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USD 418 Considering Contracting out for Custodial Services, Graduation Requirement Changes for Class of 2028


By Lucky Kidd


McPHERSON, Kan. — McPherson USD 418 is on the verge of contracting out for custodial services at McPherson High School after the Board of Education Monday accepted a one-year proposal from AgTac Service Group. Superintendent Shiloh Vincent said a major factor in making this move is a long-term difficulty in hiring and retaining custodial staff at MHS.

While the high school should have an equivalent of 12 full time custodians, they are now at six when they all show up, and they are putting in a lot of overtime with one of them working a recent 80-hour week. Possible factors for this include a combination of the more complex tasks at MHS and local industry offering higher wages to workers in the labor pool custodians typically are drawn from.

ATS provides custodial services to a number of Kansas School Districts, locally including Buhler USD 313 where it services all district buildings. Final action on a contract is expected at the March meeting.

Vincent also provided the board a report on changes in graduation requirements, which will take effect for the class of 2028, or this year’s 8th graders. A key component of this is what are called post-secondary assets, of which two will be required for graduation under the new requirement from the Kansas State Board of Education.

Vincent noted the vast majority of students currently are leaving with at least two assets, which can range from career training to activity participation. Another change in the requirements is that one semester of the English Language Arts requirement will have to focus on communication skills.

One area of question at this point deals with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math classes, and what would count to meet that requirement. Overall McPherson High School has most of the pieces in place to meet the new requirement.

The board approved a new tiered wage schedule for substitute teachers. The adopted proposal was modified from what was initially presented to the Board last month, and will start daily compensation at 110 dollars, which would increase with additional years of service. It also would set pay for retired certified teachers who substitute at 150 dollars per day.

For long term placements, additional days beyond the first 15 days will be paid at a rate of 220 dollars per day. The board did discuss possibly increasing the pay for long term placements to the higher level from day one in cases where it’s known it’s a long term placement. Assistant Superintendent Jamie Lewis said there has already been a lot of interest shown from potential substitutes. The changes will take effect February 16th to align with district payroll.

The Board of Education Monday heard on first reading a proposed policy on staff online activities. The proposed policy drafted by the Kansas Association of School Boards, sets out policies for use of social networking sites for instructional, administrative or other work related communication purposes, which would require the approval of the superintendent or their designee, and discourages staff from creating personal social network accounts to which they would invite current or future students to be friends. Action on this policy is expected to be taken in March or April.

A trip by the McPherson High School baseball team to Enid, Oklahoma for a team-building activity March 13-14 was approved by the USD 418 Board of Education Monday, The team will raise necessary funds for the trip except for transportation which the Board agreed to provide.

In other actions, the board approved an early graduation request, disposal of various surplus items for the district, made board member committee assignments, and approved various policy recommendations from the Kansas Association of School Boards as presented last month.