Hard to imagine we are already in the 4th quarter of school and spring break is here. Time flies! Please take a moment during the break to reflect on the many things we have accomplished this year! Don't ever take for granted the many talented, dedicated people you work with each and every day! This is a special place!
This morning we surprised Meghan Chapman and Heather Hawkins by naming them the USD 385 Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees. Congrats to Meghan, 3rd grade teacher at RMES (and an AHS graduate) and Heather, ACMS Media Specialist! You will represent us well!
Yesterday's AAF grant celebration was fun! Amazing to see an outside group give the district $80,000 yesterday and over $1 million since AAF was formed. As you are well aware, our community has high expectations but they also offer tremendous support. Nice to have both!
There continues to be a lot of behind the scene work on the May 9 Bond Issue as we plan for an informational campaign in April/May. This week the State Board of Education approved our application and authorized the state to pay 24% of the bond if it passes. Informational material and building specific display boards are being developed and the Bond Website continues to add new information and frequently asked questions. I encourage you to review the website and use it to educate the community. Please note -- the deadline to register to vote is April 18 and you can request an advanced mail in ballot anytime before May 1. Voter registration information is at this link. I hope those of you who live in the district will vote and encourage others to do the same! The last election had approximately 3000 voters so if our 600 employees and eligible family members vote, it would make a tremendous difference! You will begin hearing more about the bond in April as the May 9 dates draws closer!
Have a nice break and thanks for all you do to make Andover special.
Greetings Andover Staff:
In our ongoing quest to improve services to our families and students, we are constantly evaluating programs. For the last several years, we have taken a hard look at transportation and the first change was to contract our services with Durham. Now as Durham settles in and helps us to analyze our operation, we have identified a way to improve on-time bus delivery and reduce costs. For years, we've had a challenge with late arriving buses at our elementary schools (especially on the south side of the district) and the root cause is not enough time between secondary and elementary bell times.
Thus the purpose of my note, beginning next school year (2017-18) we are going to move the start and end times for the elementary schools forward by 10 minutes, 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. (They are currently 8:35-3:35) Moving the times later will provide an extra ten minutes between secondary and elementary schools which will get elementary bus students to school on time, reduce the number of bus routes and ultimately, save the district transportation costs.
We wanted you to be aware of this so you could help your administrators think about potential challenges. We'll also send something home to parents so they can plan accordingly.
One question I've been asked is about the contract day for elementary staff. We will change that by 10 minutes (8:10-4:10) to coincide with the bell time adjustment.
There are no changes proposed for our secondary schools. In summary....
School Start Times for 2017-18:
As always, let me know if you have questions.
Happy Friday Andover! I'm still wondering if we will ever get a snow day! :-)
As I'm sure you are aware, on Monday night the school board passed a resolution to hold a bond election on May 9. The bond issue is designed to address both current and future needs of the district and if passed, would have a tremendous impact on the district and the community. Throughout the over 11 month process of the facility study, the committee and the board heard loud and clear that our community trusts, values and supports our schools. They want us to remain the best and the proposed bond issue will indeed keep our facilities at the top!
High levels of community trust just don't happen by accident, trust is built through the actions of our employees and all of you do a tremendous job. Hearing about how the community felt about the district made me so proud to work here. In the current political climate we often feel unappreciated by others but I can assure you, our parents and community believes in you and has complete trust that you are doing well with their children. Thank you.
I've linked two documents that address some of the questions we get about the bond issue. The first is an overview of the proposed projects and general costs. The second is the Do's and Don'ts for employees related to a bond. As private citizens you can do as you please, but we need to be careful to NOT advocate for "Yes" votes during school time, with school resources. Our role during school time is to provide factual information and answer questions. I ask that you all use common sense and if you get into a situation you are not sure about, ask one of your administrators or let me know. There is also a great deal of information at this link on our district website. If you would like me to visit your school, department or community group to visit about the bond issue, please let me know. This is an important time to educate our patrons so they can make the best decision possible on May 9.
In the last two weeks I've had the privilege to attend student directed one act plays at both high schools. They were a lot of fun. We talk a lot about academic achievement and sports accomplishments but sometimes I wonder if we give our visual and performing arts programs the recognition they deserve. Andover is loaded with talent in so many ways! Nice job staff and students!
I plan to spend some time in Topeka next week to visit with our legislators. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of budget options floating around Topeka. None are very good because of the deep hole they are in financially, but at this point we don't have clarity about how they plan deal with school budgets. Things are beginning to happen so maybe I'll find out more next week. If so, I'll share what I can.
Thanks for completing the District Climate Survey. We had over 475 employees complete the survey and it provides us with excellent feedback on what is working, what isn't and some good suggestions for improvement. Overall, we have much to be proud of and you are very pleased with the work we are doing.
Have a great weekend. I would put in a plug for KSU basketball against KU on Monday night but with KSU's recent challenges, silence is probably a better way to go.
Greeting All - Happy Friday!!
Today our district has the honor to host a group of Kansas Regional Teachers of the Year. It nice to show off the great things going on in Andover! Thanks to our KTOY candidate, Janie Hachen CES, for organizing and hosting.
The Board has had several work sessions to discuss a potential bond issue and Monday afternoon at 4:30 they will consider a resolution to hold a bond election on May 9, 2017. The election would have two questions on the ballot. Each question would be voted on separately.
Question #1 includes all the proposed elementary school improvements, a new Meadowlark, most of the middle school improvements, a mostly new AHS on the same site, updated ACHS, updated athletic complexes at both high school/middle school campuses and repurposing the existing Meadowlark for eCademy and District Offices/Support Services. Total Cost: Approximately $164 million -- This can be done with NO increase in taxes (Mill rate would stay the same at 26 mills)
Question #2 includes three items:
- District Swimming Pool
- A District Career and Professional Studies Facility (CTE etc)
- Artificial Turf on the high school varsity baseball and softball fields
Cost: Approximately $20 million -- Passage of Question #2 would increase taxes by approximately 2.3 mills or about $2.25 per month on a $100,000 home.
This is an exciting time for Andover! We are fortunate to be in a position to enhance our facilities without significantly impacting taxes.
Several of you have asked about the state budget. Just as we have done before, I encourage you to keep the focus on things you can directly control and not overreact to the many "ideas" that are coming from Topeka. If and when things become more clear, we will deal with it. As a district, we have planned for hard times, but until we know the rules of the game, we will take a positive outlook. What you can do is contact your elected officials to remind them how important public education is to the community of Andover.(encourage your friends do the same)!! It is growing rather old to be in a constant state of financial crisis in Topeka.
Have a great weekend and don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!
Greetings Everyone! Welcome to Monday! The holiday season is drawing close! Hopefully you can slow down from the busyness of life and take time to appreciate and enjoy all the holiday season has to offer!
The Board of Education is meeting tonight at 6:30. Several items of interest:
I'd like to compliment all the staff members who were involved with the bomb threat at AMS last week. That was a very unfortunate situation but I couldn't have been prouder of the way the district responded to keep our kids safe and reassure the community that all would be OK. Thanks!! Another great example of Andover excellence in action!
Have a great week!! Greg