Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fate of USD 491 properties in question

Parents wait as students file out of Nottingham Elementary School Tuesday afternoon. Though the new elementary school will not be open until fall 2009, the Eudora USD 491 School Board has begun to look into options it has with the Nottingham property, as well as others such as the Community Learning Center and Laws Field.

Parents wait as students file out of Nottingham Elementary School Tuesday afternoon. Though the new elementary school will not be open until fall 2009, the Eudora USD 491 School Board has begun to look into options it has with the Nottingham property, as well as others such as the Community Learning Center and Laws Field.

January 17, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: January 18, 2008, 10:53 a.m.

The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education discussed on Thursday what the fate of properties such as Nottingham Elementary School, the Community Learning Center and Laws Field might be.

One option would be that the board would retain the property for other district functions. The school district also has the opportunity to gain more revenue if they should choose to sell the property where Nottingham Elementary School, which is located between Church and Elm Streets at 14th Street, currently sits.

"One of the decisions for selling the property is parceling," Kobza said. "For instance, the area that is the softball field, the play area behind it and the building itself by parceling it, some of it could be sold more quickly after the students are out (of the building)."

Because of its proximity to the Kansas Highway 10 interchange, the property is a prime piece of real estate.

"It's probably one of the most valuable parcels for economic development in the city," Kobza said. "It can really enhance the city. I think, also, if we want to do some improvements in other areas, the revenue off of that sale can help us do that, whether we're looking at some kind of partnership with the library or whether we're looking at something in regards to a central operations office."

The Community Learning Center, which is located at 900 Main St. and at one time was Eudora Middle School, could be used for district offices.

"When we talk about the Community Learning Center property - as far as future use for us - it would involve taking that building down and rebuilding something in its place," Superintendent of Schools Marty Kobza said. "Another option could be to sell it, as well. So, I think there are a lot of things to consider there, but if we did anything over there, it would not be in the existing structure."

The Eudora School Board will discuss what to do with Nottingham as well as other properties at a date as yet undecided.

In other business, the board:

¢ Discussed an improvement in ACT scores for 2007. Seventy-seven students took the test and scores were up across the board. The composite score of 22 is the highest score in the history of Eudora.

"It's been a real focus for our high school because we were not scoring as high as we thought we should've scored for quite some time," Kobza said. "When I say focus, I mean we knew we had to make curricular changes a few years ago. We had to change our instructional methods and our teachers did a really great job doing that - embracing change and really getting on board with some of the curricular issues."

Kobza said an effort was made in the area of teaching a more technical style of writing.

During the meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Curriculum and Instruction, Don Grosdidier told the board improvement in writing typically lead to improvement across the board in most subjects.

The manner in which subject areas were taught also changed.

"We got away from trying do everything, and do it at a very shallow level, to doing the more essential pieces and getting more depth involved with those," Kobza said.

¢ Congratulated the school district on awards that its publications won. The Kansas Association of School Boards awarded certificates of excellence to the district's Web site and The Card; and awarded certificates of merit to the district's building newsletters and a brochure for the Eudora Schools Foundation

¢ Discussed a new preliminary administrative structure. The biggest change would be the addition of both instructional coaches and instructional technologists. Board member Belinda Rehmer remarked the structure appeared to set teachers up to succeed.

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