The Bowlus Commission, an advisory committee for the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, offered a price break of $40,000 to the local school district, in light of the state’s budget cuts to education.
Susan Raines, Bowlus executive director, apprised USD 257 Board of Education members — who double as Bowlus trustees — of the commission’s endorsement for the 2015-16 school year. The district will pay the Bowlus $103,000 for the center’s use in 2015-16.
THE ALUMNI Endowment Association is hoping to lead the district to an innovative opportunity.
Brett Linn, association board president, told school board members Monday the association’s goal is to get students career and college ready.
To do this, the association is seeking donations to purchase computer numerical control (CNC) equipment, a plasma router and cutter for the vocational department.
Dana Daugharthy, Iola High School chemistry and physics teacher, said the association would like to integrate Project Lead the Way into the school system.
PLTW is the largest provider of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs in the country.
“It applies math and science to engineering projects,” Daugharthy said. “Hands-on learning leads to higher scores on the state science and math assessments.”
These high school graduates typically land higher paying jobs as compared to their peers, Daugharthy said.
Careers in the STEM field are expected to grow 17 percent by 2018. Iola can keep up with demand by bringing the engineering program to the classroom.
There are no PLTW programs in USD 257’s geographic area, which would make the district a leader.
The curriculum would include computer science and software design, aerospace engineering and architecture.
“We definitely need this as a district,” Daugharthy said.
The cost of purchasing equipment for the program is $40,000. The association would foot the bill. Teachers would be trained to teach courses for the 2016-17 school year.
The board voted to help with the $3,500 annual cost of the program.
“This is the most exciting time for USD 257,” board member Buck Quincy said. “This is something that will benefit our kids.”
JACK KOEHN, superintendent of schools, said the transition of the elementary schools to attendance centers is going smoothly. Teachers have been assigned their rooms at each building and district meetings have been held.
Student orientation at each center is May 6. On Aug. 25, the day before school starts, the district plans to host a district-wide open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The board accepted the resignations of Julea Decker as a McKinley Elementary School third grade teacher; Matt Hoffman as assistant principal at Iola High School and Stacie Smail as a paraprofessional at Windsor Place Preschool.
The board hired Cody Hager as part of the summer technology team; Aubry Keller as a high school science teacher; Sharon Frankenberry as the first semester family consumer science teacher; Breanna Esslinger as the second semester family consumer science teacher; and Jay Applegate as high school boys head basketball coach.
Board members approved administrative contracts for 2015-16 for Stacey Fager, Martin Bambick, Jack Stanley, Brad Crusinbery, Angie Linn, Lori Maxwell and Jason Marciano.