USD 257 approves PTO reorganization



June 23, 2015 - 12:00 AM

The Parent Teachers Organization will come under one umbrella for the new school year.
When the  school district switched to attendance centers in March, parents thought it best to combine the three elementary school PTOs to one — Iola PTO.
Becky Nilges, a local grant writer, has assisted parents organize the new PTO since May, including making it a non-profit organization.
One detail is to have a permanent address for Iola PTO.
Parent Jennifer Coltrane and Nilges approached USD 257 board members at their meeting Monday night to ask if the district office could serve as such, to which board members agreed.
“To have charitable donations you have to be incorporated,” Coltrane added.
The board asked high school principal Stacey Fager to look into how the district’s Booster Club was founded in hopes this would answer other questions facing the new PTO. The Booster Club and the PTO are separate entities.
The board then passed a resolution acknowledging the Iola PTO.

SCOTT Stanley, director of maintenance and operations, proposed a bid to purchase another bus. The school district has a plan to purchase six buses in five years. Superintendent of Schools Jack Koehn said they have been budgeting for the probability of having capital outlay money left over to make this purchase.
“I’d rather purchase it now while we have the money than wait,” Koehn said.
Stanley recommended a conventional Blue Bird bus for $81,803 from Kansas Truck, Wichita. The board approved the purchase. This is the second bus purchase for the year.
As part of the five-year technology plan Brett Linn, technology director, recommended purchasing 335 Lenovo N21 4Gb student Chromebooks from Zones. The board approved this request.
Every year Linn has applied for E-Rate funding, a named used for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, which is under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission. Funding from the FCC typically goes to poorer school districts. This year USD 257 was approved for a little over $24,000.
“Updating our network is in our five year plan and I wouldn’t be approaching the board now if it wasn’t for this funding,” Linn said.
Linn received a bid for networking equipment from PCM-G for $30,977.95. The equipment includes more wireless access points and fiber lines at the schools. The board agreed to pay the $6,900 difference.

KOEHN reported Burlington has joined the Pioneer League at the high school level. The district’s middle school was already in the league. The league is now requiring all league members to have both high school and middle schools join the league. This would mean Iola would be required to bring the middle school into the league.
“The whole purpose of a league is to help schedule and offer music, art and academic competitions,” Koehn said. “This would be a benefit to the school.”
Koehn also recognized outgoing board members Don Snavely and Mark Burris with kind words and a plaque. Outgoing member Jack McFadden was not present.
Snavely has served on the board for six years and Burris has served for four years.
“I’ve just finished two years here with this board and we’ve accomplished a lot,” Koehn said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

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