District officials created at least two new positions for about $154,000 in salary to staff their new Gardner Edgerton Youth & Community Programs, which they launched in May, 2017.
An e mail from Mark Meyers, GEHS principal, indicates the GEYCP coordinator/director was hired March 29, 2017. The hires were approved by the board of education in April.
According to Meyer’s March 29 e mail regarding his new position, “Obviously this requires John (Duncanson) to resign his position as Associate Principal here at GEHS. . . . . . “
And Meyer continues, “John will conclude his current contract prior to beginning work in his new job at the BOE office.”
In response to Meyer’s e-mail, Pam Stranthan, superintendent, indicates the hire still needed BOE approval.
According to information supplied to The Gardner News under a Kansas Open Records request, Duncanson is the new GEYCP coordinator, and Ryan Colston, is GEYCP supervisor. The positions were listed and hired internally, but do not appear on posted documents until April.
There are also two supplemental contracts listed for about $6,500, but they are not associated with the GEYCP, according to information provided.
GEYCP staff will report directly to Pam Stranathan, USD 231 superintendent.
“The creation of the GEYCP program has been a process over the past nine months and implemented in late May, 2017,” according to information supplied by Deb Starling, USD 231 Freedom of Information Officer. There is limited mention of the GEYCP reflected on agendas or minutes on the district’s website.
A review of e mail supplied to the newspaper between Gardner Parks and Recreation Department and USD 231 officials does not mention formation of the GEYCP or the fact that field usage may not be available for city events. Since 2012, the city and district and city had worked cooperatively on field usage, and the city had been charged usage fees.
Beginning in December 2016, in April, 2017, and as recently as May 17, 2017, Garrie e-mails Stranathan, “We reached out to Bruce (school staff) about sitting down and working out an agreement on the use of the facilities so we can get a clear understanding of the expectations and obligations. . . . “
Further he writes, “You should also know that just two days ago, Pioneer Ridge staff came over and asked us to drag the field at the school. So we’re not sure if USD 231 staff has even been made aware of the school’s decision to take on the field maintenance and the change in process either. . . . . . “
“As for the outdoor fields, this process has been a different practice for years where we have been handling that on the school district’s behalf, who also referred reservation to us as well,” Garrie writes.
Rob Shippy, USD 231 BOE president, also does not mention the GEYCP when he emails Stranathan and copies Garrie on Dec. 2, 2016, “This discussion is simple, the city uses the facilities for the cost of custodial services at this time. I understand there is a scheduling conflict. . . . .. “ Shippy indicates his children participate in the parks and recreation program and that he understands the value; that the city is one of many groups that use the facilities, but the only entity not following procedure.
“We will be having more conversations as to how to proceed in the near future at the board,” Shippy writes. “My understanding is that staff was working with you on those conflicts through Merle (staff member) and you choose to contact building staff directly, which is not the procedure. I am sure if you are dissatisfied with the service you can find competitive rates nearby.”
Discussion regarding field usage, scheduling conflicts or formation of the GEYCP does not appear on agenda’s posted to USD 231’s website, at press time.
As yet, an organizational chart has not been presented or approved by the board of education, but it will be at their July 24 meeting, officials indicate.
According to information supplied by the district, GEYCP was created to support and develop quality, enrichment activities for youth in and around the community.
The mission statement is “Gardner Edgerton Youth & Community Programs is committed to providing enrichment and recreation opportunities for students and community members.”
GEYCP will provide additional recreational opportunities and educational programming for current and future students that align with and complement USD 231’s mission, according to USD 231.
At the June 19 Gardner city council meeting, Chris Morrow, mayor, reported that a meeting with city and school officials June 13 appeared to find common ground for the entities to work out communications problems regarding the city’s usage of school facilities.