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USD 313 Sets Hearing for Open-Enrollment Policy, Approves Contract with Dillon Nature Center for Educational Programs


By Lucky Kidd


BUHLER, Kan. — The Buhler USD 313 Board of Education Monday set a hearing Nov. 13 on a new open-enrollment policy. The policy, mandated by the Kansas legislature, requires school districts to accept students from outside their district if there is space in their buildings.

The policy that USD 313 is considering does have one variation from what the Kansas Association of School Board recommended for the policy, in that students whose parents or legal guardians work for the Reno County Education Cooperative and are assigned to USD 313 will be considered resident students for this policy, the same as for out of district students whose parents work for the district directly.

The hearing in November will begin at 5:45 PM, prior to the regular November Board meeting.

A $6,000 contract was approved with Dillon Nature Center covering various educational programs at the center and in district schools. The agreement also allows USD 313 use of the Nature Center’s meeting room for various meetings, seminars, retreats and such.

The board accepted gifts and grants including a $118,180 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the Kansas K-12 Stay Positive Test Negative initiative, and donations of $5,000 from the Buhler Community Foundation for the Shade our Playground project at Buhler Grade School, and $450 from Stutzman’s Greenhouse for the BGS preschool for purchase of class t-shirts for family events.

Out of state travel was approved for seven teachers to take part in a three-day visit to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, and for Superintendent Cindy Couchman to attend a conference in San Diego in February.

Couchman reported that while the final reports are still not complete, indications are USD 313 will see a slight decline in student enrollment for this year, though enrollment in Ad Astra Academies programs is up.

Among personnel actions, the board approved the hiring of Isaac Brockelman as director of grounds, Danny Owens as eSports assistant coach, Jim Gazaway as Junior Class sponsor, and Jessie McElheney as Rise Up Reno County Sponsor for Prairie Hills Middle School.

In reviewing bills for the month, Business Manager Shane Hecox noted one particular bill of note that he thought was unusual. The bill from Evergy for electric service for August was actually around $2,000 less than the August 2022 bill, especially notable in light of the extended stretch of very hot temperatures this year.