USD 383 Board gives final approval to new district lines

By Bryan Richardson

USD 383 now has new district lines in place for elementary schools after the school board unanimously passed the map at its meeting Wednesday.

The redistricting effort, which will take place next school year, is designed to add more students to Lee Elementary after its post-construction building growth.

The following neighborhoods are moving (with the school they are moving from and to in parenthesis):

Amherst (Amanda Arnold to Bergman); Colonial Gardens and Country Meadows (Bluemont to Lee); Rocky Ford, Tuttle Creek Blvd. and Valleywoood (Lee to Marlatt); Brookville (Northview to Lee); and Deep Creek North, Deep Creek South, Dempsey, Fairmont, KS-177, KS-177 South, Lafayette, Lake Elbo, McDowell Creek, Military Trail, Moritz, Pillsbury Crossing, US-24 North, US-24 South and Zeandale (Woodrow Wilson to Bluemont).

At the next meeting, the board will address student transfer policy and procedures. The discussion will have implications for how much priority students slated to change schools will receive, with a particular focus on current fifth graders.

Board president Doug Messer said he would be in favor of allowing the 10 seventh graders who would have to change middle schools to stay at their current school. However, Messer said it would be problematic to do the same with the 44 fifth grade students who would change schools.

Board member Pete Paukstelis said he wanted to see those students included on the transfer priority list. He said the students wouldn’t get the request if there isn’t space.

“The question is where on the priority list would a fifth grader who wants to stay in their school as a sixth grader go,” Paukstelis said.

Board member Walt Pesaresi said it’s more important to start getting the students acclimated rather than waiting until the last minute for a transfer to go through. “Start driving by that school daily and point it out them,” he said as advice to parents.

iPad grants

Some USD 383 schools will be getting iPads to facilitate student learning after the board approved the proposal by a 5-1 vote with Curt Herrman dissenting.

Thanks to grant money, Northview, Bergman, Ogden, Amanda Arnold and Marlatt elementary schools as well as STEM Summer Institute, College Hill Preschool, ESL/MEP and the teaching and learning department would be the recipients of these iPads.

Northview, Bergman and Ogden all received 21st Century Community Learning Center grants from the Kansas State Department of Education. Lee and Theodore Roosevelt, in collaboration with Boys’ and Girls’ Club, also received the grants.

The district will buy 310 iPads and 13 Learning Labs from Apple for nearly $200,000. The funding comes from CLC grants, the Department of Defense Education Activity STEM grant, Best Buy partnership, capital outlay, at-risk and title funds.

Herrman said he wouldn’t vote in favor because he wanted to hold off on buying the iPads until the new version came out, which he heard would happen in March. “I don’t like buying obsolete equipment and I think we can wait a little bit longer,” he said.

Carol Adams, executive director of teaching and learning, said the iPads need to be ready at schools by June 1 to be in compliance with the grant requirements.

Adams said thereís no guarantee that the new iPads would be ready in time for the district. ìWe felt that waiting jeopardizes our compliance with the grants and we want to move ahead,î she said.


Construction at MHS East

The board approved the completed construction documents for Manhattan High East Campus. This decision comes more than two months later initially planned due to project redesign.

Construction officials informed the board in November about their feelings that the district could get more for its money with a revamping of the plan. MHS East is the last major renovation project under the $97.5 million bond issue.

The delay allowed for new documents to be drawn accommodating new aspects to the project, which includes complete gym renovation and adjustments to how the main building will be renovated.

Herrman said it ìbugs himî that the gym is receiving priority over the whole building. He said the money being used in the gym could have gone towards the rest of the building.

The gym renovation represents $1.345 million out of the $2.702 million in the projected construction base bid. The proposed alternatives, which include improvements on all floors, are projected to cost $995,000.

ìDoing the main building improvements would benefit more kids, more teachers,î Herrman said.

Pesaresi said the gym is in bad shape and needs to be fixed now. ìBasically if we donít do the gym, we may as well bulldoze it over,î he said. ìItís not fit for kids to be in it any longer.î

Construction officials expect to send out the bid information by Monday, said program manager Trisha Brooke-Fruendt of Universal Construction, the districtís program management firm.

The majority of the work will take place during the summer. Brooke-Fruendt said the gym would likely not be completed until September due to the scope of the project.

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