Superintendent Updates
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February 6, 2017

Staff Update- Friday, February 3, 2017

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.

Regards, Greg

January 28, 2017

Staff Update- Friday, January 27, 2017

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.

Next steps:

  • January 30: BOE pass resolution for a May 9 Bond Election (See Board Docs for the resolution)
  • February 10: Application to the State Board of Education is due
  • March 10: State Board of Education acts on our request
  • March 11- May 9: Information campaign
  • May 9: Bond Election
  • May 9 - Forward: If one or both of the questions pass, formal planning will begin - the goal would be to have all projects accomplished in three years. (To begin the 2020-2021 School Year)

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!

Regards, Greg

December 12, 2016

Staff Update

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:

  • By far the most important thing going on tonight is the Facilities Master Plan report from the architects and committee members. It will summarize the process and outline the groups recommendations. I sent those to you a couple weeks ago so I won't go into detail here. The presentation is available on Board Docs. This is an exciting time for the district and community and I look forward to seeing where the board wants to go from here.
  • We will also discuss draft district calendars for both 2017-18 and 2018-19. We decided to try and develop two school years because we always get questions about the calendar. This will be the first time to approve two years at a time, so we'll see how it goes. Final calendar decisions will be made at the January, 9  2017 BOE meeting.

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

December 2, 2016

Staff Update

Greetings All! Happy Friday! Hope you've settled in after Thanksgiving. Amazing to think the 1st semester is almost over. Time flies.

CONGRATS to Marcia Base, AMS, Kim Hett, eCademy and Amanda Young, AHS for being selected as Andover's Master Teacher nominees for the 2016-17 school year! We are proud of you ladies. Thanks for all you do for our students and for your colleagues! 

Thanks to those of you who were able to attend and offer feedback at the Facilities Master Plan meetings in November. We held 18 meetings, got a lot of feedback. This is indeed an exciting time for Andover!

The Facilities Steering Committee met on Tuesday night to develop a final recommendation for our district’s long range master plan. They had a great conversation, looked at a lot of data and did come to general consensus on the major issues.

The committee unanimously supported the proposed elementary, middle, ACHS and athletic enhancements that were discussed at the various staff/community meetings.

The committee will also recommend that the long range master plan include a NEW AHS and a NEW Meadowlark. Both concepts didn't get unanimous consensus, but they got overwhelming support and in the end, those were solid recommendations.

The committee did not support the swimming pool concept as an immediate need but will include swimming facilities in the long range plan and suggest the BOE get more district input on the concept. We have to remember, the committee was charged with developing a long range plan, not just a list of immediate needs. Some of the items on the list may not be done immediately, but in the future. The good news, we have options and they are all good!

The committee also recommends that the BOE do a formal, scientifically valid survey of the community to determine what the community would support if a bond issue is being considered. The BOE will get a full report and have time to discuss facilities at the December 12 BOE meeting. Might be an interesting one to attend! :-)

Now that the Steering Committee has finalized their recommendation, the conversation will shift to next steps. Some of you have asked about a bond issue. If we want to have a bond issue this spring, the BOE would need to take official action by the end of January. Between now and then, they will review and discuss options, more than likely survey the community and then make a final decision whether to go forward. If they do go forward, they will also need to decide how much to put into the first phase and thus, how much money to ask for in a bond.

I'll keep you and your building administrators posted on progress and would be happy to hold more informal meetings to discuss facilities if you would like, just let me know.

If you want to get in the holiday spirit, I'd suggest you attend the Winter Concert of the Trojan Children's Choir on December 9 - 7:00 pm. at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. This group is made up of mostly elementary students from Cottonwood, Martin and Wheatland. 

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend! 


November 28, 2016

Staff Update- November 22

Greetings Andover Team,

Another great couple of weeks are in the books and we are looking straight into a long, well-deserved holiday! As Thanksgiving draws near, I can't help to think of how thankful I am to work with all of you. Person for person, we are as talented a bunch as any school district in the country!! Sometimes I don't think we slow down and appreciate how fortunate we are to be part of something as special as Andover! As you prepare for Thanksgiving, I challenge each of you to seek out one of your colleagues and let them know how much you appreciate them! All of us work so hard and recognition from our peers goes a long way to making us feel part of the team! 

Speaking of teams.. I'd like to congratulate the teams at AHS and ACHS for putting together two very nice musicals for us. AHS's "The Drowsy Chaperone" and ACHS's "The Pajama Game" were both excellent! There are so many components to putting on a nice musical and both the adults and students should be commended for their talent, creativity and dedication! Thank you! Just another example of what makes Andover special! 

We concluded our Facility Study community and staff meetings last week, collected feedback from over 400 people and now the Steering Committee will meet on November 29 to finalize their recommendation. It is exciting to hear about the vision and feel the excitement for what Andover can do for our facilities, now and into the future!! No doubt the Andover School District is a tremendous value for the students, parents and patrons of Andover. Our patrons do notice and appreciate what we do!! 

Have a great Thanksgiving. If you are traveling, be safe. If you are staying home, enjoy a peaceful holiday. You deserve it. Come back rested and ready to finish the first semester strong. Thank you for "Adding Value" to our school district and the community of Andover! 


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