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BOE paves way for bidding process of new road





Discussion at the Hays USD 489 Board of Education special meeting Monday night focused on two elementary schools, O'Loughlin and Roosevelt.

Since many O'Loughlin parents use Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior-Senior High School's Victory Road for student pick-up and drop-off, the road's closing likely will cause traffic problems.

The Heartland Parish Catholic School Board notified the school district in late June the road, which runs north of O'Loughlin, is closing to daily traffic.

After meeting with O'Loughlin principal Nancy Harman, district architect Terry Ault and transportation director Russ Henningsen, Superintendent Will Roth said he recommended the option that connects with 13th Street and has an extension onto 12th Street.

"All of the other options ... people had to enter and leave on Hall Street," he said. "This gives us an access to 12th Street to help take some of the load off. It also directs traffic to 13th Street where there is a (stop) light."

Ault said it will take at least three weeks to have information for the bidding process.

In the meantime, some students might have to be dropped off and picked up at an alternative site, "probably Hays Middle School, for at least the fourth- and fifth-graders at O'Loughlin," Roth said.

The board voted 6-0 to move forward on the 12th Street option and to have Greg Schwartz and Darren Schumacher, board president and vice president, talk to TMP-Marian representatives about using Victory Road in the meantime.

"It's not going to be convenient for parents if they have a kindergartner and fifth-grader to drop off," Roth said.

The discussion of Roosevelt Elementary School centered on a broken air-conditioning unit.

Students and teachers there won't have to broil in the heat.

The board voted to lease a portable chiller at a cost of $10,000 to $14,000 a month while staff investigates options for repairing the broken unit temporarily or buying a new one.

"At least we'd be covered if some of these other options didn't pan out," board member Lance Bickle said of the portable chiller.

Ted Quint, USD 489 maintenance worker, said parts for the broken unit aren't readily available, and he isn't sure if it can be retrofitted with a new compressor.

"The unit is so old, they cannot replace the compressor," he said.

Board member James Leiker was absent from Monday's meeting.

In other business, the board:

* Approved the multi-peril and worker compensation insurance for the 2013-14 school year costing $454,516.

Board members expressed concern about a premium increase of more than $100,000 and asked about a grace period.

Larry Caspers, Insurance Planning Inc., said there is no grace period, and Insurance Planning told the district about some of the increase.

"We've kept you covered this whole time without your approval (of the contract)," he said.

* Approved the board president signing the financing agreement with Astra Bank for no-fund warrants.

* Entered into two executive sessions for a total of 45 minutes, with the board, Roth, Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain and Bill Jeter, board attorney, to discuss negotiations.

* Set Aug. 16 to interview interim superintendent candidates.