elections scheduled for next April as well as the filing deadline for candidates. All voted in favor of publication of this notice except for Stephen Houck, who abstained.

Fort Osage


  • Heard a report related to the district’s state accreditation.
  • Heard a report on the district’s application for a federal Race to the Top grant.
  • Heard a report on projects funded by school bond debt approved by district voters.
  • Heard a report on the district’s annual financial audit.
  • Considered approving revision of the district’s policy governing “Curriculum for Gifted and Talented Students.”
  • Announced the deadline for candidates interested in running for school board seats. According to the agenda:

Residents of the district who wish to serve one of the three-year terms on the Board of Education may file their candidacy at the Gragg Administrative Office during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday on the dates listed below:Tuesday, 8:00 a.m., December 11, 2012 through Friday, 4:00 p.m., December 21, 2012,
Thursday, 8:00 a.m., January 3, 2012 through Tuesday, 5:00 p.m., January 15, 2013.Candidates must be resident taxpayers of the district, must have resided in Missouri for one year preceding the election, and must be at least twenty-four years of age. The three-year terms of Sharon Dankenbring and Carol Marcks expire in April 2013. The annual election date will be Tuesday, April 2, 2013.



  • Considered revising district policies.
  • Announced upcoming board of education election scheduled for next April.

Hickman Mills

  • Received an energy conservation report. Utility costs are among most school districts’ largest expenses, second only to salaries.
  • Considered approving publication of the legal notice announcing dates beginning Tuesday, December 18, and ending Tuesday, January 15, for candidates wishing to file for seats on the district board of education. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, 2013.
  • Received a metal detector search log summary.
  • Received a police activity summary report.



  • Considered revising district policies and regulations.

Kansas City


Lee’s Summit


  • Unanimously approved a district platform for the 2013 session of the state legislature.

North Kansas City


  • Unanimously approved district policy revisions suggested by the Missouri School Boards Association.
  • Received an update on the district’s progress in complying with the requirements of the state’s new  Missouri School Improvement Program 5.

Platte County


  • Routine responsibilities of governance.


  • Considered revising a list of district policies governing topics such as “District Wellness Program,” “Suspension of Professional Staff Members” and “Reporting and Investigating Child Abuse/Neglect.”


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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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