JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education held a meeting on Thursday at the Mary E. Devin Center for Educational Support.
The meeting began with Superintendent Dr. Reginald Eggleston recognizing the district’s 32 retirees for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, Maj. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, congratulated and thanked the board and district for their commitment to keeping their students physically in school for the entire previous school year. This comes after the U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command-Readiness Director Brenda Lee McCullough declared the USD 475 schools on-post to be the only Army installation within the Continental U.S. in her profile to hold in-person classes for their students throughout the entire school year.
Following the recognitions, the board members participated in an hour-long training with the Kansas Association of School Boards before recessing to executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.
The board then continued to their action items, which included Dr. Eggleston seeking the board’s permission to add two instructional coaches at Fort Riley Elementary School and Spring Valley Elementary School. These positions will assist the school’s principals with instructional tasks to build on the academic success of both schools. The board approved this item. Dr. Eggleston also asked the board to approve changing the names of two director titles within the Teaching and Learning department:
- Director of Library Media Services & District Assessments changed to District Assessments to Director of School Improvement, Interventions & Assessments
- Director of Secondary Education changed to Director of Secondary & Media
- Director of Elementary Education changed to Director of Elementary & Title
The new titles, which were approved by the board, draw on the strengths of the individuals hired.
Following the previous discussion at the last board meeting, the district’s Chief Operations Officer David Wild presented to the board four contracts for continuing transportation services within the Junction City Transportation Company and B&B Busing. The board members selected the two-year contract, which includes a 17% increase for the first year, with the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increasing in the second year, and the vehicles provided will be no older than 15 years.
The district’s Chief Information Officer Karl DeArmond then asked the board to approve a cybersecurity managed detection and response (MDR) partnership with CyberLorica by Abacode at the cost of $102,000 annually. This will help the district with potential cybersecurity incidents, which can be as many as over 1,000 a month, according to DeArmond. The board approved this purchase. DeArmond also gave an update to the district’s plans for a data center refresh and better defining their recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO) in case of an event in which an outage occurs. The board approved the purchase of equipment and installation services from ConvergeOne for approximately $381,377.45 to do so.
The board continued to their discussion items, beginning with a presentation from Tom Wesoloski, former principal of the H.D. Karns building, and his staff regarding the 7th & 8th Grade Magnet Program. This program has a more attentive, hands-on approach to learning to help seventh and eighth graders who have been struggling with their studies. Overall, the program has seen great improvement in the students that have participated, according to Wesoloski.
DeArmond then brought to the board for discussion regarding computers for staff that need to be replaced. Due to the federal government passing the American Rescue Plan, which allocated $7.1 billion for schools and libraries, the district will not have to pay for the over 200 devices needed.
Wild then gave an update to the board on the new elementary school being built on Fort Riley. Currently, SJCF Architecture is working with district staff and Fort Riley Public Works to develop a site plan and floor plan for the new school. The 81,000-square-foot facility will be constructed on 18 acres, accommodate 390 students, have six prekindergarten classrooms, four kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, three second-grade classrooms, and two fourth and fifth-grade classrooms. The estimated total cost of construction is $30,484,000, with an Office of Local Defense Community Cooperative (OLDCC) grant providing an 80% match for the cost.
Following the discussion items, the Board Career & Academic Partnerships and Advocacy Advisory Committees gave updates on their current work. Then, the board recessed for three back-to-back executive sessions, with one being to discuss negotiations and the following two regarding non-elected personnel.
The full meeting can be viewed on the Geary County Schools USD 475 YouTube page.
The board will hold their next meeting on Monday, June 28 at 7:30 a.m., which will also be live-streamed on the YouTube page.
For inquiries, please contact Lindley Lund, Marketing and Media Specialist for Geary County Schools USD 475, at firstname.lastname@example.org.