Board Considers Letter of Intent for Sale of Millcreek Center

The Olathe School District Board of Education voted Thursday, Dec. 2, during its regular monthly meeting, to accept a letter of intent for the sale of the Millcreek Center, 311 E. Park, to Net Giver LLC. The property is owned by the district; it currently houses a combination of school district and City of Olathe programs. Net Giver's purpose would be to redevelop it into a senior housing community, according to the letter of intent. The district has provided for construction of a new facility for the career-technical programs currently offered at the Millcreek site in a bond proposal approved by voters in 2007.

The letter of intent indicates that Net Giver would work in two phases. The first phase, which lists an intended purchase price of $832,500 if 45 senior housing units are built, up to $906,500 if 49 units are built, would include the historic Millcreek building, which was originally known in Olathe as the John P. St. John Memorial High School. The second phase, for the remainder of the property, would have an estimated purchase price of $300,000, according to Net Giver, bringing the full purchase price to either $1,132,500 or $1,206,500 (49 units). The district's most recent appraisal of the property was $1,420,000 without demolition; $1,344,200 with demolition costs; $1,154,200 for new use; and $1,230,00 for comparable sale.

Net Giver's offer is contingent upon a number of considerations related to financing and tax considerations.

Board members expressed a desire to sell the property, but voiced some reservations about the specifics of the proposal, including their concern that the property not be sold as separate parcels. After considerable discussion, the board voted to accept the letter of intent. Acceptance of the letter of intent does not bind the district to a sale, but would allow the district to continue the process towards negotiation of a contract. A contract would require board approval before a sale could take place.

Strategic Plan Focus Group Results

More than 1,350 district parents, staff members, and patrons provided input for the district's 2011-16 strategic plan during recent focus groups and an online survey. This information was shared with Olathe Board of Education members during their regular meeting Dec. 2.

Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski and Assistant Superintendent Gary George told board members that the input had been reviewed and tallied, and contributed to this board report. Banikowski and George shared the compiled results to the five focus group questions, along with other information that would be considered in the strategic planning process.

The next step is for the analysis to continue into January or February and a list of proposed strategic directions given to the Board of Education. After final approval of the 2011-16 strategic directions, staff will begin working on an action plan and communicate the new directions to the community. The board expects to set strategic directions for the next three to five years by March 2011. (See related story)

At-Risk Weighting

In the second of a series of presentations to the board, Chief Financial Officer John Hutchison explained the at-risk weighting components of the state funding formula. At-risk weighting represents about 7 percent of the funds received from the state funding formula. At-risk weighting actually has five components: at-risk, high at-risk, non-proficient student, bilingual education, and 4-year-old at-risk. Although at-risk weighting is based on the free lunch count (not reduced lunch), there are eight criteria for students to have eligibility for at-risk weighting, other than bilingual. Those include poverty, Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) referral, single parent family, parent without a high school diploma or GED, etc.

Each of the components of at-risk weighting is calculated according to state formula. Districts receive an additional weighting factor ranging from 0.0456 to 0.456 times the base state aid per pupil ($4,012) for students included in the at-risk weighting. The logic for the state providing some additional funding for "at-risk" students is that at-risk students typically face additional challenges to learning that require additional resources from the district. The funding is used for reading intervention, extended learning programs, and other programs specifically designed to increase student achievement.

Athlete Concussions

During the presentation portion of the meeting, Director of Health Services Cynthia Galemore and Director of Athletics/Activities Lane Green explained the new National Federation of State High School Associations and Kansas State High School Activities Association procedures when a student athlete shows signs and symptoms of a concussion.

They also explained how the district educates coaches, athletes and their parents about the signs, symptoms and treatment of concussion; and shared research about concussions. Information included the risks associated with Second Impact Syndrome, the protocols involved in allowing a concussed athlete to play, and the role of physicians and athletic trainers in the return to play process.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Representatives from the Teaching and Learning Division reported that 86 percent of students were represented by a parent at conferences on Oct. 20-21. This is an increase from the fall 2009 figures. Other highlights of the fall conferences were:

  • Elementary schools had an average 98.4 percent attendance by at least one parent.
  • The middle schools averaged 79 percent attendance.
  • High schools averaged 69 percent.

Teachers and schools use a variety of methods to keep parents informed of their children's progress in school. These include e-mails, letters, phone calls, progress reports, monitor sheets, individual conferences outside of the districtwide conference dates, and special education meetings.

Recognitions and Awards:

  • Commerce Bank, DLR Group, Garmin International, Farmers Insurance, University of Kansas Edwards Campus, Olathe Health Systems and the City of Olathe were honored as partners for the business skills workshop for 21st Century High School Programs students.
  • Dr. Bob and Mary Fry, and the Fry Family Foundation, were recognized for underwriting the Harmony Challenge Scholarship.
  • Allison Meadsof Olathe East High School was recognized as the Kansas 6A state champion in the All-Around Competition in gymnastics.
  • The Olathe East girls' cross country team was honored as Kansas 6A state champions.
  • Wendy Scholten, physical education teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School, earned the Healthy School Hero Award from Action for Healthy Kids.
  • Krista Graham, counselor at Countryside Elementary School, is a nominee for 2010 Kansas School Counselor of the Year.
  • Melanie DeMoss, principal of Arbor Creek Elementary School, is the Kansas Region 1 National Distinguished Principal nominee.
  • Members of the district's United Way executive committee (Nancy Cheatham, Lane Green, Connie Heinen, Corbin Trimble, Connie Viebrock and Becky Vrbas) were recognized for their work on this year's campaign which resulted in more than $101,700 in contributions.
  • Central, Ridgeview, Washington and Westview elementary schools were honored as Challenge Award winners.
  • Washington Elementary School was recognized as a 2010 Distinguished Title 1 School.
  • The district's Wellness Program received the Silver Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, financial reports, accounts payable, Human Resources report, curriculum, construction change orders, and the addition of a seventh-grade cheerleading and dance team.
  • Set a special joint meeting with the Olathe City Council at 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 16. The meeting will be in the Education Center.
  • Received information about future agenda items including budget development update, Head Start policies and grant, and two student trips.
  • Received the quarterly Head Start director's report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are online at