Hiawatha School Board graphic

The Hiawatha USD 415 School Board met Monday and discussed fall enrollment numbers.

Board members present at the meeting included Ian Schuetz, Amy Kopp, Jeff Brockhoff, Keith Erdley and Dr. Pete Rosa’. Absent were board members John Wright and Tom Simmer.

Superintendent Lonnie Moser updated the board members on school enrollment numbers, which he is keeping a close eye on. While official count date isn’t until Sept. 20 — the day that numbers determine the financial aid received by the district — Moser said he is reporting some ups and downs in various grade levels. He reported that the largest difference was in seventh grade, where there was an increase in 15 compared to last fall. He said many of those new students actually arrived during the last academic year, so it was of no surprise.

Moser updated the board on some district maintenance issues that included the breaker box at the HHS stadium being struck by lightening. He said an early estimate is around $18,000 for replacement and said that insurance would cover all but a $2,500 deductible. The board encouraged Moser to have District Maintenance Director Matt Cluck collect two different estimates and then gave them permission to go with the best one.

In other issues, he noted that contracted electricians had used a lift to replace some of the football stadium lights in recent weeks. He said the ground in the area they had the lift was soft and it sunk into the ground and became stuck — causing roughly $1,000 in damage to the newly laid track around the long jump approach. Kim Lillie, Activities Director at HHS, said some of the lights had been replaced, so she felt the situation was good to go for Homecoming this coming Friday.

With that in mind, Board President Ian Schuetz reminded that Homecoming was actually the home opener and he wanted to ensure the stadium was “spruced up” for the event. Lillie responded that actually the stadium looked great and noted that maintenance staff — that included Jeff May, Tristan Dickinson and Denny Gray — had worked on the stadium grounds and fields that day to prepare for that evening’s JV game. Board member Amy Kopp said that rain was in the forecast for the week, so hoped that didn’t cause issues.

Lillie also noted that lights for the scoreboard were actually replaced by a local electrician during the first quarter of the game and said it was working well.

In other business:

Board Clerk Sarah Windmeyer reported that the Edith Shear Trust had recently provided word of an annual payment of $12,600 to be split equally between the HHS music and athletics department for a 20-year period. She said this money can be used for equipment and other needs. The board members acknowledged the generous contribution from the Shear Trust and family and expressed their appreciation.

Moser reported that he was kicking off the fall session of Red Hawk Talk from 9-11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 at the new downtown restaurant Lottie’s. He said there would be coffee and rolls for people stopping by to visit and he hoped to draw in some of the restaurant traffic for discussions by implementing this new location.

Moser updated the board on implementing a Mentor Program for At-Risk students — using funds from that line item. He said this would involve utilizing district counselors and offering them a $1,500 stipend for the additional duties. He said the program itself costs $1,000 — so the district would be spending roughly $4,000 annually. Board members agreed this was a definite need for At-Risk students and gave him the go ahead to pursue adding it to the district.

The board approved moving HHS spring conferences from March 4-5 to April 1-2 due to several conflicts in the calendar.

There were discussions on district boundaries for board positions and possibly revitalizing these to offer more at-large positions.Moser said the zones would be kept the same, but this would open it up more. He reported this would require a public vote.

District principals gave an update on MTSS screening.

Moser reported that a district newsletter would be starting up again — this time as an insert in the newspaper starting in October — to reach a different demographic than social media or the school’s website does.

The board approved the Consent Agenda which included the following: trip requests of HHS band to Central States Marching Festival in Manhattan on Sept. 28; HHS journalism to Kansas City Star on Oct. 23; and HHS FFA to Greenhand Conference in Silver Lake on Sept. 18; FFA to speech and job interview contest in Wamego on Jan. 15, FFA to district meats judging in Easton on Feb. 3, FFA to horse judging in Lawrence on Feb. 21 and FFA to Ag Mechanics & Poultry judging contest on March 25.

Also as part of the Consent Agenda, the board approved to accept the retirement resignations of Faye Dahna as HMS head custodian, effective Jan. 2.; approve the hiring of Tom Schmitz as sixth grade teacher, Matt Leahy and Wayne Olson as freshman class co-sponsors and approve the 2019 handbooks for Classified Staff, substitutes and administrative staff.

The board approved a proposed Concert Band and Headliners Choir trip to Branson March 12-15, which Moser said would fall on Spring Break. He said students were making monthly payments and all costs would be collected prior to the trip. He said this was an opportunity for the students to perform and attend music clinics.

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