School superintendent retires, rehired
There will be some changes at the top in Unified School District 333.
The USD 333 board of education voted to accept the retirement of superintendent of schools Beverly Mortimer, effective May 31, 2014, for KPERS purposes.
Mortimer was then rehired as interim superintendent beginning Aug. 1.
The board also approved transferring Concordia Junior-Senior High School principal Quentin Breese to assistant superintendent and supervisor of custodial work and transportation.
Mortimer said that some health issues have led her to make some changes. While acting as interim superintendent, she will be relinquishing her spot on some advisory councils and scale back some commitments outside of the district.
The arrangement of Mortimer's serving as the interim superintendent will be a year to year decision.
"I told the board I wanted to stay until we get the bond issue finished. We worked hard on that and I want to see that through," Mortimer said.
The district approved a $5.5 million bond issue in November for the replacement of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) unit at the Concordia Elementary School, other energy efficiency improvements in the district and the construction of a FEMA-approved shelter at the elementary school.
Breese will move into the role of assistant superintendent beginning June 1, 2014.
"He will start working with me a little bit and start learning the job," Mortimer said.
Current transportation director Dannie Kearn will retire at the end of the school year.
Mortimer said that maintenance director Blair Alderson may scale back on some of his duties.
Breese will oversee those departments.
As part of the administrative realignment, the board of education also passed a motion to transfer Bryce Wachs from assistant principal to junior-senior high school principal.
With moving the middle school students to the junior-senior high school there are currently four administrators in the building. Next year there will be three.
"The whole thing is a cost saving for the district," Mortimer said, "With realignment we expect to save about $100,000."
In other action during the meeting, the board approved the issuance, sale and delivery of the $5.5 million in bonds for the HVAC improvement and the FEMA shelter.
Also approved was the bond purchase agreement with Piper Jaffray & Co., the agreement between the issuer and agent, the underwriting safekeeping agreement, the closing certificate, and omnibus continuing disclosure agreement and the resolution providing for the adoption of tax and securities compliance procedures relating to the obligations issued and to be issued by the district.
The board also approved deposit of the $5.5 million in the Municipal Investment Pool.
The district will have the option of bringing the funds back locally if the opportunity arises.
Dennis Miller, Mapes & Miller Certified Public Accountants, presented the audit report to the board.
"This is an exceptionally clean report," Miller said.
The board voted to accept the audit report.
Mortimer reported to the board that the Innovative District application had been delivered to the governor's office.
The state's Innovative District program allows up to 10 percent of the school districts to opt out of some state laws and rules and regulations in order to improve student achievement.
USD 333 will be seeking exemptions in four areas, licensure, accreditation, new pathways and local credit.
"We developed it over some of the frustrations we have faced," Mortimer said, "Resources have been cut, but we still have to educate our kids as well or better."
There were only eight districts applying for the program during the first round.
A committee will select the first two districts for the program.
Mortimer said that the decision could be made by the first of the year.
"Our ultimate goal is working toward 100 percent of our graduating classes leaving college and career ready," Wachs said.
Also during the meeting, Mortimer presented handout, and discussed the Common Core standards with the board.
The Common Core standards establish grade-level expectations in math and English language arts for K-12 students.
"There is a little bit of local resistance, so I wanted you to be informed," Mortimer said, "All they say are what a student should be able to do by the end of a certain grade."
Mortimer said that the state had adopted the Common Core standards and added about 15 percent specific to Kansas.
The standards will require the students do more projects, require students to collaborate and work together at times and will require more critical thinking, Mortimer said.
Mortimer told the board members that they could take action to adopt the standards if they wanted to.
Melissae Stiles, gifted facilitator for the district, gave a presentation on some of the projects she is involved in, including robotics, MTSS Reading and the Chess Club.
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