Centre debates online program, booster club
Superintendent Larry Geist and Centre board members engaged in lively debate Monday about advertising the district’s online program.
After a call from a company that provides advertising for Kansas Online Learning Program, Geist said the $175,000 allocated was too much. Board member Tony Hett disagreed.
“You can’t spend less and expect to get the same results,” he said.
Program coordinator Vickie Jirak contended that the program made money for the district, but Geist disagreed.
Jirak said she learned from other virtual school leaders that Centre spends a lot more on advertising than other virtual learning programs in the state. She was open to reducing advertising costs to see whether that would affect enrollment.
Eric Carlson requested a report on just how much money was raised by KOLP.
Action on the advertising budget will be taken by December.
Another issue of contention was school clubs. Geist said he had received a request to establish a booster club. He was concerned that the Centre community was being inundated with too many groups raising money by selling products. He floated the idea of making the Parent-Teachers Organization the booster club.
Board member Adrianne Richards rejected the idea. She said PTO was more of an elementary school club. She said the district needed more school spirit and more support from community members. She said Geist should make more of an effort to recruit junior high cheerleaders.
A suggestion was made to have high school classes assigned to concessions to make money.
The board addressed issues relating to its approval of a spring baseball program.
Geist said activities director Tim Vinduska had received an offer to redo a Tampa ball diamond for $32,000 to bring it up to standards.
There will be no home games the first season, and the bid was rejected out of hand.
Board member Steve Jirak said the Tampa diamond was large enough for a standard field and the infield could be expanded by killing off grass.
Board member Eric Carlson suggested using a Lincolnville ball diamond for practices.
“It’s just two miles away,” he said.
Geist said he would ask Herington whether Centre could use its baseball diamond for practices.
After an executive session to discuss two coach applicants, the board voted to hire Richard Idleman as head baseball coach and Camrin Wleczyk as his assistant for this school year.
Grace Peterson was hired as kindergarten aide. Brittany Hett, Megan Semer, and Mickayla Harding were hired as day-care co-teachers at $15 an hour.
The board accepted the resignation of Rachelle Siebert as KOLP aide.
Parents as Teachers leader Becky Suderman reported that Holly Nickel and Sommer Lowery have been hired, making PAT fully staffed. The agency serves four Centre families, with five on a waiting list, she said.
She said the COVID pandemic had created a need for intervention for 63% of enrollees compared to the normal 10 to 30%.
“Childhood has changed for kids born during COVID, but child development hasn’t changed,” she said.
Geist said Centre has been seeing the same trend in the need for intervention.
“You are doing a good job,” he told Suderman.
PAT provides home visits for children ages birth to 3 years. It also provides parent education, developmental screenings, parent-child activities, and group connections.
Progress on the interior of a new day-care building will continue after approval of an alarm system by the state fire marshal. It is separate from the main facility.
The board accepted a Stan Wiles Memorial donation of $2,070 to Centre’s athletic program.