Board Hears Proposal for Millcreek Learning Center

March 6, 2015 ~ The historic John P. St. John Memorial High School and the newer, adjoining Millcreek Learning Center were the focus of a presentation made to the Olathe Board of Education during its March 5 meeting.

Portions of the five-acre site at the southeast corner of Park and Water streets have been home to Olathe schools since 1867 and John P. St. John opened in the late 1920s. In recent years the district's vocational programs were housed in the building. Four major programs currently are located on the property.

Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison updated board members on a preliminary concept for using the complex, and offered initial details of the phased renovation. The preliminary concept included plans to include space for health and wellness programs for staff, space for Parents as Teachers, district alternative education programs, the Olathe Public Schools Foundation, and room for future build out as the district grows.

Hutchison said the proposal is designed in phases, so the district could commence on portions of the building as money is available.

Various Fees

Hutchison also presented information about instructional, student and facility usage fees for 2015-16.

In accordance with Kansas State Statute, the Board of Education establishes a textbook/instructional material fee on an annual basis. Staff recommended a 6.25 percent increase in this fee for the 2015-16 school year, which the board approved later in the meeting. He shared that textbooks in the district are on a seven-year replacement cycle.

The Board of Education also establishes other optional fees such as parking, athletic passes, etc. These fees are charged to students who choose, at their option, to participate in a particular activity or wish to obtain a particular service. Staff recommended increasing student school lunch fees by 10 cents for the 2015-16 school year. The board approved the fees later in the meeting.

Also on an annual basis the Board of Education establishes facility rental fees for the use of our buildings, athletic fields and other amenities. Staff recommended a slight increase in these fees as well. The board will take action on this item next month.


  • Burns & McDonnell was thanked for its support of Olathe Public Schools as a business partner.
  • Santa Fe Trail Middle School Principal Kerry Lane was recognized for receiving the 2015 Honor Administrator Award from the Kansas Music Educators Association.
  • Robyn Stuewe, manager of employee wellness, was among the top 10 in the Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals named by the Wellness Council of America.
  • Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland also spoke and recognized the district for its commitment to the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund. He highlighted that district students and staff raised $22,000 toward the fund in 2014-15.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, reports, Head Start performance standards plans, and student trips.
  • Accepted bids, contracts or agreements for asphalt and concrete replacement; heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment for Olathe West High School; trade bids for Olathe West; concrete bids for four middle school additions; resinous flooring bids; and carpet replacement bids.
  • Approved an agreement with Johnson County Wastewater to abandon a sanitary sewer main that will be under the new gymnasium at California Trail Middle School. A new sewer main will be constructed around the perimeter of the new gym.
  • Accepted a bid (with funding through a grant from the Olathe Public Schools Foundation) to purchase special fish tanks for research in the 21st Century High School Geoscience program.
  • Entered a new four-year contract with Ricoh USA for the district's 150 multi-function copier devices, which includes a dedicated on-site fleet manager to help manage the effectiveness of the machines.
  • Set 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 as the date and time of the board's end-of-year special meeting.
  • Approved increasing the instructional materials and meal prices for 2015-16. The instructional material fee will rise $5 due to the increasing cost of textbook adoptions, textbook replacements and technological resources. The meal price increases are required to preserve federal funding. Student lunches will rise 10 cents, adult lunches 5 cents, adult breakfast 5 cents, and milk/juice 5 cents.
  • Received information about future action items including an interlocal agreement with the City of Olathe to build sidewalks in the areas around four elementary schools, with funding from a Mid-America Regional Council grant; Head Start Performance Standards plans; phase two of the security camera systems; audit services for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015; phase two of renovations at Northview Elementary School; bid to replace aging equipment and renew the district's Internet filter application; transportation services agreement; textbooks; student trip; and facility usage rental fees.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters, employer-employee negotiations, consult with an attorney and review confidential data. Returned from executive session to approve the extension of the superintendent's contract through June 30, 2018, with salary and benefits to be determined at a later date.
  • The complete agenda and supporting documents can be found online at