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Virtual school enrollment running high

Staff writer

The Kansas Online Learning Program sponsored by Centre USD 397 is attracting many applicants in its second year of operation.

Virtual school coordinator Vickie Jirak reported to the board of education Monday that 76 enrollment forms are on file and 10 more have been sent out. An additional two enrollment forms were received Monday.

Jirak said the goal is to enroll 100 students. Enrollees include adults seeking a high school diploma and several international students.

Orientation sessions were conducted this past week at Centre for enrollees and their sponsors. Jirak said between 30 and 40 people participated the first day, and 50 the next day. She said some drove three-and-a-half hours to attend.

Because of the increased enrollment, additional student learning advocates have been hired to monitor the progress of enrollees. They include Centre teachers Kim Smith and Tana Riffel and out-of-district teachers Jill Brunner, Jennea Heinrichs, and Rachelle Jirak. Each advocate will monitor a maximum of 10 students. Jirak said more advocates will be hired, if necessary.

“We’re going to get to 100,” she said. “That’s our goal.”

The 2011-12 budget approved by the board Monday includes maximum virtual education expenditures of $557,470. This compares with $105,164 the previous year.

The 2011-12 budget authorizes general and supplemental general fund expenditures of up to $2,268,710. The estimated tax rate is 45.492 mills, an increase of .028 from the previous year.

Richard Idleman, director of operations of IServe, Inc., presented a summer maintenance update. After his report, he led the board in a walk through the school facilities, explaining the improvements that were made.

“You did a great job,” president Brent Methvin said afterward. “We appreciate it.”

The board approved purchase of a new Rauland intercom system for $14,399. Other bids came in at $32,001, $21,995, and $17,031.69.

Transportation director Bob Mueller reported a few changes in bus routes this year.

After discussing purchase of a new or used bus, the board decided to put off the purchase until a later date, citing the amount of money put into improving facilities.

After a 20-minute executive session with Superintendent Jerri Kemble to discuss matters related to non-elected personnel, the board voted to advertise for someone to monitor the Interactive Distance Learning classroom.

Students will be returning to classrooms Aug. 18. According to Kemble, they will spend a half-day in orientation sessions and a half-day in shortened sessions of regular classes. She said the orientation sessions will save teachers from having to open every class with repetitive instructions.

The board approved a contract with Deb Casey to provide nursing services.

The board approved authorized signers for certificates of deposit to include the board president, vice president, clerk of the board, deputy clerk of the board, district treasurer, and deputy district treasurer. Two signatures are required on every transaction.

Mark Heiser, speaking on behalf of the Marion County Road and Bridge Department, of which he is an employee, requested the use of water from the underground storage tank at Centre in the reworking of 340th Road from U.S. 56/77 east to the county line.

Heiser said usage would be limited to two semi-tank loads a day, each holding 6,000 gallons. He estimated the department would need 10 to 12 loads. The board approved the usage, not to exceed 15 loads. The county will pay a small fee per load to cover electricity costs to refill the underground tank.

The board approved a motion directing Kemble to contact unnamed parties who have expressed interest in the former elementary school building in Lost Springs prior to the Sept. 12 meeting to learn their intentions regarding the building.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2011

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