GIRARD — Summer construction was completed on time for the first day of school in Girard, but now comes the tricky part.
The district’s first day of school was Thursday, and Superintendent Blaise Bauer told the school board Thursday night the first day went without any major hiccups. But now, the district will start the third phase of construction, which will require shifting around a couple classrooms and the main entrance at the middle and high school, all while school is in progress.
Bauer told the board bids are due for the construction by Aug. 27. He expects work to begin in the middle of September.
“As soon as we get that contract, we are going to start tearing it up,” Bauer said. “Well, we have school going on, some of the construction will block entryways into the school, so we are going to have to be creative in how we deal with that.”
The school board meeting was also the final public hearing on the district budget. The board heard about the changes in funding from CPA John Staton.
The district’s budget appears nearly $2 million higher than last year, unless it is looked at through a microscope.
The proposed general fund budget will be roughly $9.27 million compared to $7.19 million in the 2014/2015 school year. But, under the new state block grant funding system, the district has to allocate money to different funds, whereas before the state transferred the money into the separate accounts — almost the same amount of money, but put into one account.
When all is considered, the district has a proposed budget of around $35,000 more than last year, which is mainly due to a change in the formula for funding virtual students.
Middle School Principal Randy Heatherly, showed the board a slide of how many students the district had gained from the following year, but warned the numbers are fluid and wouldn’t be written in stone until Kansas’ official school count on Aug. 20.
“You can see we have added five more kids than we lost,” he said.
Nolan O’Toole, technology integration specialist at Girard schools, also updated the board about the process for students picking up their iPads from the school.
“This is our third year, and we have streamlined it a bit,” O’Toole said, adding he thought the process went smoothly.
The big thing with technology this year was getting Canvas going in the high school and middle school. This program will allow students and teachers to communicate better, allowing Canvas to replace several apps students needed to use in the past.
“I think it will be a powerful tool,” O’Toole said. “It will take some time to get our students trained up to it.”
The district is one-to-one, with an iPad for each student, but this year the district is going to try a pilot program with laptops in a 16-student classroom.
Also at the meeting, Cailie Logue and Heidi Burns, two students at the high school, were honored by the school board for placing top 2 in a national competition. The students competed in the Students Taking Action with Recognition or STAR event through the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
The competition teaches students to become community leaders. The girls worked to coordinate events with companies like The Salvation Army throughout the year, then presented their work to a panel of judges.
The girls won states, and with matching financial support from the district, were able to go on the nationals in Washington D.C. from July 3 through 9.
“We just wanted to thank you all for this wonderful opportunity,” Burns said.