Dear USD 417 Friends and Families,
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my family and myself, as I will assume the role of Superintendent of Schools in July upon Mr. Conwell's retirement at the end of June. My name is Aron Dody and I grew up not far from Council Grove in Cottonwood Falls. I attended Emporia State University where I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I am currently pursuing my doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Arkansas. I spent 10 years teaching mathematics and coaching boys' basketball in USD 253 at Emporia High School, followed by 6 years serving as a building principal and 4 years as the Superintendent of Schools in North Lyon County, USD 251. The pride and joy of my life are my amazing wife, (Blythe), and our three children; Destiny (17), Cahaya (12), and Landon (11).
I am very excited about the opportunity to join the Morris County communities and the USD 417 family. I have been particularly impressed with the staff and patrons I have had the opportunity to meet. The outreach and hospitality I have already received from community members only exemplifies the family oriented values shared by those in Morris County Public Schools and the communities they serve! Once I arrive in July, I will be working on setting up opportunities to meet with students, families, staff, and community members to visit and better learn about the culture of USD 417. My door will always be open as I enjoy opportunities to visit, listen, and learn from others. Once July rolls around please feel free to stop in the district office, as I would love to meet you and say hi!
It is an exciting time in Kansas with the new vision the State Board of Education has established. We must continue to provide rigorous and engaging academic opportunities for our students, yet at the same time, we must not forget that the social and emotional component is equally important in preparing students to be successful when they graduate from USD 417.
While I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, I am excited for August to arrive and for the staff and students to return for an outstanding 2018-2019 school year. See you soon!
With school now started and most of the summer projects completed, I wanted to share with our district patrons what we did with our facilities and the costs of these projects. The two primary sources for paying for these capital projects are our capital outlay fund and, for a couple projects, the district’s redemption fund. The redemption fund consists of dollars remaining from the construction of the new addition to CGJSHS. The primary purpose for this fund is to help us hold down the Bond & Interest mill levy in coming years but we can use a portion of these funds to correct problems with the new addition.
In addition to tax dollars, our capital outlay fund (the primary source for facility improvements) also has revenue generated from “other local revenue sources”. For 2016-17 that revenue included:
As you can see, there is extra income that comes into the capital outlay fund in any given year. Several of these “other sources” reimbursements were or will be targeted for a specific project. In addition to these sources of additional revenue to the capital outlay fund, on July 7 we competed a 10-year lease purchase transaction for $500,000 for the purpose of building and renovating facilities at the stadium. Here is a list of the work we completed this summer.
CGJSHS Stadium – There were three projects that we completed this summer at the stadium. The total cost for these three projects came to approximately $556,394. $500,000 of this cost was paid for by the lease purchase dollars and the remaining came out of capital outlay funds.
Installation of Pier System and Other Moisture Related Issues – In the spring we discovered that we had quite a bit of settlement in the NE corner of the CGJSHS north gym foyer. To protect this from further issues, we installed 7 helical piers to support the foundation of this portion of the building. To do this we had to tear out then replace the ADA ramp and we addressed a couple other items in the new portion of the school. All told, the cost of all this work came to over $40,000 with more work perhaps to come. We are still working on this issue.
Stadium Locker Room & CGJSHS North Gym Foyer Roof Replacements – These were two of the oldest roofs on our district facilities, well beyond their respective replacement dates. We put on a new Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) membrane roof with new gutters and downspouts at each location. The cost for this work came to $68,950. It actually came in $10,000 under budget.
CGJSHS Cafeteria, Halls, & Offices Flooring (New Addition) – This work became a necessity due to a constant moisture issue with the concrete floor pad. Since the inception of this addition there has been a moisture issue that caused tiles to lose their mastic and pop off the concrete pad. The new floor has a guaranteed moisture sealant as part of the epoxy floor system. The cost for this work came to $112,785 and was paid for out of the redemption fund.
Classroom Door Handle w/ Locks Replacement – As of this time, 99% of our classrooms in the district have a new, ADA accessible door handle with a push button lock on their classroom doors. We did this for both safety and compliance reasons. The cost of this project was $48,993 and came from the funds the district received as a legal settlement on the sale of the Dwight facility. We are now studying phase 2 of this project which is to replace all remaining door handles in the district with ADA compliant hardware. The other major benefit in doing this is that we will have all doors within the district under one key system.
Concrete Pad at PHES Playground – We extended the sidewalk in the rear of the school to reach the playground area and poured a decent sized pad for students to have to play on a hard surface. We will enlarge this pad this fall as it was not quite as large as we first thought it would be (my error). The sidewalk extension and the pad poured this summer cost $6,336.
CGES Intercom System – The district replaced the old intercom system in the school and added a couple new speakers in areas where they were needed. This cost $7,541.
New (Renovated) CGJHS Science Lab – The classroom that has houses the junior high science lab is not really a science classroom. To this end we have replaced the carpeted floor with tile, painted the walls, added electrical outlets and purchased new science tables for the room. We have also contracted for new science cabinets/counter top space and two classroom sinks. This is an on-going project that we hope to complete in the coming two months. The cost for this work comes to approximately $63,000 when it is all added up.
Other Summer Work – Other summer work (costs not included here) included:
In addition to this we still have as unfinished projects to do a window system replacement for much of the district office. We took bids for this work but I have decided to explore other options while we wait to re-bid this winter. We hope to have more competition at that time for this work.
As you can see, this was a very busy summer. We have several projects planned for this school year as well. Having said all of this, I want to thank our custodial and maintenance staff for their willingness to work around many of these projects. They do a fantastic job getting our buildings and grounds ready for the school year. Also, I want to thank Mike Gentry for all of the work he has done for our facilities. Mike is leaving USD 417 to become head of maintenance at the Morris County Hospital. Mike is a major reason that our facilities are in such good shape.