Monthly Archives: June 2016

Enjoy a Star Spangled 4th in Hardtner

By REX ZIMMERMAN

It’s time to celebrate America! The town of Hardtner will hold its 58th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Monday, July 4, with activities planned for all day long. There are games and activities for all ages all day long both downtown and in beautiful Achenbach Park.

The celebration begins at 9:00 a.m. with the Little Firecracker Contest held at the American Legion Building downtown. Those young ladies will then join many, many other floats and entries at 10:00 a.m. for the big 4th of July Parade down Main Street. There is $1,000 in prize money to be awarded the best floats or entries.

The first clue in the Medallion Hunt will be given right after the parade.

At 11:00 a.m. the Veteran’s Program gets underway at the United Methodist Church. Veterans are always a special focus of the Hardtner 4th Celebration and this year the featured speaker will be WWII veteran and retired Kiowa physician Dr. M.D. Christensen.

Following the program, a free lunch will be held at the church beginning at noon. Yur Place will also be open for lunch on Monday.

A big Volleyball Tournament tips off at 12 noon at Achenbach Park and there is Free Swimming at the spacious Hardtner Pool from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Achenbach Park will be the focus of an entertaining afternoon as Bike Races get started at 2:00 p.m. followed by Turtle Races at 3:00 p.m.

Free BBQ Beef Sandwiches will begins serving at the Park at 4:00 p.m., followed by the annual White Elephant Auction at 5:00 p.m. Donations are still needed for the auction, which is the primary fundraiser for the fireworks show each year. If you have items to donate, contact Syd Sterling at Yur Place.

If you are a vendor, you are welcome to set up your stand at the park on Monday.

At dark, the best fireworks show in Southern Kansas celebrates our American heritage as thousands will watch the festivities, accompanied by patriotic music. Other entertainment for the evening will be provided by Local Boyz Entertainment with music for all ages.

Finances Still Undecided But BOE Still Busy Preparing for School Year

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The U.S.D. 255 Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, June 13, 6:00 p.m. at the central office. Board members in attendance were Mark Pollock, Dooli Rugg, Mariah Doherty, Mike Miller and Deb Helfrich, along with board president Steve Allen.

7-12 Building Report

Following approval of previous minutes and current agenda and payment of bills totaling $362,132.54, the board heard the 7-12 building report from principal, Brent Shaffer. He reported that Driving Education is in progress with 15 students enrolled. The class work is completed and he said students are now driving.

He gave a report on the outstanding results of South Barber athletes at state. All eight athletes that attended, whether in relays or individual events, scored points and received medals.

Dr. Williams Give Update

Superintendent Dr. Andi Williams reported to the board that the district is again fully accredited through June 30, 2017 as the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation works on implementing a new program. She said the new system will have less focus on scores.

Dr. Williams next discussed teacher professional development and survey results, and said the EdGE technology summer teacher camp will be held July 27 and 28. Teachers will be paid $100 per day to attend and upgrade their technology Moving to finances, the superintendent said she feels confident about the district’s finances after meeting with auditor Randy, who said the district was “in pretty good shape” heading into the end of the fiscal year.

The district will still lose around $175,000 in operating funds from the drop in valuation – but that is better than the $300,000 drop that was expected.

“The $175,000 is what we didn’t receive (from mineral production taxes) and it will become at this point what I ask for in extraordinary needs funding.” Dr. Williams added that the district would still have to increase the mill levy rate from the present 6 mills to possibly just over the state average of 19 mills, in addition to receiving the extraordinary needs funds from the state.

The auditor also gave the go ahead to make final year end purchases, including expanding the Envision math program (already used in grades K-6) with newest copyrighted materials, digital resources paid out over a six year contract which calls for materials to be updated regularly.

Superintendent Williams said the district will pay “one money” for the program and she did some figuring to determine that it would come out to about $18 per student for the next six years. There is also a good amount of free material that comes with the purchase of the program, she said. The district has the option to set up a payment plan that meets its budget needs.

Dr. Williams next addressed the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that the Kansas Legislature’s adopted school financing plan still did not meet the court’s guideline of a fair and equitable education for all Kansas students.

“As you may know, the legislature is going into special session on June 23 That is all we know,” she said. She said the district will try to keep it “business as usual” and be ready to do a few things if we need to, including paying salaries for work already done by the end of June with funds already available.

Negotiations with certified staff are completed, she continued, and the high school foreign language opening is still vacant. Dr. Williams said the district will continue to look for the best instructor available for that position, but could consider online foreign language as a temporary solution. The district has one applicant for the open math position, she said.

Dana Dunn from P1 Group met with Superintendent Williams. The corroded gas pipe project on the roof of the high school was taken off the list of items to do on the high school “Master Plan” as she requested the pipe be taken care of as soon as possible as a safety issue.

She then asked the board for their thoughts on how they wanted to proceed with the high school improvements – their priorities, and if they wanted to lump several projects together or to do a series of small projects over time.

Board members mentioned the heating and air conditioning system as a possible top project, but most felt with district finances still uncertain it might be a bit too early to commit to any large projects. They felt some of the smaller projects might be possible. Keeping any work local as possible was also suggested by board members.

Superintendent Williams will get the board a revised list of priorities for their review.

Steve Allen gave a report on the recent SCK-SEC meeting, and heard no objections to remaining with the group despite an increase in cost to the district.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved Steve Roberts and Tammy Angell for the two summer help positions.
  • Accepted the resignation of high school cook Dominique Thompson, with no replacement planned. Dr. Williams said based on other food services, the number of students we have and meals served, the district is still overstaffed. She said she is still looking into ways to conserve in that area. A brief discussion also included the quality and amount of food served students.
  • Approved the revised district calendar.
  • Approved the building handbooks for the K-6 and high school with changes. High school principal Brent Shaffer noted one change was that cell phones will not be allowed to be used in classrooms as they can cause a distraction, along with other changes that were discussed by the board.
  • Approved a request from an alumni group to use a school bus to tour the Hazelton-Hardtner-Kiowa area during Labor Day weekend. The group would pay for a driver from the school and fuel and sign an agreement the district already has in place. Such alumni requests have previously been approved.
  • Approved retired teacher Jeannie Albright to purchase an original sketch signed by noted Kansas artist Birger Sandzen that she had found years ago behind a desk and has been hanging in her room for several years. She said after contacting a gallery concerning the value of the artwork, she found it to be worth approximately $500.

Board member Mike Miller noted that after all the work Mrs. Albright had done for the district “I don’t have a problem with handing it to her and saying thank you.” Board voted to sell the drawing to Mrs. Albright for one dollar.

  • Agreed to allow a few rooms at the high school be used for EMT training on July 9.
  • Approved a request to use the football field area for soccer games one Saturday in April, 2017. The agreement is for around eight playing areas and the football field itself would not be used.
  • Had a first read on 16 KASB policy updates.
  • Approved the use of the gymnasium facilities at the high school and elementary school for summer league basketball.

In final action, the board held an executive session to discuss negotiations and approved them as presented after coming back into regular session.

Council Hears Reports, Discusses Pole Damage Concerns at Monthly Meeting

By REX ZIMMERMAN

The Kiowa City Council faced a light agenda as it met for its regular monthly meeting on June 6. Members present were Bill Watson, Tom Wells, R.L. Simpson, Brian Hill and Russ Molz, along with Mayor Brandon Farney.

In opening action, council approved previous minutes and the agenda, and after discussion approved bills for payment including late additions.

Administrator’s Report

Lou Leone presented his report and noted that the city electric crew has switched out 32 poles in two months, compared to far fewer the previous year. Having a dedicated electric crew has been a big asset, he said.

Drainage problems have cropped up again throughout the city after the very wet spring, and the city is seeking input from a couple of engineering firms on long-term ways to correct the problems.

Application to the Kansas Corporation Commission for certification of the city’s electric grid has been filed and Mr. Leone said he anticipates completion by July.

Staff attended a state sponsored class in Hays on June 3 relating to the 2017 budget, and credit due the city from overcharges for electricity from KMEA have started to show up. The April overcharges appeared on the city’s June bill and the January through March overcharges are scheduled to appear on he July bill.

The Kiowa Swimming Pool is open and Mr. Leone thanked everyone who worked hard to make sure it was ready. A few leaks have appeared, but it is believed they are the result of old piping that has not been replaced in recent pool upgrades.

City staff is working with Fire Chief Bill Duvall and Asst. Chief Roger Robison on ways to improve the city’s insurance rating, which is now an ISO 6 rating. He felt that with just a little work, such as additional firefighter training and upgraded equipment, the city could get down to a Grade 5 rating. Each improvement in ISO rating also improves insurance premiums for both the city and its residents. The city administrator also said. The city administrator also said that he plans to apply for grants for obtaining new fire vehicles when the registration period begins in November.

An inspection at the Kiowa Senior Center has found areas that need improvement, including windows that leak throughout the building. John Terwort is doing an inspection to see what else is needed and Mr. Leone will report back to the council with the findings.

The recently purchased dump truck should be available to the city at the end of the month. It is located in Sioux City, IA. The skid loader that was also purchased won’t be available until late July or August, but Mr. Leone said he is hoping PrairieLand Partners can fine a loaner skid loader the city can use until the new one arrives.

The roadway on Commercial Street was also discussed and the city plans to use rock such as gypsum or limestone to help improve the driving surface. Nuisance property letters have also been sent out for such items as not mowing yards. Mr. Leone said that some property owners don’t live here which makes the situation more difficult.

In other action, council approved the city administrator to attend a grant writing in Wichita August 4 & 5 and the $650 tuition fee, plus other appropriate expenses.

Mr. Leone also said the city is reviewing different programs to provide better tracking of city inventory, work orders, and managing city assets. One program he is interested in so far would cost $3,800 for initial setup and $1,500 a year in fees.

He also discussed the need for updating city codes, updating the city’s website, a 20 year strategic plan, and an agreement to increase the lease money the city received from the cell tower on Ellis Field from $529 to $1,250 per year.

The city administrator also noted that mosquito spraying is continuing on the first and third Tuesday mornings in Kiowa. The city has also begun spraying on Thursdays in Hardtner, but is waiting on official word from the Hardtner City Council to see if they wish to continue the service.

Council Discusses Pole Damage

As the meeting moved to concerns from individual council members, Bill Watson brought up an issue from a couple of months ago involving a utility pole and related equipment that was damaged several months ago when the homeowner damaged the pole and equipment by running into it with a skid loader.

The homeowner quickly reported the incident to the city and crews worked during the weekend to replace the pole and restore power to those affected.

Council had determined at the time that the homeowner would not be charged for the damaged utility pole as it was marked as a pole already scheduled to be replaced in the near future.

Councilman Watson presented a copy of a current city resolution that stated what fees the city would charge for use of various equipment, manpower, and work on weekend and holidays. He felt the resolution was not being followed and that the homeowner probably should owe more than he was charged by the city.

“We didn’t follow procedure,” Mr. Watson said. “We have it on the books.” He also noted that

After more discussion, the city administrator said he will look a the resolution to see how it applies to the incident in question.

In another council item, Councilman Molz said he is still getting complaints on pit bulls being in town. He said there had been a dog attack recently on a child that was “mauled” and that there was no “grey area” for having a pit bull in the city.

Kiowa does allow pit bulls if they are caged according to regulations in place, and the owner has a $50,000 insurance policy covering the animal.

In final action, council held an executive session with no action taken.

Superintendent Williams Gives Update on School Financing Plans Amid the Uncertainty Coming from Lawmakers

By ANDI WILLIAMS, Ed. D

Superintendent

South Barber U.S.D. 255

The current Kansas economy and the uncertainty of public school finance have left many patrons wondering about the future of South Barber Schools. For the first time in a long time, Kansas school administrators are unsure of how to make financial plans for their school districts. The administrators who were once able to plan for years in advance are now wondering about tomorrow.

Through Kansas Supreme Court (KSC) challenges, the Kansas Legislature has been charged with the duty of creating a constitutional funding system for Kansas Public Schools: their duty; to provide a system which is first equitable to all school districts, and then adequate. With regard to the first task, the KSC ruled the Legislature’s recent proposal was only in part equitable. As a result, the Legislature must return to the drawing board to create another submission. If they cannot propose what the KSC determines to be equitable, Kansas Public Schools cannot legally function with an unconstitutional financial framework. The responsibility lies completely with the Legislature.

More specifically, USD 255 has been monitoring the Kansas economic happenings. While we do not possess the crystal ball which tells us exactly what the future holds, we have created multiple possible budget scenarios to address current and future budget constraints. Those scenarios are fluid, changing as the dynamics of the Kansas economy changes.

The included graph depicts the school district valuation over the last eight years. As the district valuation increased, the Local Option Budget (LOB) mill rates decreased. Each year, the school district maximized the mill rate to generate the same cash funds as the year before. As assessed valuation decreased, the value of the mill also decreased, therefore requiring more mills to generate those same cash funds. Now that the oil production windfall is on the down-hill slide, the economy of USD 255 is returning to the status it had similarly in 2008.

Because the school district’s assessed valuation is expected to drop by nearly half for the second time in two years, property owners in the district can expect the LOB mill rates to increase dramatically. All of this county financial activity happens without a vote and is within the limits of the authority of the school district. By accessing Extraordinary Needs Funds last year, the district was able to keep the LOB mill rates at a state low of 6.1. That will not be the case for the upcoming school year. I will do what I can to keep the mill rates as low as possible while generating the same cash funds.

At all times, school district personnel do what we can to be as efficient as possible. Our number one goal will always be to provide the best rigorous education possible for our students. At the same time, we must be good stewards of the finances. We scrutinize financial decisions on a daily basis, reduce waste where we can, minimize utility expenses, streamline instructional purchases, and only hire for positions where absolutely needed. We value our educational staff and their daily contributions to the success of each student. We have not had to cut instructional positions but absorb where we can. Today’s economic demands force creativity on our part. Creativity is a good thing.

If you have specific questions, please contact me at the school district office any time. If I do not have the answers you need, I’ll find them.

South Barber Athletes Do Well at State Meet

Senior Kolton Pavlu placed 4th in shot put and 6th in discus at State.

Senior Kolton Pavlu placed 4th in shot put and 6th in discus at State.

Despite a heavy rain Friday afternoon that cancelled all the 1-2-3A events, South Barber competed well at the Kansas State Track & Field Championships at WSU Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

All of Friday’s devents were crammed into a busy Saturday for the Chieftains and Lady Chiefs.

Senior Kolby Pavlu placed 4th in the Shot Put with a throw of 44-6.5 ft. and was 6th in discus with a 125-08 effort.

Junior Gavin Doherty had a great 400 meter run to take 2nd place in 51.58 seconds. He was also 14th in the 200 meters in a time of 24.25 seconds.

For the Lady Chiefs, senior Nicole Blick took 8th in the 400 meters in 1:02.14. Freshman Morgan Polson took 15th in the Triple Jump with a leap of 31-09.75.

The 4×400 meter relay team of Nicole Blick, Sabrina and Savannah Hughbanks and Morgan Polson was 7th with a time of 4:20.75 and the 4×800 meter relay team of Morgan Polson, Nicole Blick, Bailey Roberts and Taylor Pollock placed 8th with a clocking of 10:48.97

The Chieftains were 14th overall with 16 points and the Lady Chiefs scored 4 points.

 

Hospital Board Elects Brenna May New Chairperson, Hears Reports

The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of KDH was called to order at 8:27pm May 19th, 2016 at the Community Building by Pat Myers. Board members present were Chantae Simpson, Brenna May, Jeff Miller and Jim Parker. Also present were Margaret Grismer, CEO, Janell Goodno, CFO, Melissa Stroh, PA, Heidi Courson, DON, Kim Balding, Manor Administrator and members of the press and public.

Jeff moved to add item 3a, Election of Officers, to the agenda; Chantae seconded; motion carried.

Election of Officers: Pat nominated Chantae for Chairperson; there was no second. Jeff nominated Brenna for Chairperson; Jim seconded; motion carried. Brenna May is our new Chairperson.

Chantae nominated Jeff for Vice-Chairperson; Pat seconded; motion carried. Jeff Miller is our new Vice-Chairperson.

Jim Parker will remain Secretary by acclamation and Chantae Simpson will remain Treasurer by acclamation.

Jeff moved to approve the minutes of the April 28th regular meeting; Chantae seconded; motion carried.

The Hospital Statistical Report was presented. April had 6 admits with 12 inpatient days and 2 swing bed admits with 16 days and 559 outpatient visits. The Clinic had 299 visits. The Manor currently has 22 residents.

The payment of hospital and manor bills was reviewed. Pat moved to approve as presented; Jeff seconded; motion carried. There were no uncollectible accounts for April. Pat moved to approve the bad debt accounts for April; Chantae seconded; motion carried.

The Hospital financials for April were reviewed. The Hospital had a total operating revenue of $209,114, operating expenses of $392,227, and non-operating revenue of $191,228 for a revenue in excess of expenses of $8116.

April financials for the Manor show a total operating revenue of $112,532, total operating expenses of $137,934, total non-operating revenue of $6048 for a revenue in excess of expenses of -$19,354. Pat moved to approve as presented; Chantae seconded; motion carried.

There was no Old Business, New Business nor Administrator Report.

The Rural Health Clinic has a requirement that the physician see twice as many patients as the mid-level. We will apply for an exemption as we are not currently compliant.

Manor Report: The Manor has 22 residents today with a new resident expected Monday. There is also a couple interested together in coming to the Manor. The childcare age requirement is being changed from 2 years to 19 months. There is half-price enrollment through May. The rates for childcare have been lowered slightly. The bus recently took 5 residents and 5 kids to the museum at Alva for a joint outing. Four CNA’s are interviewing next week. Our new DON for the Manor starts May 23rd. The carport will be installed Friday. The second phase of PEAK has started. Mobile Meals has at least one person that will need financial support. Serve safe training has been completed.

DON report: Robin Whitaker will assume the RMQA position. Holly will go to night shift and they will be at full staff at the Hospital. The Rural Health Clinic did 96 sports physicals including baseline concussion on all.

Medical Staff Appointments: None

The June regular Board meeting will be June 23rd at 7:00 pm at the KDH Clinic lobby.

At 9:08pm Chantae moved to adjourn; Jeff seconded; motion carried. The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

James E Parker, Secretary