Wamego School Board passes budget

The total mill levy for Wamego’s USD 320 is slightly higher than last year’s. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Denise O’Dea announced the Total mill levy was reduced since the budget was published. She said Code 99 was published with a total mill levy of 57.677, but by reducing the Bond and Interest mill levy, it lowered the 2012-13 proposed mill levy to 57.171 mills, which is .010 mills greater than last year’s mill levy rate of 57.161. The budget was approved 6 to 1, with Board President Philip Wethington opposing.

After a 45-minute executive session, the board voted 4 to 3 to advance a student to Freshman for the 2012-13 school year, allowing the student to skip the 8th grade. After a brief discussion, Board member Richard Weixelman made a motion not to accept any grade skipping applications until the board has a formal policy in place.

The teachers and staff of Wamego’s USD 320 will be saving money on health care. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent O’Dea presented a proposal from Coventry Preferred Health Systems for comparable health care coverage which includes prescription coverage. O’Dea said the District has a health insurance committee which did the research into different coverage due to Blue Cross/Blue Shields’ announced premium increases. According to the proposal, both the District and the insured will see reduced insurance costs. In a 7 to 0 vote, the board adopted the recommendation to go with Preferred Health Systems effective October 1st.

USD 320 will see some changes due to the waiver granted to the State of Kansas. At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Cirriculum Director Mary Kaye Siebert gave an overview of waiver of some of the provisions of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation in September 20-11. According to Siebert, Kansas sought a waiver in an effort to move away from a narrowly defined accountability system that gave a limited and often misleading view of a school or district’s success in improving student achievement.

Siebert said the waiver does not eliminate accountability measures, but it allows the district to implement a system that will provide a more meaningful measure of success and progress of students and schools. She said Kansas, like other states, was already prepared to meet the waiver criteria for establishing college and career ready expectations for students because it adopted the Common Core Standards for English language arts and math.