Emporia Public School Board of Education members discussed school funding during their meeting Wednesday evening at Mary Herbert Education Center.
Superintendent Kevin Case and Assistant Superintendent of Business Rob Scheib provided information in reference to the recent Kansas Supreme Court decision concerning the Gannon school funding lawsuit.
A history of the case, the new court decision and reasons why SB 19 was found to be unconstitutional was presented by Scheib. The court did not change the amount of funding allocated in SB19 for the current year. The state has also demonstrated an appropriation plan for funding the bill when it was passed.
“What the courts have said is the funding that has been in place for this year — they’re going to go ahead and stand behind and support,” Case said. “As we look to the future, the legislature is being charged with how to address some of the additional issues the courts didn’t feel like they addressed.”
Case said he felt good about this year and thought next year looked promising.
“I think it’s good to have a decision because it allows us to move forward with confidence as far as how we spend our budget and how we go about moving forward with finalizing our negotiations,” he said. “It’s good to have it behind us so we can move forward.”
The deadline for the state to demonstrate to the court that its proposed remedy brings the state’s education financing system into compliance with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution will be June 30, 2018.
“The drama is still not over with this,” Board President Doug Epp said. “It will be an interesting time again. Stay tuned; we will do the best we can.”
In other news, Case presented a report on his attendance recently at the Technology and Learning Leadership Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, which consisted of approximately 54 school superintendents and district technology leaders.
Case said the event was a positive experience for him as it put him around a group of like-minded thinkers.
“The thing that really stood out to me from the institute was the fact that we really have to paint a vivid picture of what it is we want for our staff, community and our students. It allowed me to stretch my thinking and knowledge of where we are at.
“I think that is always something I can continue to work on building, so that vision and leadership piece for our district is vitally important. I think any time you are around a group of people like that, it energizes you as far as what you want to accomplish.”
During the public comment portion of the meeting, board members recognized Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees Laura Evins, early childhood teacher from Maynard Early Childhood Center and Christy Dragonas, a language arts teacher at Emporia Middle School.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the purchase of four new transits for transportation purposes in the amount of $111,784 to be funded out of the capital outlay fund.
During the consent agenda, the board approved a donation to Emporia High School from the EHS class of 1962. Five years ago, the class of 62 moved the bell and pedestal from the former high school to its current location. The class raised more than $6,000 and the move was made at little cost to the district.
Class members wanted a five-foot brick patio installed around the bell, and one classmate donated 1,000 red brick pavers for the project. The class raised the money necessary to excavate and install a concrete form to hold the bricks.
“It’s been five years and they’ve raised enough money to put a courtyard area around the bell,” Scheib said. “It will allow people to enjoy the area around the bell.”
Board members took two executive sessions, from which no action was taken.
The board will next meet at 7 p.m. Nov. 8.