The Manhattan-Ogden School Board reorganized Wednesday evening, electing a new president and vice president for 2023.

Curt Herrman, who served as president over the past year, nominated Karla Hagemeister to lead the board. She previously served in the role in 2020.

“We have some great challenges coming up next year and Karla has really proven to be an effective leader that took us through COVID and you really were shortchanged last time you were president because you didn’t get to go anywhere or do anything,” he said.

Herrman also commended her ability to lead in a year that will see the district transition from Marvin Wade to Eric Reid as superintendent.

Hagemeister edged out Darell Edie for the position, in a 4-3 vote. Edie was nominated by Brandy Santos. Hagemeister spoke about goals for the board in the upcoming year.

“I want us to work in a manner that works towards consensus and works toward us working together as a group, knowing that there’s lots of different viewpoints and perspectives and I think that those are all good and part of what we need to do. Hopefully we’ll find things we can all support, because we’re all here for our students, our faculty and our families,” she said.

Jayme Morris-Hardeman was elected board vice president for 2023, receiving four votes. Other nominees included Christine Weixelman, who got two votes and Edie, who received one vote.

Legislative Update

A week after Gov. Laura Kelly announced a five-year plan to fully-fund special education across Kansas, USD 383 school board members received their first look at how that could potentially impact its spending authority.

The governor’s proposal would add $72.4 million annually for the next five years to special education funding, with a goal of meeting funding requirements by fiscal year 2028. Kansas law requires the state to provide 92% of the extra costs of special education. USD 383 Director of Business Services Lew Faust says that hasn’t happened in well over a decade.

“We haven’t been at the 92% level since 2011. This year, we’re estimated to be at 76% and I think that the estimate we heard from KSDE school finance was that we’d be at 72% and the year after that at 68% if nothing changes,” he said.

Faust says other factors come into play tied to special education, including a federal maintenance requirement that districts have to achieve each year.

“Basically you have to spend at least as much as you did the prior year or more to maintain the maintenance of effort criteria. There are some ways you can have some deductions in there, but generally speaking, you have to spend an equal amount or more from one year to the next, or you don’t meet it,” he said.

Faust also gave what he stressed is a preliminary figure on what the district’s budget authority would be in 2024, assuming the governor’s proposal got through with no legislative alterations. That figure, he says would be $54 million.

“That compares to $50 million in our estimated number for the budget this year, so an increase of almost $3.47 million in the general fund. I do the math on that and come up with a supplemental general fund projection increase of about $717,000. In round numbers (that’s) a 5% increase,” he said.

Factor in property valuations of over 13 percent, and district officials say it could help ease some of the burden on the mill levy. But even with more potential spending authority, Faust cautions that there will be inflationary factors that eat into any extra potential funds.

“I sat through a two hour membership meeting for our property, casualty, auto, liability insurance pool and they gave a preliminary estimate of what it’s going to be for next year… 20 to 25%. So there will be inflationary pressures that are going to eat into that,” he said.

Board members also approved a repair order for the chiller at the Manhattan High West Campus.

After completing new business, the board entered executive session. Following the closed session, the board returned to open session and approved a motion accepting the resignation of Human Resources Director Drew Montgomery and approved a motion to ratify a work agreement for Dr. Cleion Morton to become Interim Director of HR.

Morton is a former principal at Northview Elementary.