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MHS parking permits to remain at same price

Board also revises school club policy

By Bryan Richardson

Manhattan High parking permits will remain the same price during the next school year.

The USD 383 Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to keep parking prices at $50, a shift in approach from the last board meeting when three board members — Pete Paukstelis, Walt Pesaresi and Darell Edie — were prepared to raise the cost.

At the April 17 meeting, Paukstelis suggested a $100 fee, which Pesaresi supported. Edie said the cost didn’t have to be $100 but felt $50 was too cheap.

But no vote was taken at that meeting after board member Beth Tatarko, vice-president Curt Herrman and president Dave Colburn advocated a delay for additional study.

The change appeared to be based on information presented by Supt. Bob Shannon.

He said USD 383 already has the second highest parking fee in the state based on information from the Kansas Association of School Boards. The median fee is $14 and the average fee is $5.

Shannon also provided a look at how the district uses the parking revenue. The district has used $22,531 of the $22,610 collected from that source for security-related items.

He said $100 would have been a dramatic jump.

“If we were to make that kind of a jump to $100, I would like an opportunity to give a better idea and justification on how to we would use the money, so it could be explained to the parents,” he said.

Paukstelis said the conversation was a good one to have had. “Sometimes it’s useful to challenge your assumptions,” he said. “We do the same things over and over again because that’s what we always do.”

The board also approved first reading of student organization policy revisions. Those are intended to clarify the difference between the groups sponsored and initiated by the district (clubs) and those non-sponsored and initiated by the students (groups).

Under the revised policy, a district employee would supervise but not advise a non-sponsored group, a distinction from a school-sponsored club. Non-sponsored groups have meeting rights under the Equal Access Act, and the district must maintain a neutral viewpoint on them

The board also voted to keep school meal prices the same for next school year and it also approved first reading of 2013-14 school start and end times on a 6-1 vote.

The board approved returning to a 189-day school year after maintaining a 185-day schedule during the construction and renovation projects from the $97.5 million bond issue.

The middle schools and MHS would have their school day reduced by 10 minutes due to adding the four days. However, the elementary schools would maintain the same school day length due to the additional early release and professional development time being added for teachers.

Pesaresi dissented, saying he felt elementary schools were being penalized due to the actions of middle schools and MHS reducing by 10 minutes while the elementary schools did not.

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