Head Start may re-establish its preschool in Pratt, according to USD 382 Superintendent Suzan Patton. In the aftermath of a budget reduction of $207,000, Kansas Children’s Service League closed the Pratt center at the end of July 2013.
The agency has applied for a grant and approached the school district about providing space in the ACE building. If the grant is accepted, classes would start in January after some remodeling in the building.
The space formerly occupied by Head Start will be used for a new transitional kindergarten class to serve children who have turned five but aren’t ready to go on to kindergarten.
“As we know, not all children develop at the same rate,” Patton noted, explaining that in the additional year before starting kindergarten, children would get help in early reading and math skills.
Ashley Maloney, who has experience as a teacher in both kindergarten and special education preschool, has been hired for the position.
If Head Start moves back in, all the space on the first floor will be occupied, Patton said.
“Research shows if you put your money there (in early childhood education) there will be results,” she said. “The desire is to have every child at the benchmark for reading and math by third grade.”
The discussion about Head Start was initiated at Monday’s USD 382 Board of Education meeting, when Patton mentioned the remodeling as a possible unplanned-for capital outlay need.
Also at the meeting:
• Patton reported that South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative’s assessment to the district will increase by an estimated 15 percent, as the organization complies with a mandate to provide health insurance for all paraprofessionals.
• Patton and administrators reviewed a new fee schedule for the coming year that eliminates an itemized list of fees in favor of three categories: enrollment, textbook and technology. High school students will receive activity tickets with their fees. Patton said the total fees for elementary and middle school students would not change much from the previous year.
• Approval was granted for the Pratt High band to perform at Walt Disney World in 2015. It has been well-planned for and a lot of the fund-raising has already been done, Patton said. The format will be similar to previous band trips.
• The board approved a 2 percent salary increase for classified staff.
• Personnel changes were approved as follows: Todd Cossman resigned as PHS football assistant and was replaced by Levi Poindexter; Katrina Riner resigned as Beyond the Bell director and was replaced by Rosalie Rose; Audra Leckner resigned as Beyond the Bell teacher; Katy Prieto replaced Beth Sheldon as Southwest and Liberty Middle School secretary; Jill Nech was hired for LMS physical education teacher, replacing Erica Stevens, who was earlier approved for the counselor position at LMS; and Marcie Stevens was non-renewed as a Title I para at Southwest, Assistant PHS principal and activities director Curtis Nightingale was given an additional assignment in summer sales advertising. Sharon Ward’s position was eliminated, as the food service director will be employed by the company hired to manage the district’s food service