The Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education held a special meeting on Thursday at the Mary E. Devin Center for Educational Support.

The meeting began with an hourlong training from the Kansas Association of School Boards, where they discussed strong communication habits between the members of the board as well as the board and the community.

The board then approved multiple items, including deciding the calendar for the 2021-2022 school year out of three calendars voted on by USD 475 certified staff. The full schedule can be found at the bottom of the page. The board also approved an addition to the school district’s communications team, a new Marketing and Media Specialist. This position will provide more parental engagement and communication that has become challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be funded from CARES Act funds.

The final item approved by the board was to create a one-time incentive for certified staff to receive $300 and classified staff to receive $200 in exchange for working during the 2021 summer school or Extended School Year programs this upcoming summer.

Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston then provided updates regarding the new Junction City High School being built, as well as led a discussion regarding a virtual academy offered by Greenbush, an education service center based out of Girard. No motion was required for this item.

Chief Operating Officer David Wild presented multiple items to the board, including consideration of an agreement between the district and Live Well Geary County in using the Professional Learning Center to perform communal meals services during weekday evenings. The monthly cost for using the facility would be $600, as calculated by the district’s staff. No motion was required for this item.

Mr. Wild also presented to the board the district’s current situation in finding a new letter contract transportation support service to provide transportation services for the school district (regular and double routes, Early Childhood, Special Education, English Language Learners, Athletics, Activities, Summer School and the inclusion of bus aid salaries), in which they have been working on since September of 2020. The school district sent Transportation Services Request for Proposals to five firms, and the district received three “no offer” responses and one proposal as a result. The proposal is at an annual price of $4.3 million for all services, which is double the district’s current pricing. No motion was required for this item.

In addition, Mr. Wild presented to the board a consideration of entering into a long-term agreement for the purchase of renewable wind energy from Evergy Kansas Central, Inc., for Junction City and Grandview Plaza schools, excluding Junction City Middle School and the new Junction City High School at a surcharge of $0.01729/kWh. The board decided to decline this agreement.

The final item in which Mr. Wild presented to the board was to move the $1.2 million planned to go toward furnishing the new Junction City High School in the fiscal year of 2022, starting July 1, 2021, to the fiscal year of 2021. This is so the items will be delivered by the opening of the school, which is currently set for August. The furniture includes academy commons and viewed laboratory spaces such as science, arts as well as consumer sciences. No motion was required for this item.

The final item of discussion was an update from each of the Board Advisory Committees: Handbooks, Negotiations, Parent/Public Engagement, Student Discipline, Career and Academic Partnership, Capital Projects and Advocacy before the meeting was adjourned.

The full meeting can be viewed on the Geary County Schools USD 475 YouTube page.

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