ARMA — In a previous Northeast School District meeting, the district’s Board of Education asked Superintendent of Schools Greg Gorman to look into school nurse hiring options.
The school district has not had a registered nurse for five years, and instead has a “health aide” who was the RN’s assistant before the RN retired.

Attempts to reach the Kansas Department of Education to discover what the regulations on “health aides are but were unsuccessful by press time. Gorman said he spoke to KSDE and he said that having a school nurse is not mandated.

According to Gorman, during a phone interview, the position was not filled partly because of state funding. During the board meeting, Gorman said hiring a full time nurse would cost approximately $40,000, which is close to the average salary the teachers make and it would be difficult to get an RN to come work for that amount.

Currently, if a student has a medical need beyond the health aide’s qualifications the administrators will contact a health clinic or other medical provider based on the student’s needs, Gorman said on the phone. Students with daily or long-term medical needs go through an interlocal nurse, Gorman added.

Gorman told the board of education that he spoke to a health center to see about partnerships with local clinics. There are two clinics in Arma, the Girard Medical Center of Arma and Arma Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. That’s when he found out what the cost to hire a full time RN.
“As we are sitting now, contracting would be the best option and most economical,” Gorman said at the board meeting.

The Girard School District recently began a partnership with Girard Medical Center. Gorman said he could not get in contact with the USD 248 superintendent before Monday’s meeting to speak about the benefits of partnering with a clinic. Gorman told the board he will report back to the board when he does.

USD 248 Superintendent of Schools Blaise Bauer said the collaboration provides the school with a full-time nurse at an efficient cost.
“They employ a school nurse and place the nurse in our school,” he said. “We’ll have more access to treatments and resources. It will allow them to take care of certifications and replace her when she’s sick.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for us and also our local hospital, it’s a win-win.”

In other business, the board of education approved supplemental hirings, approved the purchase of an SUV and van which will be used primarily for special education transportation.
Gorman also read through some of the state assessment scores for the school district.  
(This article has been updated to include USD 248 Superintendent of Schools quotes)