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Pleasant Ridge High School Technology Integration
This is Easton’s first year of the Technology Integration program. Every high school student checked-out a laptop computer to use at school and home. Middle school and elementary school students have iPads to use at school. The Easton Board of Education approved the project and provided the necessary funds to pay for the laptops and iPads after schools completed a two year pilot project with a small group of students and teachers.
BreighAnn Schillig and Bryce Helm were two students that participated in the high school’s pilot. Like the rest of the high school students they have a laptop of their own to use at school and take home to continue working on school assignments and projects. We sat down with them to ask them about the project and how it was progressing.
Bryce thought the project was “going generally good, but it still taking time getting used to and it’s still early”. He sees students using their laptop all of the time, during classes, before and after school and even at lunch by a number of students. BreighAnn commented “teachers are trying to find ways to use the laptops in their classroom, but it’s been an adjustment for them, especially those from a different generation that did not grow-up with computer and information technology.” Bryce said, “it’s the same for students, not all of the students are at the same place either, some students know the basics how computer and software applications work and others do not.” Bryce is confident both teachers and student’s skills and knowledge will improve this year and in the future.” The school district is actively training teachers how to integrate technology and improve technology skills.
Having use of a laptop has been a great benefit to BreighAnn, “my favorite thing about having a laptop is I can work on assignments and particularly projects any place I can or want to when I have time.” Students are taking advantage of their laptops at school and at home to complete homework, conduct research, and complete projects.
Bryce Helm has a unique perspective since he is assisting Technology Directors Mr. Kistner, and Mrs. Crittendon two-hours per day. Bryce is training students and teachers, repairing computers, and solving software glitches all over the district. Bryce’s support has provided the district and the technology department a great service and helped make Easton’s Technology Integration project a success.
Bryce became interested in computer technology while working as an intern at J & J Tech in Leavenworth during the summer. During his internship, Bryce helped Immaculata High School get their laptop project off the ground by training faculty members how to use Windows 8 and setting-up their laptop computers. Along with J & J Tech’s owners, Bryce helped the Catholic Schools Board of Directors select a laptop and prepare for the launch of their project. Bryce stated, after being asked to help with Pleasant Ridge High School’s pilot and interning for J & J Tech this summer, “I am now seriously considering earning a degree in the field of technology and making it my career.”
2014-2015 Student Enrollment
September 22nd was the official enrollment count day for Kansas school districts. Enrollment count day is vitally important to school district because enrollment decides the school district’s General and Supplemental General (also known as the Local Option Budget or LOB) Funds budget authority for the year.
Easton’s enrollment declined a fourth consecutive year and fixed at 642 students. Last year’s enrollment was 674 students. During the past four years the number of students graduating from Pleasant Ridge High School is twice the number of students enrolled in Kindergarten. Easton’s enrollment declined between twenty to thirty students every year since the 2011 -2012 school year when 692 students were enrolled in the district.
The downward trend in school district’s enrollment may be attributable to a fewer number of people choosing to add children to their families due to the great recession. Considering that the percentage of children eligible for meal assistance doubled in our district the past seven years may give creditable weight why people are choosing not to have more children. Rural school districts are also experiencing a trend where parents are moving to other places to find work in urban areas and even out of the state.
At the same time the overall enrollment is declining the number of non-resident students enrolled in Easton has increased to 159 students. The non-resident student enrollment this year is the highest since records for non-resident students were recorded.
As the economy recovers from the recession, enrollment is expected to increase as the reasons for the decline in enrollment fade away. At some time in the future, the population in the area will increase and school enrollment will increase along with the increase in population.
Easton Board Approves 2014-2015 Budget
The Easton Board of Education approved the 2014-2015 budget on August 11, 2014. With approval of the budget, the board sanctioned a mill levy of 54.324 mills. This year’s mill levy reduces the mill levy nearly 2 mills compared to last year’s mill levy of 56.262 mills. The reduction in the mill levy will result in a tax savings of $22.26 for a person owning a $100,000 home.
The mill rate is comprised of levies for the general, supplemental general, capital outlay and bond and interest funds. The general fund mill levy is set by the State of Kansas at 20 mills for all school districts. Taxes collected for the general fund are collected by the County Treasurer and deposited with the Treasurer for the State of Kansas. The other funds mill levies are determined by the amount of money necessary to fund the budgets based on the assessed valuation of the school district.
The mill levies for the 2014-2015 school year are,
|Supplemental General Fund||18.806|
|Capital Outlay Fund||5.000|
|Bond and Interest Fund||10.518|
Property values are established annually and school districts receive from the County Clerk assessed valuations in June. There is one assessed valuation for the general fund and a different valuation for the other funds. The general fund assessed valuation for the Easton School District declined slightly this year from the previous year and the assessed valuation for the other funds increased a small amount. Generally speaking, as the district’s assessed valuation increases the mill levy decreases.
Based on the State of Kansas School Finance Law some school districts receive state aid based on the wealth of the school district. Since Easton is below the state average for wealth the State of Kansas provides the district 39 percent of our budget requirement for the capital outlay and bond and interest funds and local taxpayers finance the remainder through property taxes. The State of Kansas pays 55 percent of the district’s revenue needs for the supplemental general fund and local taxpayers the remaining 45 percent.
The bond and interest fund finances the principal and interest payments on the bonds for the construction of the Pleasant Ridge Elementary School and the recent addition of thirteen classrooms to the school. Capital outlay money can be used for the purpose of acquiring property, construction, repair, remodeling, maintaining and equipping school district property and equipment, computer software, school buses and other school district vehicles.
If you have questions about the budget, please contact Mr. Charles Coblentz, Superintendent ofSchools at 913-651-9740.
Other related articles as follows:
Availability of Services for Students with Special Needs
Your local school district and all public schools in Kansas provide free special education services for eligible exceptional children ages 3 through 21 or high school graduation. Parents are encouraged to seek assistance from teachers, principals or other professionals if they have questions regarding their child’s progress in school. Children with autism, emotional disturbance, giftedness, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, mental retardation, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injuries, or visual impairments may be found to be eligible and in need of special education or related services. In addition, children ages 3 through 9 who are experiencing developmental delays may also need these services.... read more