The powerful storms that hit southeast Kansas in early May left a portion of the Cherokee Village day school without a roof.

The powerful storms that hit southeast Kansas in early May left a portion of the Cherokee Village day school without a roof.

That’s a big enough problem in itself, but couple that with the pouring rains that accompanied the strong winds during the storm – plus rain included in subsequent storms – and the SEK Interlocal was left with a good chunk of the building that is currently “not inhabitable,” according to Interlocal Director Dan Duling.
So now, while also trying to repair the damage, Duling and his staff are trying to find a place to house close to 45 middle and high school students for the 2009-2010 school year.

On Monday, Duling and Nick Cheney, Cherokee Village administrator, put forth a proposal to the USD 250 Board of Education that would allow Cherokee Village to operate its middle and high schools — a total of around 45 students — out of the third floor of the Pittsburg Community Middle School building during the upcoming school year. The portion of the building is not being used, according to school officials.

No decision was made on Monday and the issue will be revisited at an upcoming board meeting.

Many of the questions or concerns addressed during Monday’s discussion about the proposal centered on how to ensure that the Cherokee Village students and the PCMS students would be, for the most part, separated during the school day. Students who attend Cherokee Village, according to Cheney, are ones who often struggle academically, tend to frequently disobey and do not function well in normal classroom settings.

Cheney said the students from Cherokee Village would be supervised by adults at all times. There have even been some discussions about installing surveillance cameras on the third floor to help monitor the Cherokee Village programs. Cheney said crisis teams could also be in place to handle any emergency situations that may occur.

Duling said the Interlocal’s long-term plan is to continue to operate the middle and high school programs in Cherokee, as it is more centrally located among the school districts the Interlocal serves.

Destry Brown, incoming superintendent, said he was initially “skeptical” about the idea of integrating Cherokee Village students into PCMS. However, after learning more about the Cherokee Village program and its students, he said he is leaning toward supporting the proposal. Board members said more discussion is needed before a final decision is made.

Also on Monday, the board:

• Approved a bid of $66,188 from Girard-based Indoff, Inc. for new lockers for the Pittsburg Community Middle School athletic room.

• Approved a maintenance proposal bid of $17,500 from Joplin-based Choice Technology to handle the maintenance of the district’s phone systems.

• Approved spending $17,800 to have Wes Cavin Painting provide preventative maintenance painting for all exterior painted steel except for canopy and canopy railing. This includes exterior doors, frames and all hand rails at the district’s six schools.

• Approved spending $12,901 to Edline Technology for a redesign and hosting of the district’s Web site. The start-up cost is $12,901. More than $9,700 of that cost is expected to be paid for with a Federal Title II D grant. According to district documents, up to 78 percent of that cost is reimbursable through e-rate.

• Approved adding curbing to the bus drive at George Nettels at a cost of $28,291. That project would be paid for with bond money. The curbing is expected to prevent water flow from the building and paved areas to the properties on the west side of the school. The request for the curbing was made by the Pittsburg City Zoning Commission.

• Approved a commercial lease contract with the Family Resource Center.

• Approved a bid of $237,615 from Fort Scott-based Midland Restoration for repairs to be made at Hutch Stadium.