Northern Heights High School Marching Band students and parents stand during public comment during the USD 251 Board of Education meeting Wednesday night in Americus.

The North Lyon County USD 251 Fund is officially open and accepting donations at the Emporia Community Foundation, according to a report given to the Board of Education Wednesday night in Americus.

The fund is modeled after a similar fund operated by ECF for Southern Lyon County USD 252. Executive Director Becky Jeppesen said for funds like this, ECF asks that at least $10,000 is deposited within a three-year span.

Because the USD 251 Fund will be utilized for a number of reasons — such as band fundraising, scholarships, the Honor Flight program, and more — Jeppesen said multiple accounts can be set up within the larger fund.

“We realize there are a lot of funds that wouldn’t be able to have the $10,000 in three years, so with this fund your band could set up a fund underneath it,” she said. “We can set up a sub-fund within USD 251.”

Jeppesen said the benefit of using ECF to collect donations is, it takes care of all of the tracking, deposits and investing.

Those wishing to make a donation to the North Lyon County USD 251 Fund can do so by contacting the district or by mailing a check directly to the Emporia Community Foundation, 527 Commercial St., Emporia.

Kansas Associations of School Boards Assistant Director Brian Jordan also spoke with board members regarding the search process for the district’s next superintendent.

“The first phase is the opening and the marketing of the search and this is the beginning of that first phase,” Jordan said. “The next phase of the search process is what we call ‘prepping for interviews.’ ... The third phase is the interview phase, and that’s where you guys as a board are obviously interviewing your candidates. The final phase is hiring and on-boarding. That spans over the course of until that superintendent is in your district on July 1.”

Jordan said KASB recommends a 6 - 8 week window for the district to receive applications, after which the applicant screening process would begin. Once the screening process is complete, the board would receive the names and resumes of qualified candidates and decide who they want to interview.

KASB will next meet with the board in December to discuss the characteristics the district wishes to see in a superintendent.

During public comment, Northern Heights High School parent Staci Sull addressed the board on behalf of members of the NHHS marching band. The band reached a fundraising goal for a trip to perform at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, next year, but a miscommunication between teachers and administrators may have put the trip in jeopardy.

Sull said the kids had raised all of the funds for the trip themselves and had only learned Wednesday that the trip might not be approved. The trip, she said, was educational and fit into the school’s redesign initiative.

Students were disappointed at the prospect of not being able to travel.

“We’ve worked hard fundraising for these trips,” one student said. “We’ve done it. We’ve raised it ourselves. We’re not asking for money to go. We’ve worked hard for fundraising.”

“We’re not asking anything but an agreement for the school to let us go,” another student said.

Horton said it was his understanding that the problem was related to the timing of the trip which is scheduled to take place the week after Spring Break when state assessments are set to begin.

“We by no means want to hold you back from going,” he said. “Those are things we need administration to work on and work out with the band instructor. Let’s try to make it work out. I don’t think the board by any means — or administration — wants to hamper this. We’ll work on it from our end also.”

Board President Matt Horton said he and the rest of the board would speak on the band’s behalf to administration about the trip.

The board also approved the purchase of a greenhouse for Northern Heights and signed an audit engagement letter to continue working with Certified Public Accountant Cindy Jensen.

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