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New Pana school building on track

(PANA) — Construction of the new K-5th grade elementary school is on schedule, the Pana school board was told Monday night at their regular meeting.

There is a decision to be made about whether to use the letters P-A-N-A as supports for the front area of the building or go with regular columns. However, the fee for the architect to draw up a new plan with plain columns would be about $6,000. The board is looking at which option is more cost effective.

The merits of vape sensors was also discussed, with Board Member Kyle Anderson saying he was not in favor of spending $30,000 for them and would rather see that money put to use keeping the students safe with metal detectors.

However, later in the meeting High School Principal Kevin McDonald explained the issues they have at the high school with vaping: kids vaping with THC oil and then having to be sent home because they can’t function was one example.

The cost for 41 sensors in the junior high and high school would be $36,000- $50,000 and some money has been donated toward that cause. Further discussion and study will decide the issue at a later time.

The Board was also apprised of the options for the current grade school buildings and taking them into consideration. They have talked with the city about the possibility of demolishing the buildings and selling the land to the city for park space; discussed options for use with Pana Pride; and had two parties express interest in buying the buildings.

Superintendent Jason Bauer reported that the district received $841,987.71 from sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2022. He said the numbers look even better for this year.

Test scores were up for many students since fall testing, several principals reported. Washington School students saw double digit increases for 114 students in reading and 227 in math. Principal Cheri Wysong said she does not remember ever seeing an improvement on that scale. Scores were also up for older students in the district.

McDonald gave a shout out to Voice of Democracy contest winners Chloe Ashcraft, who placed first in the district, and Brant Bowker, who was second. The contest, sponsored by the VFW, gives students a patriotic theme to write about each year and offers scholarship money from the local to national level.

Digital hall passes are helping with restroom issues in the high school, McDonald reported. He said they have cut back on vandalism and also can set the system to only allow one student at a time in each restroom during classes to avoid any issues.

After a closed session, the board approved the following personnel:

• Kimberly Sipes as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional;

• Christopher Duplayee as student teacher at the high school;

• Ryan Lipe as bass fishing coach;

• Matt Miller, Eliza Coleman-Claxon, Miranda Bratcher, Stacey Spears, Teri Cutler, Mary Jones, and Emily Icenogle as after school tutors at their respective schools;

• Accepted the resignation of Rich Gibson as volunteer football coach and Jason Bauer as 8th Grade Girl’s Basketball coach.

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