Director of safety and security Shawn Lampe reported at the Dodge City Unified School District 443 Board of Education’s Nov. 9 meeting that COVID-19 numbers in the school district have increased, with 28 active student cases and 40 active staff member cases.


"This includes, not just teachers, but secretaries, nutrition staff, paras, custodians, anybody working in that building," Lampe said.


Lampe said another major concern is the number of people absent from schools due to quarantine or otherwise possible exposure reasons, with recent numbers showing 327 students and 44 staff members currently out of school.


Lampe reiterated that people that run into complications with COVID-19, be it an active case or exposure, are calling the schools and informing them of their situation. That information is then passed along to Lampe.


When board member Jeff Hiers asked if an incident when a bus trip to a football game in Topeka was detoured by two students who received calls that members of their family had tested positive for COVID-19 was true, Lampe did confirm that was the case.


Hiers also inquired what happened to the two students in question, Lampe responded that one student was picked up in Larned by his parents, while the other was picked up in Great Bend, which took place on the same day at two separate times.


To maintain currently employed school bus drivers in the district, the BOE voted 7-0 to implement an EmployeeReferral/NewHireSchoolBusDriverSignonBonusProgram to encourage the referring and hiring of new school bus drivers.


"While there is a sign-on bonus for new bus drivers, the real incentive is for the person who does the referring," explained executive director of business and operations Simeon Russell.


The recruiting bus driver will receive a referral bonus of $250 following 60 days after the hiring of the new employee, followed by another $250 after 90 days of the hiring date, constituting a total referral of $500.


The newly hired school bus driver will a receive a first $125 sign-on bonus after 60 days of their hiring date and another $125 bonus after 90 days, constituting a total sign-on bonus of $250.


These bonuses will come from the transportation budget.


Board members passed 7-0 to approve the position for an academic interventionist coordinator, proposed by deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction Scott Springston.


Statistical information from FastBridge and the Kansas Assessment Program shows that over 70% of USD 443 students are behind target grade level for reading and math.


This position will be critical in supporting teachers and administrators in implementing academic intervention supports and increasing student progress in math and reading, by aiding instructional coaches and the deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction.


The academic interventionist coordinator will be an 11-month position with a base salary of $75,500 and the position will be filled as soon as a qualified candidate is found.


A motion was passed 7-0 to approve a bid in the total amount of $704,535.93by Building Solutions to self-perform work toward the Memorial Stadium renovation project that was approved in September.


The board voted 7-0 to finalize and close the sale of the Building Trades house located at 10575 E. Briarwood Drive to Casey W. BlackburnandJamie L. Blackburn for the offer of$272,000.


The proceeds from the sale will be allocated to the purchase of materials needed for the construction of the next Building Trades house.


The BOE approved 7-0, the purchase of radios with the State of Kansas contract held by Mobile Radio Service Inc, in the amount of $29,812.55 from Capital Outlay funds.