Board Names Future High School as Olathe West

Aug. 8, 2014 ~ The much-anticipated name of the district's fifth high school was revealed Aug. 7 when the Olathe Board of Education members voted unanimously to name it Olathe West High School. The school, to be built at Santa Fe and Hedge Lane, will open in fall 2017. (visit the Olathe West website)

Another major action taken during the meeting was the approval of the 2014-15 budget following a public hearing at 7 p.m. The board members' vote to approve a $236 million legal maximum budget includes a Local Option Budget equal to 33 percent of the general fund.

Preparing for a New School Year

Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski presented an overview of some of the preparations that have taken place this summer as staff get ready for a new school year. The presentation included a look back at summer learning for students and staff, program preparations, facility prep (new construction, safety), technology actions and initiatives, budget preparation, Food Service, transportation, communicating with parents and patrons, and welcoming new staff.

  • 1,045 at-risk students in grades K-8 participated in summer classes
  • 533 special education students from early childhood through age 21 extended their school year
  • Driver's education, credit recovery and accelerated programs for high school students were also offered
  • A two-week science, technology, engineering and mathematics camp for girls was sponsored by the Olathe Public Schools Foundation
  • More than 1,735 educators attended the Summer Conference
  • This was the ninth year for the Advanced Placement Institute partnership with Washburn University in which 50 Olathe staff could choose from 18 Advanced Placement sessions
  • The Technology Division rolled out a new grade book system and TeacherVUE and ParentVUE, put new computer labs in several elementary schools, reinstalled hardware after construction projects, and prepared for the distribution of 9,300 iPads for elementary classrooms
  • New construction includes Millbrooke Elementary School, the Technology Support Center, and breaking ground for Olathe West High School
  • 19 buildings received a secured entrance and three had open classrooms converted to classrooms with doors
  • Nearly half of the Bond 2013 projects have been completed, including synthetic turf on athletic fields at the sports complexes
  • An enhanced lockdown protocol (ALICE), positive classroom initiatives, and bullying prevention programs are in place
  • 8,082 students will ride the bus this fall on 221 routes and 3,772 bus stops
  • Food Services updated its software, served 36,000 breakfasts and lunches this summer, and processed 3,800-plus free and reduced-price meal applications. Supervisors hired and trained 35 new staff to fill vacancies and conducted training with 240 veteran staff
  • Budget preparation took into consideration a growing student population, growing tax base (assessed valuation) and growing base state aid per pupil (up $14)
  • The Communications Division updated many materials for the new year including the website and brochures, and installed new video production equipment in the board room and Technology Support Center
  • More than 190 new licensed or certified employees will start the year to cover vacancies caused by retirements, resignations, leaves and the opening of Millbrooke Elementary


  • Six district educators spent part of their summer as externs with area businesses. The externs and their businesses are Ken Gandy of the Olathe Advanced Technical Center with McCarthy Nissan, Cynthia Lofquist of Olathe Northwest High School with VML, Sarah Talcot of Olathe East High School with SafeHome, Anna-Lynn Morris of Olathe Northwest with Entertainment Techs, Kris Kennedy of Olathe North High School with Harvest for Hunger and SafeHome, and Susan Barr of Olathe North with The Children's Place and SafeHome.
  • Michael Ralph, a teacher at Olathe East, received the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers.
  • California Trail Middle School was named the Kindest Middle School in the Nation by
  • Pioneer Trail Middle School was named the 2014 Middle School of the Year by the National Association of Middle School Principals.
  • Alaina Walberg of Olathe Northwest is the 2014 Policy Debate Top Speaker from the National Speech and Debate Tournament.
  • Saurabh Harohalli of Olathe East earned a perfect 36 on the ACT exam.
  • Vanya Shivashankar of California Trail Middle School was the district's spelling bee winner and advanced to semifinalist status in the national bee.
  • Andrew Booze and Sam Mugo of Santa Fe Trail Middle School participated in the National History Bee.
  • Cristian Ibarra of the Olathe Advanced Technical Center earned two silver medals in the national SkillsUSA tournament.
  • The Olathe East boys track team won the 6A state championship title.
  • Several other Olathe athletes won 6A state championship titles.
  • View photos from the meeting

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda of routine items including meeting minutes and reports.
  • Approved the purchase of text and instructional materials for the Advanced Placement Statistics class, coursework for Advanced Placement Calculus BC and Advanced Placement Statistics classes, the 2014-15 athletic trainer services agreement with Olathe Medical Center, a bid for the playground surface at Millbrooke Elementary School, a bid for mass excavation at High School 5, the purchase of stream and wetlands credits for High School 5, trade bids for the Meadow Lane Elementary School renovation, and a bid for new commercial-grade carpet cleaning machines for 21 schools receiving renovations or aging facility improvements this summer.
  • Approved a number of committee and school site council assignments for board members.
  • Approved a change in the Acceptable Use Policy (GAJ) to include current language.
  • Received information about future action items including a bid for white copy paper, trade bids for Olathe West High School, and a bid for systems furniture to be installed in the new Employee Services area in the Education Center.
  • Received a report of recent construction change orders less than $20,000.
  • Received a written report from Disbursement Review LLC regarding a transaction-level review of disbursement transactions process over a two-year period ending June 30, 2013. The review confirmed that overall disbursement controls are very strong and that accounts payable is well managed.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are available at