Activity buses cause for concern for district parent
Bus routes in USD 204 are again a topic of discussion. But this time it’s the activity bus routes, or the lack thereof, that have parents concerned.
Kimberly Alberico, parent of a student at Clark Middle School, visited the school board meeting Monday night to ask during the public comments portion of the meeting what could be done to bring the activity bus routes back. Activity bus routes, which transport students home from afterschool athletics- or school-related activities, were cut last school year to save costs.
Given the district’s financial situation, Alberico asked what the parents could do to help. She asked how much it would cost to reinstate the bus routes and whether the board believed parents could raise enough money, by paying, as an example, $50 per sport or $1 per student when there are school dances to bring the bus routes back. She said this amount of expense would be worth it to her, as it had become inconvenient for her to arrange rides home for her son when he had afterschool activities.
Board president Ray Cox said he would look into the matter, but Superintendent Robert VanMaren said later in the meeting that last school year the expense of running activity bus routes had cost the district $17,000.
Also on Monday, the board:
• Unanimously approved adoption of the agenda.
• Unanimously approved minutes from the Sept. 6 meeting.
• Unanimously approved the treasurer and clerk’s reports.
• Unanimously approved warrants totaling $100,331.
• Heard a presentation from Terri Cox, kitchen manager at Delaware Ridge Elementary, and Kelly Fehlhafer, district parent, regarding a new fundraising proposal called Bricks for Braves. The fundraiser would have Bonner Springs High School sell commemorative bricks, with proceeds going to benefit the athletic or academic group of the buyer’s choice. Initially the bricks would be used to pave the area of the David Jaynes Stadium where the signage is located, but later plans would be to use the bricks to pave sidewalks near the field. The bricks can be personalized with text and art.
Cox’s and Fehlhafer’s original proposal was to sell a single standard paver for $40, with the school receiving $23 per brick, and $80 for a double paver, which is twice the size of the single and would garner the school $51 per brick. But board member Jeff Barger suggested the selling price of the single paver be raised $5 more dollars, so as to make the double paver seem more of a value, thereby increasing sales of the double paver.
The board took no action on the proposal, but requested that Cox and Fehlhafer take their plan to the Bonner Springs High School Education Foundation for approval, since the foundation is the vehicle through which non-Booster Club fundraising projects of this scope must be made.
• Unanimously approved a Fulbright Exchange Program request from Rebecca Jones, English as a second language teacher at Bonner Springs Elementary. With the board’s approval, Jones will teach overseas in the 2012-2013 school year with the Fulbright Exchange Program and her position with the district will be guaranteed upon her return.
It’s not clear yet in which country Jones will be teaching. VanMaren said Jones would apply for several available positions.
• Did not conduct the workshop on the Kansas Open Meetings Act that had been tentatively scheduled to take place prior to the board meeting.
The session is to be conducted at the request of The Chieftain, which earlier this summer questioned the legality of an executive session carried out by the board in July, prior to the appointment of new board member Jeff Barger.
After a preliminary investigation by the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office, board attorney Charles Thomas and Ray Cox, board president, agreed the executive session — in which members discussed candidates to fill a vacancy on the board — should have not have been carried out in private. They answered questions about the closed-door session and agreed the board would undergo training on the Kansas Open Meetings Act as part of the aforementioned workshop.
Thomas said the delay was due to not yet receiving word from the DA’s Office regarding when an assistant district attorney would be available to lead the session.