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The Eudora School Board had a rather long agenda to get through at their monthly board meeting on Thursday evening.
The Board made decisions on a variety of topics which included adding two days to the calendar to make up for snows used this year. School will now be in session on April 1 and 26. April 1 was originally designated as a day off and April 26th was a teacher inservice day.
“Changing the calendar mid-year is never a perfect solution,” said Superintendent of Schools Don Grosdidier, “but this year’s snowy winter just allowed us no other choice.”
Eudora Schools used several snow days during the two recent winter storms that occurred during February. The state requires that school districts are in session a certain number of hours in the school year which is why the district need to make up the days.
In other news, the Board gave the green light to begin work on remodeling a portion of the old West Elementary School as a new home for the District’s Central offices. Currently, the offices are located at 1002 10th Street just west of Church street. The building also serves as the bus barn for the district.
District officials had raised concerns for a while about health and safety issues with the buses parking in the same building and very minimal separation of the offices and the garage. Grosdidier mentioned that fumes from the buses permeated the office area often.
A portion of West Elementary is currently being rented out to the Southeast Kansas Education Service Greenbush which operates a resource center in the building for school districts and state agencies in Kansas to assist those entities with alternative education programs. Greenbush and the Eudora District offices would share the facility once the remodeling of a portion of the building is completed. Grosdidier estimated that the cost of the remodeling for the District offices would be approximately $50,000 and come from the capital outlay fund. The offices are expected to be ready for use by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. The current District offices will be utilized mostly for storage once the move is completed.
The Board also approved a security upgrade to Eudora Middle School to install video cameras and install better door security at the school. Grosdider declined to cite the specifics of the upgrades in an opening meeting as a security precaution. District officials had spent the last few months performing a security audit of all district properties in the light of recent incidents, the most prominent being the shooting that occurred in Newtown, CT in December.
Grosdider said that security in the district has always been a priority to the staff of the district.
“We will continue analyzing and improving the level of security at all our buildings,” Grosdidier said. “It is something that we are constantly evaluating to make sure that our students are safe.”
The Board also was asked to review the policy of not naming a valedictorian of the Senior Class by a parent of a current senior. The Board had changed the policy in recent years and instead recognizes students with the Top Academic Honors-Academic Excellence distinction. To obtain the the Top Honors, a student must have a 4.0 or above weighted GPA, having completed at least 10 semesters of weighted classes and score a 28 or higher on the ACT exam Top Academic Honors-Academic Excellence.
Since the question about reinstating the valedictorian involved a specific student, the Board met in Executive Session and discussed the matter for nearly 50 minutes. Following the Executive Session, the Board announced that it would not be changing the policy at this time. There was no information on exactly what was discussed in that private meeting.