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U-234 gets clean audit

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

After an auditor's review by Terry Sercer, it appears the USD 234 School District has all its financial ducks in a row. Sercer was on hand Monday for the regular USD 234 board meeting and had nothing but positive news for the overflow crowd.

"In accordance with the standards, you did not have any budget violations," Sercer, a CPA with Diehl, Banwart and Bolton, said. "I'm glad to say we had no statutory violations."

Sercer added that the district received and spent more than $1.9 million in federal money this past year.

Superintendent Diane Gross presented her monthly report, which included creation of a "social contract" within the district. About a dozen topics, ranging from kindess, accountability, integrity and dedication to students build the basis for the social contract, which is structured to be followed district-wide.

"I have seen it in action; I have been part of the experience and I can tell you there are dramatic results that will happen," Gross said.

Gross also reviewed her district goals, including:

* Assisting the staff in developing an aligned curriculum, one that would identify proven strategies in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

* Long-range facility planning for the district. Gross said she, Business Manager Tiffany Forester, Connie Billionis and maintenance staff will meet later this week to begin a report on findings from the recent school tours.

* How to get the community and families involved in the district's long-range plans.

* Technology

* Recruitment and retention of highly effective staff.

Gross also reported she has received nine applications for the position of business manager. Current business manager Tiffany Forester announced her resignation effective at the end of the semester. Gross said she will accept applications until Oct. 11.

After that day, Gross said she will select qualified applicants for interview by a committee. She plans to schedule those interviews sometime next week. Upon a suitable recommendation from the committee, Gross plans to hand over that recommendation to the board in November in hopes the new person would have time to train with Forester.

Gross also shared information and ideas she idea brought back from the Educational Summit at Greenbush last Wednesday, including what districts can do in advance of anticipated budget cuts next year.

"The governor's tax plan and what that is going to do to public education still continues to be a huge concern," Gross said.

She also commended Food Service Director Robin Button for her efforts in complying with federally mandated guidelines for nutrition in the schools. USD 234 includes unlimited fruits and vegetables and Gross said she is looking into a federal program which offers snacks for those participating in after-school activities.

Board President Janet Braun emphasized the importance of staying within the federal guidelines for nutrition.

"After looking at Terry Sercer's report (the audit review), it becomes apparent to me we need to follow the guidelines and get the reimbursement for the school lunch program," Braun said. "Those are big dollars there."

In other business:

* The enrollment count, released Sept. 20, was presented and showed a decrease of 22 students district-wide.

*Board members approved a Local Educational Agency agreement, which is required to receive about $360,000 in federal funds.

* USD 234 board members approved the purchase of a 2001 GMC van with 157,000 miles on it from Fort Scott Community College for use as a maintenance van. The current van is suffering from a plethora of mechanical issues.

* The board also approved the sale of two Pro Maxima Power Thruster racks by the Fort Scott High School athletic department. The equipment is seldom used and the department would like to purchase something that will be more widely used with the money from the sale.

* The board also approved the employment of Amanda Karlesknit as an occupational therapy paraeducator and an extended leave of absence for a family emergency through the first of the year for Amy Hixon, Fort Scott Middle School science teacher.

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