Network crash forces Holton district to restructure system

Technology repairs were a major topic when the Holton school board met here Monday evening, after some recent issues with the network servers crashing at the school.

After some issues this past Friday, network administrator Gordon Lamme raised some concerns about the district's computer network crashing. Technology director Tom Sextro then presented a bid to superintendent Dennis Stones for equipment to restructure the network to make it more efficient, with Fox Business Systems of Manhattan quoting a cost of $14,330.88 for the necessary equipment and labor.

Stones gave the go-ahead to order the technology equipment after informing board members via e-mail, it was reported. In regards to needed expediency in matters like these, Stones suggested the board increase his spending authority in emergency situations from $1,000 to $20,000, which he noted would be in line with current state statutes. The board approved this action by a 6-0 vote.

The board also heard from Cindy Hower of Kellerman Insurance on some items the board had asked her to look into after the last meeting, with Hower presenting some numbers on workers comp and vehicle insurance.

Hower looked into a couple deductible options on the insurance plans and the savings that could create. With the workers comp, she noted if the district increased from the $500 deductible option to a $1,000 deductible option then there would be an upfront savings of $3,291, but that would also come with risks.

In the last four years, Hower noted the Holton school district has had 29 workers comp claims and 18 of those were less than $500 or zero pay, while four were between $500 and $1,000 and seven were more than $1,000. Hower recommended remaining with the $500 deductible option.

In regards to vehicle insurance, there would be a much smaller savings ($655) in moving from a $500 deductible to a $1,000 deductible, but Hower noted that switch would be good risk management and recommended the change. The board voted in line with Hower’s recommendations, approving the change in vehicle insurance to a $1,000 deductible while leaving the workers comp plan alone.

Hower also presented the board valuation and insurance numbers on the district buildings, though with the high school and middle school meeting guidelines (107 and 114 percent insured to value, respectively) she recommended no changes with that insurance.

The board also heard a report from Stones on the recent Kansas Association of School Boards meeting, with the superintendent noting some interesting information regarding school finances and aid.

One interesting item from the meeting he shared was the relative, almost non-existent change in base state aid per pupil from the initial year of funding (1992-1993) to the present. With the way money gets rearranged in BSAPP, one presentation pointed out an actual increase of just $8 in BSAPP, which Stones relayed to the board.

Stones also passed along the findings of a legislative division of post audit that was shared at the KASB meeting, which highlighted a nearly one-to-one relationship between student performance and district spending, meaning districts that spend more money have better performance from students.

There were also some amendments passed for KASB policies, though Stones said most were solely to fix language issues.

Other action taken by the board on Monday:

*Heard an update on the new elementary school project. No representatives from Hollis and Miller or Nabholz were at the meeting, as there was no new information to share, but Stones did note Nabholz will be in town on Thursday for the sub-contractor summit to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at Trails Café.

Nabholz will share information with area businesses on the scope of the project, the schedule and try to find out what services the local businesses can provide. It was also noted that the project is still on track for a groundbreaking in late February/early March.

*Approved the consent agenda items, which included approval of minutes, warrants ($262,931.07) and payroll ($1,127,195.86), acceptance of donations from the Optimist Club ($250 each for Colorado and Central milk money, HHS girls basketball, HHS boys basketball and $300 for Central dictionaries), Russ Riederer (equipment for HHS weight room), Riederer and Mike Lovvorn (metal, paint and construction of chin-up/Monkey bars for wrestling room) and JCWC ($1,050 for new wrestling score clock), the resignation of Regina Butts (RVMS SPED para) and the hires of Mary Sullivan (Central VPL para) and Heather Link (HMS scholars bowl coach).

*Heard from HMS principal Michael Kimberlin on the success of the HMS winter sports teams, with the wrestling team taking first at the recent Big Seven League tournament and both girls basketball teams wrapping up at least a second-place finish in the league standings.

*Heard from HHS principal Rod Wittmer on the high school’s participation in the hour of code coming up on Tuesday.

*Heard from Elementary principals Joe Kelly and Beth Smith on the success of recent Christmas concerts and a group of fifth-grade students that have an upcoming performance at the Grand Villas.

*Discussed the calendar for the 2016 fiscal year, with Kimberlin getting set to meet with the calendar committee. Stones noted board members can contact Kimberlin with any suggestions as he will get set to present a plan to the board at the January meeting.

*Met in executive session for 30 minutes with Stones and Kelly to discuss matters pertaining to teacher salary negotiations.

*Approved Bob Phillips, Allen Arnold and Denise Sweet as members of the teacher salary negotiations team for the 2015-2016 school year.

*Met in executive session for an hour and two minutes over four sessions with Stones and all building principals and one session for five minutes with Stones and Kelly to discuss matters pertaining to non-elected personnel.

*Approved a position change for Dylan Myers from seasonal grounds to full-time custodian effective Jan. 1.

*Noted the absence of board member Cindy Stavropoulos.

*Adjourned the meeting at 8:36 p.m.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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