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September 27th, 2023

usd 480 logoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The USD 480 school board will be taking on some new topics and revisiting some old discussions at its next meeting Monday evening starting at 6:30 in the LHS East Annex. 

Up first for the board will be the administrator reports, starting with Superintendent Renae Hickert, who will be talking about NSBA 2021. 

“The best part of the NSBA 2021 Online Experience is hearing individual perspectives and stories from education leaders across the country,” the agenda information noted. “We want to ensure every district team member receives relevant, valuable content and contributes to the national conversation. Other benefits include: increased exposure to multiple sessions, more new ideas, strategies, and best practices to implement right away, different perspectives from your colleagues who are dealing with similar challenges, and expanded online networking opportunities.”

Director of Operations Chad Mease will also give a report and will be talking about the district’s recent vaccination efforts. 

“On Feb. 12, in conjunction with the Seward County Health Department, USD 480 staff administered 316 vaccinations to district staff and an additional 74 vaccinations to members of the public, so we would like to give a huge thank you to our nursing staff and parent coordinators for staffing this even and making everything run smoothly. With the forklift we were looking to purchase, the forklift at auction exceeded our price limit, so USD 480 will look into other options to replace the forklift.”

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Mease will also give a COVID-19 update, and then the board will move on to the agenda’s new business, starting with discussion of Liberal High School returning to its full flex mod schedule. 

“Based on community and USD 480 COVID-19 data, the Seward County EOC, USD 480 nursing staff, district administration, and LHS administration, we are recommending a return to a full flex-mod schedule starting March 1, 2021.”

“During this time, LHS staff will work to socially distance students as often as possible; however, please note that social distancing will be more limited in the full schedule than in previous phases of schedules,” a previous release from USD 480 noted. “The mask mandate will continue to be in place, and teachers will have sanitization supplies in their classrooms to be able to sanitize desks frequently. We will continue to place a high priority on student health and safety as we prepare for the upcoming transition. Next week, we have made adjustments to the schedule due to Pancake Day. The adjustments keep both groups of students (A-L and M-Z) with the same number of days on campus. The following week (Feb. 22 through 26), we were already scheduled to return to the Phase I schedule while students take the first round of standardized assessments. We will keep this schedule. This is an effort to minimize classroom disruptions for testing in the weeks to follow.”

The board will also be discussing Resolution 02-22-21. 

“The board authorized to refinance the bonds Jan. 25,” the agenda information noted. “The interest rate is an average of  1.67 percent which resulted in a savings of $5,779,808.49. Due to the increase in rate the savings was less than anticipated of $6,312,326. Resolution 02-22-21 authorizes and provides for the sale, issuance and delivery of taxable General Obligation Bonds, Series 2021, of USD 480 for the purpose of providing funds to refund a portion of the issuer’s outstanding General Obligation Bonds; providing for the levy and collection of an annual tax for the purpose of paying the principal and interest on said bonds as they become due; making certain covenants and agreements to provide for the payment and security thereof and authorizing certain other documents and actions connected therewith.”

The board will also be revisiting the sale of the former Education Services Center building at 624 N. Grant.  The board had voted to approve a new counteroffer of $150,000 with a  closing date of May 31, 2021 on the ESC building during a special meeting at the end of January.

“Custom Construction LLC has offered $150,000 and closing date of May 31, 2021 for 624 N Grant,” the agenda information noted. “Staff is recommending the board accept the offer from Custom Construction LLC for 624 N Grant.”

The board will also be discussing streaming meetings in the future. 

“There has been a request to have the Board of Education meetings streamed for the public to view.  KASB does not recommend for Board of Education meetings to be streamed,” the agenda information noted.  “If a meeting is streamed, it could be recorded and used as documentation of a board members comments.  This could increase the liability on a board member. The public has the opportunity to attend a board meeting and listen to all discussion. KASB recommends that the Board of Education vote on if board meetings should be streamed.  Each board member will need to determine their comfort ability on this issue. If board meetings are to be streamed, the Board of Education needs to determine what location all board meetings will be held in the future so administration can provide the proper equipment and setup for a board meeting to be streamed in a effective manner.  USD 480 would need cameras, microphones, and streaming equipment, and the estimated cost of this is $15,000 to $30,000.”

To conclude the meeting, the board will be discussing the purchase of ChromeBooks and the renewal of  Unified Talent (Talent Ed) for the amount of $13,983.20.