Superintendent’s News Enrollment growth is positive sign for district

A new school year is well under way. The students and staff have gotten settled in and we are trying our best to keep everyone cool in this heat. We have welcomed several new students this year. Overall, preliminary enrollment shows we are up by about 10 students. This will be finalized on the September 20th count day, but enrollment growth is a positive sign for our district.

The Board appointed a facility assessment committee last year. This committee met a few times to discuss the future of our school district and how to ensure we have adequate facilities for future generations of St. John-Hudson students. During our committee discussions, the question of school consolidation came up.

Recently, the board presidents, vice presidents, and superintendents of the Macksville and St. John-Hudson school districts met to discuss how we might work together in the best interest of students. The primary discussions were related to sharing of staff, resources, and programs. School consolidation was also discussed. Neither district is currently in a position where consolidation is necessary. However, it may become necessary at some point down the road and being proactive in any discussions will be beneficial to both districts. There will be new members on both boards being sworn in after the first of the year. It will be up to these new boards to determine if and when to move forward with further conversations about this.

The Quivira water rights issue has once again surfaced and could wreak havoc on the economy in our county and surrounding areas. The previously approved agreement that established a sustainable path forward without drastic cuts seems to be in jeopardy. Analysis of the cuts that were being considered in 2019 showed an economic impact of over $100 million per year. There is talk that the cuts being proposed for 2024 are double what they were previously.

The area for the proposed cuts would have an impact on every square mile of our school district boundaries. The direct impact to our district would be in a lower tax base. The effects on farmers and nearly every business in our community would be devastating. Our Board of Education spent a considerable amount of time discussing the issue at the last meeting. They have agreed to sign onto a letter being sent to the director of the US Fish & Wildlife Service asking that the established agreement be allowed to continue. The letter will include signatures from city, county, and school district leaders in the affected counties. This is something that everyone in our community should be aware of.

The budget for the current school year has been published in the St. John News and the Board will review and approve at the September regular meeting. The mill levy is very dependent on the total property valuation in the district. This year’s valuation is as high as it has been in recent memory. Typically, when the valuation is high, the mill levy is low. That is the case with this year’s budget as the mill levy is estimated to be 46.3 mills which is 1.5 mills lower than last year. This is also as low as it has been in at least the last 15 years.

I want to remind parents that they have access to the PowerSchool portal to keep track of student grades, attendance, and meal account balances. This portal also allows parents to configure their preferences for the automated messaging system. This includes phone, email, and text messages. Parents should contact the office for assistance with these systems.

As always, if you’d like to visit about any of these topics or have other questions or concerns, I can be reached at 620-549-3564 or I am proud to be a Tiger and proud to serve USD 350 with Purpose, Passion, and Pride.