Board Hears About District Capital Needs

Jan. 8, 2016 ~ The Olathe Board of Education met Jan. 7 and received two presentations, one of which focused on the district's capital needs in the areas of growth, safety and security, aging facilities, and technology.

Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison said the June 2013 bond issue addressed many of the district's needs, but was not meant to handle all of the needs in these four areas. Priorities were established through the Capital Improvement Plan process, which allows for the systematic evaluation of all potential capital needs at the same time.

Some of the district needs that remain include land for middle school #10, renovation of the Millcreek Center to provide relief for alternative education programs, more keyless access, additional and replacement security cameras, 1:1 high school mobile device initiative, additional technology, replacement of old technology, and 400 aging facility projects such as HVAC replacements and window/door replacements.

Hutchison shared several reasons the board might consider a future bond election to handle these major expenses: operating demands on the capital outlay fund, immediate need for middle school #10, and bond and interest state aid is unknown past summer of 2017. He proposed forming a bond task force this winter that could report its findings to the board in late February, with the end result being a special mail-in bond election in June.

Center-Based Career and Technical Programs

Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski and Olathe Advanced Technical Center Administrator Amy McLain gave an overview of the district's two-year, center-based career and technical programs located at four locations across the district. Auto Collision, Auto Technology and Welding Technology are offered at Olathe Advanced Technical Center. Construction Trades, Culinary Arts and Certified Nurse Assistant programs are offered at Olathe North High School. Harmony and Heartland early childhood centers offer the Early Childhood Career Opportunities (ECCO) program.

The programs are open to juniors and seniors from all Olathe high schools, Kansas School for the Deaf, all Blue Valley high schools, Spring Hill High School and Wellsville High School. There are nearly 300 students enrolled in these programs and 82 seniors graduated from them in 2015. Last year, students received more than $291,000 in scholarships.

More academic opportunities have been added with College Now/dual enrollment, more leadership opportunities are available, and the programs are generating student and family awareness. Administrators are looking to the future by considering the challenges and possibilities of adding more center-based programs.


  • The Olathe Historical Society and Kansas Deaf Cultural Center were thanked for their ongoing support of the district through business partnerships.
  • Olathe Northwest High School science teacher Bruce Wellman, early childhood disabilities teacher Kim Buenger and Prairie Trail Middle School English teacher Deb Jaeger successfully renewed their certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Early childhood special services administrator Carol Affholder, Woodland Elementary School Principal Stacy Shipley and Director of Special Services Lanie Fasulo received the Music Therapy Recognition Award from the American Music Therapy Association.
  • The Olathe Northwest counseling and crisis team received the Olathe Human Relations Commission Educators Award.
  • Olathe North High School athlete Isaiah Simmons was selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American football game on Jan. 3.
  • Alexander Kolar of Olathe North earned a perfect score on the ACT exam.
  • Selina Liu of Olathe East High School recently earned a perfect score on the SAT exam and two years ago earned a perfect score on the ACT exam.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, reports, Head Start plans, student trips, health education curriculum, and a Board of Education special meeting retreat on Jan. 14 in Topeka.
  • Approved a bid for $500,000 of bond funds for projectors and peripheral hardware to replace aging equipment in digital classrooms across the district.
  • Approved trade bids for Olathe West High School.
  • Approved a bid for the bulk purchase of replacement carpet for classrooms at two elementary, four middle and two high schools as part of the 2013 bond.
  • Approved a student trip for the Olathe South High School choir to travel to New York City after qualifying for a national honor choir.
  • Received information about future action items including student trips, setting a date and time for the end-of-year special meeting, holding a special meeting with the City of Olathe, high school social studies textbooks, and the 2017-18 district calendar.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly written report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations and to consult with an attorney.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are available online at