Highlights of the October Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA—October 14, 2009—The Kansas State Board of Education met on October 13-14, 2009, in the boardroom at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), 120 SE 10th Ave., Topeka. Ken Willard was not present for the duration of the two day meeting as he was out of town. John Bacon was not present until Tuesday’s afternoon session and left early during Wednesday’s session. All other members were present.
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Janet Waugh. Following the statement of the mission of the Kansas State Board of Education, the State Board observed a minute of silence. The pledge of allegiance was then recited, and the agenda was reviewed. The agenda was approved as amended 8-0, with Ken Willard and John Bacon absent for the vote. The September minutes were approved.
Commissioner’s Report: The Commissioner shared with the Board information regarding the awarding of $43 million for new five-year Teacher Quality Partnership grants to improve instruction in struggling schools. On the list of 28 nationwide schools, MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe and Wichita State University were among the schools awarded.
The Commissioner also presented the Board with her letter of resignation. Dr. Posny expressed her appreciation to the Board and to the Department of Education for allowing her to serve them as well as Kansas educators and children over the past 29 months. The Board regretfully accepted her resignation.
Dr. Posny was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). She will assume her new position next month.
Kansas High School Activities Association Annual Report: Executive Director Gary Musselman presented the KHSAA Annual Report to the Board. As per statutes of the State of Kansas, Mr. Musselman delivered to the Board office a copy of the 2009-2010 KSHSAA handbook, along with the following materials related to the 2008-2009 school year: Audit Report; KSHSAA Directory of Member Schools; KSHSAA Journals (August-May); Minutes of Board of Directors meetings; Executive Board and Appeal Board meetings; and a Synopsis of Major Changes (July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009) by the Board.
Citizen’s Open Forum: One constituent spoke during the Citizen’s Open Forum.
Update on the Kansas Longitudinal Data System: Kathy Gosa, director of information technology at KSDE, presented a progress report on the Enterprise Data System and answered questions from Board members. KSDE’s Enterprise Data System is nearing project completion; however, the process of managing the state’s critical data is ongoing. This report covered the progress made thus far on the Enterprise Data System. It outlined plans for continuing to enhance and expand the system to include additional data sets, ongoing transformation and loading of approved data sets, and planned data marts and dashboards for targeted stakeholder groups.
Executive Session: It was moved that the Board recess into Executive Session for a period of one hour, beginning at 12:30 p.m., for the purpose of consultation with its attorney so that attorney-client privilege be preserved and for the purpose of discussing personnel matters of nonelected personnel so the privacy, confidentiality and other rights of such personnel are not violated, and that the open meeting of the Board resume in the boardroom at 1:30 p.m. Motion passed 8-0. A motion was passed when the Board came back into open session to hire NASBE to conduct a search for a new commissioner.
State Report Card Data: Deputy Commissioner Diane DeBacker presented the results of the state assessments for 2009. For the ninth year in a row, Kansas continued to show an increase in student performance. With over 99% participation statewide, students were able to achieve 82.8% proficient in mathematics, and 85.7% in reading, up from 81% and 84.1% respectively.
Kansas Learning Network: Title Programs and Services Director Julie Ford summarized the various actions taken by the Kansas Learning Network (KLN) from July through September. Plans for the KLN through January as well as an overview of how the KLN plans to support Kansas’ Race to the Top application was discussed, and the new KLN website was revealed.
Disability History and Awareness Week: Colleen Riley, Director of Special Education Services, briefly presented the Board with information regarding Senate bill 41: Disability History and Awareness. It was proposed the Board proclaim the third week in October as Disability History and Awareness Week in conjunction with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The motion was passed 9-0 and the proclamation was signed by the Board Chair Janet Waugh and Commissioner of Education Alexa Posny.
Executive Session: It was moved that the Board recess into another Executive Session for a period of 30 minutes, beginning at 4:30 p.m., for the purpose of consultation with their attorney so that attorney-client privilege be preserved and for the purpose of discussing personnel matters of nonelected personnel so the privacy, confidentiality and other rights of such personnel are not violated, and that the open meeting of the Board resume in the boardroom at 5:00 p.m. Motion passed 9-0. After returning to open session, the Board voted 9-0 to extend their Executive Session for a period of 30 minutes, returning to open session at 5:30 p.m. No action was taken when the Board came back into open session; the Board then recessed for the evening.
The meeting was reconvened on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. The agenda was approved 9-0.
Chairman’s Report: Chairman Janet Waugh reported on the Kansas Teacher of the Year conference on November 21, 2009 in Wichita and encouraged other Board members to attend.
Evaluations were handed out in order to assess Commissioner Alexa Posny, Board Attorney Mark Ferguson and Board Secretary Penny Plamann, the results of which are to be discussed in an executive session during November’s Board meeting.
It was moved by Kathy Martin and seconded by John Bacon that Deputy Commissioner Diane DeBacker be appointed as Interim Commissioner during the time in which the Board finds a permanent replacement for Dr. Posny. Motion passed 9-0.
Board Attorney’s Report: The Board attorney provided his report. It was moved and seconded to approve the attorney’s bill. Motion carried 8-1 with Chappell voting in opposition and Willard absent.
Legislative Coordinator’s Report: Sue Storm briefly reported the state’s Catastrophic Aid concerns affecting special education.
Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom: Cathy Musick, Executive Director from the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) updated the Board on recent activities. The Foundation helps teachers learn about the state’s leading industry and provides them with direction as they discover new ways to integrate agricultural awareness into their classrooms on a daily basis. The program was able to reach 35,960 students in 2009 through workshops, conventions and school assemblies.
Legislative Matters: Deputy Commissioner Dale M. Dennis presented the most recent budget reports to the Board, focusing attention on the reductions schools have been making and noting the overall impact on student learning. It was moved that the Board research consolidation or reorganization and the cost-saving potential as a result. The motion carried 6-1-1 with Janet Waugh in opposition, Kathy Martin abstaining, and Ken Willard, John Bacon absent for the vote.
Other Board Member Reports: Jana Shaver reviewed the Policy Committee’s revisions to the current Board policies and clarified any questions on verbiage with the assistance of Rod Bieker. She also reported on her attendance at the Kansas Coordinated School Health conference held in September in Wichita.
Kathy Martin briefly discussed the happenings of the Kansas Volunteer Commission.
Walt Chappell shared with the Board his financial concerns regarding a recent visit to the Wichita Area Technical College. Chappell also discussed the Kansas Department of Health’s dropout prevention program, “Drop In.”
Sally Cauble shared her experience as a breakout speaker at a reading conference in Garden City.
The Board discussed future agenda items and approved both the consent agenda and travel. The meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m. The next meeting will be November 10, 2009, in the KSDE boardroom, Topeka.
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