Newly elected USD 443 Board of Education member Pamela Preston took her place at the first official meeting of the year. One seat remains open with the resignation of Joyce Warshaw. A public notice will appear in the Dodge City Daily Globe, notifying the public of the vacancy.

"We are required, by law, to pass a resolution that we do have an opening and put in the paper a public notice," Dr. Fred Dierksen, Superintendent of Schools said. "You have to wait 15 days after it’s published before you make a decision on replacing the vacancy. There is no law on the process used in making that replacement."

In addition, there is no required timeline is making an appointment to fill the vacancy.

"The bottom line is it comes down to the six of you and the steps you want to take," Dierksen said.

In other business, an additional 340,000 square feet of space is being added across the district, as a result of the bond projects. With that addition, comes an increased need for staff.

"We’ve looked at cleaning rooms every other day but the overwhelming opinion is that’s not enough," William Hammond said. "But we have set money aside to make sure we have clean and well-maintained buildings."

For custodial staff, the district uses a national standard of 2500 square feet an hour that a person can effectively maintain the cleanliness, safety, and every day operations of the grounds and facilities. Currently, the district is behind by 522 work orders, calling for an evaluation of both maintenance and custodial departments.

"It’s overwhelming some days. I walked in this morning, I had a freezer down and classrooms without heat," Maintenance Supervisor Chris Meyer said. "Principals and staff work with us really well but we would like to do a better job. We feel these positions would help us be more efficient and better serve the district."

A Community Tour of the bond projects is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. Anyone interested in the tour should contact Public Information at 620-371-1023.

"There are some parts of our construction projects that this is probably not an optimum time to visit so Hutton Construction will determine which sites will provide the best tour a few days before," William Hammond, Executive Director of Business and Operations said. "The tour will last approximately an hour and a half."

Dierksen recognized the loss of the district’s attorney, Ken Strobel, who passed away a few days prior.

"We will miss him greatly," board president Lisa Killion added.

The board meets at Wilroads Gardens during a noon meeting on Jan. 29. The next evening meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 in the Austen Board Room. The meeting begins at 6 p.m.