Board Received Updates on Variety of Topics

Feb. 5, 2016 ~ The Olathe Board of Education received an update on the progress of the development of boundaries for Olathe West High School, the work of a Bond Task Force and a potential district notification solution during its regular meeting Feb. 4.

Notification Solution

Director of Communications Maggie Kolb presented information on a new district notification system that would streamline communication between the district, schools and parents. It would also provide a district mobile application. An integrated communication system from Blackboard would allow the district to easily send email, voice messages, text messages, and post to social media and the district website.

The efficient process would send messages within minutes versus hours, and is easy to navigate for both administrators and the end user. Messages can be customized for individual schools, but there would be branded templates for school and district messages. Blackboard's product could engage families in the way they want, and wherever they are because of its mobile features. Kolb said 64 percent of Americans have a smartphone and use is expected to rise by 70 percent by the year 2020.

Olathe West Boundaries

Assistant Superintendent for General Administration Erin Dugan updated board members on the boundary determination process for Olathe West High School, set to open in fall 2017. The 130-person Boundary Review Committee met three times and public open forums are scheduled throughout February at the four high schools.

Committee members represent all areas of the district and include both district employees and parents. They reviewed six boundary options presented by district staff and provided feedback on those options based on their own feelings and those of their neighborhood and school.

District staff studied the variables for more than two years before presenting these six options to the Boundary Review Committee. They will now take the committee's input and form a recommendation to present to the Board of Education at its March 3 meeting. It is anticipated the board would make its final boundary decision during its May 5 meeting.

Capital Needs

Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison shared more details of work being done to prepare a recommendation of the district's capital needs and a possible bond issue.

More than 50 staff, parents and members of the community have come together in a Bond Task Force. The Bond Task Force is looking at the district's growth, safety and security, technology and aging facility needs. The Bond Task Force has met twice in February and will meet again before it submits a recommendation of what projects might need to be included in a potential bond issue.

Hutchison highlighted the projects that the 2013 Bond helped accomplish, as well as the continued capital needs of the district. Some of the continued needs of the district include a 10th middle school, an addition to Oregon Trail Middle School and 37th elementary school, additional safety and security projects including additional cameras and locks, technology upgrades and additions, and aging facility projects including flooring, lighting and more.

Information about the Bond Task Force can be found by going to


  • Olathe Health Systems has been a longtime supporter of the district in many partnerships.
  • Kali Ray of Olathe South High School won the Best of Show award in the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrate Diversity Contest presented by the district and Olathe Human Relations Commission.
  • Becky Giannola, a buyer with the district's Business and Finance Division, achieved her Senior Professional in Supply Management Certification.
  • Lauren Brown, a first-grade teacher at Heatherstone Elementary School, and Jocelyn Cummings, a sixth-grade math teacher at Mission Trail Middle School, received the Kansas Horizon Award for their work as new educators.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved meeting minutes and various division reports.
  • Approved a Human Resources report that included the hiring of Jay Novacek as principal of Olathe West.
  • Approved a handful of student trips.
  • Set the end-of-year special meeting to occur at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 29.
  • Set a special meeting with City of Olathe representatives to occur at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the Olathe Community Center, 1205 E. Kansas City Road.
  • Approved the purchase of digital student licenses for the Kansas Journey text currently adopted for seventh-grade social studies.
  • Approved the purchase of texts and instructional materials for the AP European History class.
  • Approved construction change orders in excess of $20,000 for Olathe West.
  • Approved trade bids for theatrical lighting at Olathe West.
  • Granted permanent and temporary sanitary sewer easements for a future elementary school in the Canyon Creek Highlands subdivision.
  • Accepted bids for the replacement of exterior doors and windows at Black Bob, Scarborough and Walnut Grove elementary schools; Heartland Early Childhood Center; California Trail Middle School; and Olathe North and South high schools.
  • Accepted bids for replacement lighting at Olathe North and South high schools.
  • Approved the purchase of special education software.
  • Approved the purchase of Blackboard communications system.
  • Set a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25 to discuss a possible bond issue.
  • Approved three student trips.
  • Received information about future action items including budget development goals and calendar, Lone Elm Support Center building repair, Olathe District Activity Center bleacher repair, Head Start plans, alignment machine for Olathe Advanced Technical Center, curriculum, audio visual upgrade at the Instructional Resource Center, facility usage rental fees, Olathe West mechanical integration/ commissioning agent, board policy revisions, student trips, travel expenses policy, and student fees and miscellaneous charges for 2016-17.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report.
  • Received construction change orders for Olathe West and the middle school additions.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda and supporting documents can be found online at