The USD 382 Board of Education held its annual reorganization meeting Monday night, but changed little of their basic structure. Bill Bergner was re-elected as president and Andrea Wilson will serve another term as vice president.
Meetings will remain on the second Monday of each month, at 7 p.m. at the board room in the ACE building. Bank accounts were distributed between First National Bank and The Peoples Bank.
A change was made in sports offerings for Liberty Middle School students, with the addition of cross country for boys and girls.
"I definitely see a need," athletic director Ron Hill said, quoting his predecessor, Andy Kisner, who, according to Hill, stressed that "it should always be about kids." Hill believes cross country will fill a need for boys who are not big enough or strong enough for football, but are searching for an identity and want to be part of something.
Pratt High cross country coach Kathy Hitz related that in school she was an "athletic wannabee," who tried several sports without success, before discovering that she could run.
"It opened doors," she noted.
Hill and Hitz anticipate about 10 to 15 students in the first season, and said they could make arrangements for four to five meets.
The board also gave approval for a therapy dog at LMS, with teacher Linda Stelzer assuming the financial and care responsibilities, as well as attending the required training. Stelzer will be placed on a waiting list with Concordia-based CARES (Canine Assistance, Rehabilitation, Education and Services), Inc. Principal Tony Helfrich reported that his research about the dogs and the company was positive, and noted that Skyline School has had a therapy dog for years, and with the retirement of the dog's handler, arrangements have been made for a new handler and dog. T
In other business, the board:
• approved a 5-year professional development plan that will include 10 professional days in the next school year and stress implementation of ideas.
• approved a 2 percent salary increase for administrative and classified staff. Negotiations with teachers are on-going.
• approved contracts with USD 332 for the assistant elementary principal and director of curriculum, with the Cunningham district compensating USD 382 $1,250 per month ($15,000 annually) for the assistant principal and $833.33 ($10,000 annually) for the curriculum director.
• extended administrative contracts for Superintendent Suzan Patton, PHS principal and assistant superintendent Steve Blankenship, PHS activities director and assistant principal Curtis Nightingale and principals Tony Helfrich and Jason May.
• approved hiring Lori Blasi for summer maintenance and transportation and Brittney Donnenwerth as a college and career advisor.
In her report, Patton noted that:
• new doors have been installed at the ACE building and that all office staff have monitors so they can buzz in visitors to the building that also houses preschool classes. All attendance centers now have secure entrances.
• commercial carpeting has been purchased from a local vendor for the office and two of the "worst" classrooms at Liberty Middle School. Staff will evaluate the performance of the carpet before making a commitment to hallway replacement.
• turf ads should be in place at Zerger Field before the Fall Extravaganza.
• increased emphasis will be given to preparing students to be successful on ACT tests, because those are the scores colleges pay attention to when awarding scholarships.
• increased parental involvement, as the school transitions to College and Career Ready standards will be a goal.