USD 251 Superintendent Mike Mathes recommends a date for a public budget hearing during a meeting of the Board of Education Wednesday evening in Americus.

Enrollment remained flat in USD 251 according to a report by Superintendent Mike Mathes to the Board of Education Wednesday evening in Americus.

As of Wednesday morning, enrollment for the district was 346 students — the same amount from the 2018-2019 school year.

For a district that has been battling a declining enrollment for the better part of a decade, Mathes said this was a positive shift.

“I suspect by Sept. 20, our count date, it will change,” he said. “It could go up a few, it could go down a few. It happens every year. I think that looks good ... it looks like you’re stabilizing and that’s a positive sign.”

The steady enrollment also factors in well with the district’s proposed budget. Mathes said the budget would put the mill levy at 39.75 mills, down slightly from 40.49 mills the previous year.

“I’m very pleased with this budget,” he said. “Valuation went up, which allowed us to bring down the mill levy a little bit. It’s a good, strong budget, and I think we’re in good shape.”

Mathes said there are no notable changes with the budget and invites anyone with questions or concerns to attend a public hearing at noon Aug. 26 in the board office, 614 Main St., Americus.

The board also celebrated a special recognition given to North Lyon County Elementary School for being selected as a Kansas State Department of Education 2019 Civic Advocacy Network School. NLC Elementary is one of seven schools in the state to receive the award this year.

The school’s Civic Action Training Squad — or CATS — program garnered the attention of the KSDE. The group strives to make a difference locally.

NLC Elementary will be officially recognized during a Constitution Day celebration Sept. 17 in Topeka.

The board then approved policies and procedures related to the district’s upcoming participation in the Honor Flight program. USD 251 will partner with USD 252 Southern Lyon County’s program beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.

“We won’t do it this school year, but we need the approval so they can start fundraising,” Mathes said, noting the district needs to raise a large amount of money for the program.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Traverse from Don Hatton Chevrolet in Wichita for a total not to exceed $24,319.75.

Mathes said two local dealerships — Longbine Auto Plaza and Burlington’s Crow-Moddie Chevrolet — also submitted bids for the purchase, that came in more than $2,000 over the state’s contracted price.

The vehicle will replace a car being driven by Mathes, which has accumulated more than 130,000 miles. Mathes said the district will keep the other vehicle for staff use.

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