An anticipated report is now in the hands of the Newton USD 373 Board of Education.
A demographer's report — looking at school enrollment and projections of future school enrollments — arrived at the school district offices the morning of April 10. Board members were able to get a look at a snapshot of that report that night.
The report contained a population density report and projections for enrollments in the future at each building in the district. It also could assist a group of community members who are meeting weekly to discuss building options for possible bond issue this year.
That group very well could decide the future of the Walton Rural Life Center, a charter elementary with a project based agricultural focus.
The report projects increased enrollment at the school.
“We asked if that is because of our current boundaries, and if that is growth on the south side of Newton that is a part of that boundary,” said Deb Hamm, superintendent of schools.
The current boundary for Walton includes portions of Newton to the est of I-135 and south of U.S. 50.
The report projects about a five percent enrollment increase for the district by 2022. The report projects the bulk of that increase in elementary schools.
“They think the growth is expected to coincide with economic development activity,” Hamm said. “...
I found this to be interesting — that we have students that come and go. They found 424 new students. It does not mean we increased enrollment, but they are students that attended for the first time. In that same year, 312 students left the district. We have a positive migration of 112.”
In other business the board:
• Recognized Megan Nagel and Nan Bergen as nominees for the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
• Approved membership in the Kansas Association of School Boards Legal Assistance Fund. Members of the fund have the right to request written opinions on specific legal questions. Members may also, for additional charges, retain KASB attorneys to represent the district. The annual contract service fee for USD 373 is $1,650.00.
• Ratified an agreement with the Kansas School Food Purchasing Coop for the 2017-18 school year. The first time the district participated was the 2012-13 school year. The proposed agreement includes consortium dues of $250 per year.
• Approved the purchase of 15 HP Zbooks at $1,647.52 each for a total of $24,828.80. This order is purchased directly from Alexander Open Systems, Inc. under state contract, so competitive bids are not required. The purchase was part of the capital outlay plan and is a replacement of older technology.
• Approved the purchase of 160 desktop computers for $131,865.65 from Alexander Open Systems, Inc to replace existing systems. This order is purchased directly from Alexander Open Systems, Inc. under state contract, so competitive bids are not required.
• Accept a bid for one new 16 plus 4 passenger conventional wheelchair accessible school bus from Kansas Truck Equipment for $96,196.00.
• Accepted donations of $1,000 from Millennium Machine, $2,000 from Vince Collier and $500 from Tribine Harvester to the Newton High School Robotics team for expenses traveling to the National Robotics competition in St. Louis later in April.
• Accepted a grant to Newton USD 373 Latchkey from Harvey County United Way in the amount of $11,500.00 to provide partial latchkey scholarships to families in need.
• Approve using up to $39,000 in Title II funds for all expenses associated with USD 373 staff attending Project Based Learning workshops in Texas this summer.
• Approved realignment of district office staff. Matt Morford was named director of financial services. Jane Nichols was named director of human services. Sheila Wendling was named as assistant superintendent of instructional services. The change is effecting July 1. Russell Miller, the current superintendent of financial and human services, is leaving the district.
• Received information about the possible formation of an Agricultural Careers Academy at Newton High School.