USD 457 board talks gun policy, budget




The USD 457 administration on Monday presented the Board of Education with a proposed policy that would prohibit district employees who have concealed-carry permits from bringing them on school property or to school-sponsored activities.

Steven Karlin, deputy superintendent, presented the board with a revised policy addressing the new state law that allows people with concealed-carry permits to carry concealed handguns into public buildings.

"... The board's position under this policy would be that employees are not allowed, even those with concealed-carry handgun permits, to be in possession of their weapon while they are at school or at a school-sponsored activity. That is certainly (the Kansas Association of School Boards') recommendation, and that is the administration's recommendation that the practice be handled that way," Karlin said.

He said that the policy would be applicable to all of the district's property.

School districts are exempted from the requirements of municipal buildings and community colleges in that they aren't required to provide security plans and equipment such as metal detectors in lieu of allowing concealed-carry handguns.

"The situation for K-12 schools is better than it is for municipalities and the community colleges. We are exempt from those requirements under the law," Karlin said.

The board didn't take any action on the proposal on Monday, and is expected to either further discuss it at the board's next meeting on July 22 or it may be included on that meeting's consent agenda for approval.

The board also heard from USD 457 Financial Officer K.J. Lager, who presented the 2013-14 budget proposal. The proposed budget includes a general fund that would increase $331,603 from last year. The general fund budget in 2012-13 was $49,683,294, and the proposed general fund for 2013-14 is $50,014,897.

Lager said because of the increase in the general fund, the supplemental general fund also would need to increase. The proposed budget calls for the supplemental general fund to be increased to 25 percent of the general fund. Last year's supplemental general fund was $12.5 million, and the proposed 2013-14 supplemental general fund would increase $100,000 to $12.6 million.

The proposed budget also calls for a .79-mill increase, from 49.88 mills in 2012-13 to 50.67 mills in 2013-14. There was also a 1.5 percent increase in assessed valuations. In 2012, the assessed valuation was $323,233,854 and in 2013 it is $327,908,570.

The budget is expected to be approved for publication at the board's next scheduled meeting, 7 p.m. July 22, and then a public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Board members also elected a new board president and vice president and were presented with the third initiative of the district's five-year strategic plan.

Tom Blackburn, vice president of the board for the 2012-13 school year, was elected as the board's president by a unanimous vote. Blackburn served on the board from 2005 to 2009 and was elected to another term in 2011. He is taking over the president's position from Jean Clifford, who served as the president of the board for the 2012-13 school year. She has served on the Board of Education since 2009.

After Clifford handed the gavel over to Blackburn, he thanked her for her service and told board members that Clifford will continue to attend state board of education meetings so that Garden City continues to be represented at the state level.

Board Members Dr. Gloria Hopkins and Tim Cruz were each nominated to fill the vice president's spot vacated by Blackburn, but Hopkins was elected by a 4-3 vote. She has served on the Board of Education since 2009 and was the board president during the 2011-12 school year.

Karlin also presented the third board initiative of efficiency, safety and infrastructure. Within the initiative are three goals: to provide safe, secure and well-maintained learning environments, to improve operational processes to be efficient, supportive and cost-effective, and to provide ongoing effective technological applications to improve efficiency, instruction and learning.

Board members made suggestions to Karlin, in terms of revisions to the goals and sub-goals. He will present a revised version of the initiative at the July 22 meeting.

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