Category Archives: Schools

DCF Terminates Grant Funding for Kansas Reading Roadmap Administrator


Audit Discovered Non-Compliance with Grant Terms and Conditions


Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard today terminated the agreement with Hysell & Wagner, LLC, which administers the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) program. In addition, Howard also announced the agency will directly fund schools that made plans to offer the KRR program during the 2019-20 school year at the same level Hysell & Wagner was contractually obligated under the terminated grant.


“The Department for Children and Families is committed to ensuring that recipients of federal and state funds are spending those funds efficiently,” Howard said. “After reviewing the results of a DCF audit and despite heightened oversight during the first six months of 2019, it’s clear that Hysell & Wagner is falling short of this basic standard.”


The audit, initiated during the Brownback administration but never finalized or released, uncovered problems with internal controls required to achieve compliance with grant terms and conditions and applicable state regulations. All totaled, DCF auditors determined nearly $2.3 million were incorrectly claimed and paid to Hysell & Wagner during the time period from February 2014 to December 2015.


Since January, DCF Economic and Employment Services leadership uncovered additional concerns with Hysell & Wagner’s FY 2019 Kansas Reading Roadmap grant, including:

–          TANF funds, categorized as indirect costs, used for excessive payments to company executives surpassing federal salary limits

–          $216,000 was paid to owners as direct expenses and more than $607,000 has been charged to the grant in “guaranteed payments” as indirect expenses which would also go to the owners

–          TANF funds, categorized as indirect costs, were used for 38 trips between Kansas and the CEO’s and CFO’s residences in Washington, DC, and San Diego, CA

–          Administrative expenses charged to the Kansas Reading Roadmap grant exceeded federal and grant-specific limits of 15% of grant costs.

DCF has, in good faith, worked with Hysell & Wagner to educate and correct the identified issues. Despite these efforts, Hysell & Wagner continues to struggle with the heightened monitoring requirements and has rejected revisions in their FY 2020 contract addressing indirect costs.



“I’ve always been concerned about the use of no-bid contracts and lack of accountability under the previous administration,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It’s clear that the State of Kansas cannot continue to support Hysell & Wagner’s administration of the Kansas Reading Roadmap program.


I am pleased that the Department for Children and Families is providing direct funding to schools for the coming year to ensure they receive the funds they’re counting on.”


Hysell & Wagner has until September 15 to complete their work with the program including providing notice of termination to sub-recipients of the award. DCF issued the draft audit to Hysell & Wagner August 15. The company has up to 30 days to respond. Once the agency receives their response the audit report will be finalized and made public.


Following is a complete list of schools who will receive funding directly from DCF for the 2019-20 school year.


Kansas Reading Roadmap Schools
• USD 210 Hugoton
• USD 216 Deerfield
USD 235 Uniontown-Bourbon
• USD 247 Southeast Cherokee
• USD 252 Southern Lyon County
• USD 283 Elk Valley
• USD 288 Central Heights
• USD 297 St. Francis
• USD 298 Valley Heights
• USD 310 Fairfield
• USD 322 Onaga
• USD 333 Concordia
• USD 341 Oskaloosa
• USD 353 Wellington
• USD 383 Manhattan
• USD 386 Madison-Virgil
• USD 404 Riverton
• USD 417 Council Grove
• USD 428 Great Bend
• USD 440 Halstead Bentley
• USD 447 Cherryvale
• USD 457 Winfield
• USD 487 Herington
• USD 493 Columbus/Highland Park
• USD 497 Lawrence
• USD 503 Parsons
• USD 504 Oswego
• USD 505 Chetopa
• USD 506 Labette County
• USD 508 Baxter Springs
• Manhattan Boys and Girls Club
• Olathe Boys and Girls Club

Visit With Sheriff’s Office Personnel: Get a Free Snow Cone

The sheriff’s office will be handing out to the first 100 kids coupons to get a small snow cone from Tropical Snow.

Tropical Snow is in the south parking of the Movie Gallery Store located at 1714 South National in Fort Scott.

This will be a chance to meet/talk with deputies, as a community involvement with the sheriff’s office.

The event will be  Tuesday, August 13, starting at 6 PM and will last until the last coupon is handed out.


Taiwan Ag Youth Exchange Program Accepting Applications

Taiwan Agricultural Youth Exchange Accepting Applications


MANHATTAN, Kan. —   The 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Youth Exchange Program is currently accepting applications from high school seniors or college freshmen who are passionate about agriculture and are interested in representing Kansas in a week-long exchange program October 26 through November 3, 2019.


Each year the National Taichung Agricultural Senior High School in central Taiwan hosts students from the U.S. Midwest for this program. Selected students will tour agricultural facilities and businesses in Taiwan and learn about Taiwanese agriculture.


“The entire experience was amazing,” said Sage Collins, 2018 program participant. “Immersing myself in a new culture, experiencing all the aspects of Taiwan and learning about their agricultural practices was an eye-opening experience for me.”


Exports play an important role in Kansas agriculture. According to Euromonitor, Kansas exported over $129 million in agriculture products to Taiwan in 2018, including beef, oil seeds, cereal grains and wheat flour. Globally, exports of agriculture products contributed over $3.6 billion to the Kansas economy in 2018.


“The Taiwan Agricultural Youth Exchange Program is a tremendous opportunity for students who have an interest in agriculture,” said Suzanne Ryan-Numrich, international trade director for the Kansas Department of Agriculture. “Students are able to return from Taiwan with a broader understanding of international agriculture and the role that exports play in their local communities.”


Two students will be selected to represent Kansas. To be eligible to apply, students must meet the following requirements:

  • High school senior or college freshman.
  • At least 18 years of age by the beginning of the trip.
  • Strong Kansas agricultural background.
  • Valid U.S. passport by time of exchange program selection.
  • Able and willing to pay for airfare costs (approximately $1,000).


Applications must be submitted by August 30 for the student to be considered. Students interested in applying can find more information at  The Taiwan Agricultural Youth Exchange Program is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Kansas FFA Association and Kansas 4-H.

For more information, contact Robin Blume, KDA education and events coordinator, at or 785-564-6756.


Local Singers Invited to Join Pittsburg Chorale, Directed By FS Music Teacher

Pittsburg Youth Chorale Fall Enrollment Open

Area singers in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade are invited to join Pittsburg Youth Chorale, directed by MJ Harper.

The purpose of this vocal ensemble is to further grow vocal abilities, musical knowledge, and choral repertoire.

Performers will prepare music for community events and music festivals.

Rehearsals are Tuesdays from 5PM-6PM at First United Methodist Church, 415 N. Pine, Pittsburg, KS and begin September 3rd.

There is a fee of $50 per session (Sept-Dec/Jan-May) to cover the cost of music.

Scholarships are available.

To enroll, contact MJ Harper at 620-719-6633 or email, deadline September 3rd.

New UJHS Social Science Teacher: Gabrielle Studer

Gabrielle Studer. Submitted photo.
The following is part of a series of new teachers in Bourbon County schools.
Uniontown teachers have In-Service on Monday, August 26. The first day with students is Thursday, August 29.
Name: Gabrielle Studer
Age: 41
Title and where you will teach: Junior high social sciences teacher, Uniontown
Experience: Five years of teaching English at Fort Scott High School, two years as an instructional coach at Fort Scott Middle School.
Education: BS in sociology from MSSU, and earned a teaching license through PSU. “I worked as a social worker for several years before moving to Fort Scott in 2004.”
Family: Husband Brian and two kids, Sadie (age 7) and Callum (age 5).
Hobbies/interests:  “I enjoy traveling, reading, snow skiing and of course being with family and friends.”
How did you become an educator?
“I didn’t initially study to be an educator. For several years, I had been enjoying my work in the field of social work. But after moving to Kansas, I found that the private sector required me to have different qualifications than I had. Rather than attending school to gain a similar degree to what I already had, I decided to switch to education. Since high school, I’d always worked in some capacity with youth. It was my niche. So I thought teaching would be fun. And I was right — I love teaching secondary students.”
What is the best part of teaching for you?
“I enjoy teaching because I love hanging out with teenagers. It’s just a serious bonus that I also get to teach material that I love. I could learn all day about history, archaeology, geography, literature — even grammar. As a teacher, I get to keep learning about the topics that thrill me, and I also get to hang out with teenagers, who are so much fun and always full of surprises. I can’t think of a better job. Besides getting paid to travel the world. I admit that would be better.”
What is the greatest challenge in teaching?
“For me, the greatest challenge to teaching is finding a way to interest every student. But if people are having fun together, they often find interest in whatever they’re doing together — even if it’s learning the Pythagorean theorem or diagramming sentences.”


U234 BOE Special Meeting Minutes of July 30

Members of the USD 234 Board of education met on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, for a special noon meeting at the Fort Scott Middle School Community Room.

President David Stewart opened the meeting.

Gina Shelton, Board Clerk, presented 2019-20 budget information.

Board members approved an Early Retirement and 4030) Employer Match Plan

Provisions and Groups for licensed employees and Match Plan

Provisions and Groups for classified employees for the 2019-20 school year.

In addition, the board approved a revised
2019-20 school calendar and ratified the 2019-20 negotiated agreement.

There were no sealed bids received for the sale of the property at 21 3 Scott Avenue.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters for nonelected personnel, returned to open meeting, and approved the following employment matters:

A. Resignation of Curt Toll, high school teacher aide, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year

B. Resignation of Debra Baimi, middle school paraprofessional, effective August 16,

C. Resignation of Gary Floyd, high school paraprofessional, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year

D. Resignation of Alyssa Park, high school cook, effective July 24, 2019

E. Transfer of Brenda Hill, Eugene Ware instructional coach, to elementary instructional coach for the 20 1 9-20 school year

F. Contract extension for Josh Messer, high school counselor, for the 20 I 9-20 school year

G. Appointment of Robyn Kelso as the high school attendance officer for the 2019-20 school year

H. Employment of Emily Elliott for high school vocal presentations and musical music director/middle school vocal presentations for the 2019-20 school year

I. Employment ofDelynn Abati as high school play assistant for the 2019-20 school year

J. Employment of Taylor Qualls as high school play assistant for the 2019-20 school year

K. Resignation of Stewart Guss, Eugene Ware custodian/bus driver, from his bus driver duties only, for the 2019-20 school year

L. Employment of Amy Harper as high school sophomore sponsor for the 201 9-20 school year

M. Resignation of Stacey Dawson, high school custodian, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year

The board approved a 5% raise for administrative and classified employees for the 2019-20 school year.

The board adjourned.

Bingo To Benefit School Shoe Program for Local Youth

Come for a night of fun for a great cause!

The public is invited to Shoe Voucher Bingo from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 31 at Community Christian Church, 1919 S. Horton.

With  a $10 donation participants will received a 10 game packet with three cards on each game. That’s 30 chances, yes 30, to win some great prizes from local businesses.

Prizes will be listed as they are donated on the event’s Facebook Page. Click here to view:

All proceeds from this event go directly to the Shoe Voucher Program.

The Shoe Voucher Program is a local program assisting area students/families with shoe purchases for the upcoming school year.

Light Concessions will be available.

This is for anyone in the community.

Please share and invite friends. Kids can play as long as they are old enough to manage their cards.

FSHS New Assistant Principal: Dr. Robyn Kelso

Dr. Robyn Kelso, assistant principal at Fort Scott High School. Submitted photo.
Dr. Robyn Kelso is the new assistant principal of Fort Scott High School as of today, July 22.
She hales from Eudora, KS and has 20 years experience following her education at Kansas State  University where she earned a degree in agriculture, then teacher certification from Ottawa University and both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Baker University.

“My contract starts today,” Kelso said. Her duties  are still  being sorted out, “but I will be the career and tech education coordinator and oversee truancy concerns, along with teacher evaluations and discipline issues.”

Following are responses to questions to Kelso:
How did you become an educator?
Education was a second career for me after spending some time in the journalism field.
Did someone inspire you?
I had some awesome teachers in high school, but what inspires me is the students and teachers who come each day willing to contribute and make their school the best it possibly can be.
What is the best part of education for you?
The best part is knowing each day I get a chance to make a difference, whether that is small or large.    Whether for students or adults, having that chance each day is the best part of education for me.
What are the greatest challenges?
A challenge I personally face is learning what it means to be a Fort Scott Tiger – I am anxious to dig in and discover the great things both the schools and the community have!
She is married to Mike Kelso and has two sons – Matthew and Mason.
Fort Scott High School.

Preschool/Day Care Opportunity Through USD234/New Generation

4-Year Old Preschool

USD 234 in partnership with New Generation is offering a preschool/daycare opportunity for qualifying 4-year old students.

Students will attend preschool geared toward kindergarten readiness for half-day sessions and have the opportunity to also get half-day daycare provided.

For qualifying students, meals and transportation to and from New Generation will be available upon request.

This program is being offered through a grant and will come at no cost to the families who participate.

All students must be 4 years old on or before August 31.

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then your child may be eligible:

1. Does your child qualify for our free and reduced lunch program?
2. Are you a single parent?
3. Have you been referred through DCF?
4. When your child was born, was either parent a teen?
5. Is either parent lacking a high school diploma or GED?
6. In the home, is the main language used not English?
7. Does the family qualify as migrant status?
8. Does the child have lower than expected developmental progress, but is not currently receiving special education services?

Applications are available for pickup at New Generation or the USD 234 Board of Education office. If you have further questions, please contact Andrea Scott at or call 620-223-8965 and leave a message.

USD234 Minutes of July 8, 2019

Members of the USD 234 Board of Education met on Monday, July 8, 2019, at the Fort Scott Middle School Community Room for their regular monthly meeting.

            President Jamie Armstrong opened the meeting.  The board approved the official agenda.

The old board adjourned Sine Die with reorganization of the new board.  David Stewart was elected president, and James Wood was elected vice president.  The board also approved the consent agenda as follows:

A.    Minutes

B.    Bills and Claims

C.    Payroll – June 20, 2019 – $1,653,129.83

D.    Financial Report

E.     Bond Proceeds Reconciliation

F.     Activity fund accounts

G.    Designation of banks for deposit of school funds

H.    Designation of newspaper for official school publications – The Fort Scott Tribune

I.      Officers for the 2019-20 school year

J.      Recreation Commission board member terms

K.    Resolution for waiver of generally accepted accounting principles

L.     Resolution for rescinding policy statements found in board minutes

M.   Resolution to set dates and times for board meetings

N.    Resolution to establish home rule by Board of Education

O.    Resolution for destruction of records

P.     Resolution for participation in the Neighborhood Revitalization Program Interlocal Agreement

Q.    State mileage reimbursement rate – 58 cents per mile

R.    Set fees for copying of records

S.     Extended trip request for the International Thespian Festival on June 24-30 in Lincoln, NE

One patron spoke in the public forum section.

Stephanie George, KNEA President, presented a report.

Superintendent Ted Hessong provided information on the following items:

·       Climate Survey

·       ELA Curriculum

·       SPED handbook

·       New teacher orientation

·       Nurse contracted position

·       CrisisGo App testing

·       Legislative update

·       ACT testing for 9th graders

Gina Shelton, Business Manager, reported on a grant that will be used to replace milk coolers, gave a bond update, discussed budget work, and extended thanks to Reta Baker with Mercy Hospital for their large donation of office furniture to the district.

Board members selected James Wood as a hearing officer for suspensions and expulsions.  The board approved board policy changes and 2019-20 handbooks.

The board set a budget workshop for July 30, 2019, at 12:00 p.m.  Board members shared comments and then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters for nonelected personnel and to discuss matters relating to employer-employee negotiations.

            Board members returned to open meeting and approved the following employment matters:

A.    Resignation of Melina Lawson, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year

B.    Resignation of Christy Thomas, central office payroll clerk, effective July 26, 2019

C.    Resignation of Jodi Underwood, preschool center paraprofessional, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year

D.    Resignation of Melinda Collins, Eugene Ware cook, effective June 25, 2019

E.     Employment of Robyn Kelso as high school assistant principal for the 2019-20 school year

F.     Employment of Emily Elliott as a Fort Scott High School/Middle School vocal teacher for the 2019-20 school year

G.    Employment of Rachelle Thomas as a Eugene Ware fourth grade teacher for the 2019-20 school year

H.    Employment of Krista Gorman as a secondary instructional coach at Fort Scott High School and Fort Scott Middle School for the 2019-20 school year

I.      Employment of Kelcy Schnaufer as a preschool teacher for the 2019-20 school year

J.      Employment of Andrea Heckman as a preschool teacher for the 2019-20 school year

K.    Employment of Dane Cummings as a high school assistant football coach for the 2019-20 school year

L.     Employment of Allison Gorman as a high school assistant softball coach for the 2019-20 school year

M.   Employment of Kathi Hall as a middle school assistant wrestling coach for the 2019-20 school year

N.    Transfer of John Metcalf, middle school paraprofessional, to middle school Student Support Center/PE teacher and middle school assistant wrestling coach for the 2019-20 school year

O.    Employment of Bronson Moylan as a middle school assistant football coach for the 2019-20 school year

The board adjourned.

Drug Testing Policy Set at USD 234

Fort Scott High School.

A drug testing policy was approved at the recent USD 234 Board of Education meeting  which is to start the 2019-2020 school year. August 22 is the first full day of classes.

August 1 is enrollment for the district, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The drug testing policy is needed, authorities said.

“It is needed because our survey results and in-house discipline demonstrate that we have a higher rate of drug use than the state average in many areas,” Amber Toth, principal at Fort Scott High School said. “We are creating an environment of non-usage and an out for students who are pressured into using. We are also attempting to get help for students who have a problem. The drug use rate has a direct correlation to student depression, anxiety and suicide. It is a small part of creating a culture of safety.”

Superintendent Ted Hessong sent the following update to the policy, which was put in the story and the other unapproved policy deleted.

There were a few changes made to the policy before final approval by the BOE, he said.


“The main change was increasing the number of high school students being tested monthly from 10 to twenty,” Hessong noted. “Also, we have not designated a testing agency. We did not want to have one in place until the policy was approved.”


The updated, approved drug testing policy of USD234 is from Hessong:

USD 234 Student Random Drug Testing Policy

Testing Eligibility

Random Drug Testing will be an opt-out process. All students will be eligible for testing unless they opt-out within 10 days of the start of the school year. Transfer students will have 10 days to opt-out after enrollment.

Any student who opts out will not be able to attend any function on school property outside of the regular school hours or belong to any club, sport, activity, or organization. This includes games, dances, plays, or assemblies. They will be allowed on school property during regular school hours only. Students who opt-out will not be able to park a vehicle on school property.


The school shall provide a drug policy education session for students within one week of the policy implementation. The session will include a detailed explanation of the “USD 234 Student Drug Testing Policy.” In addition, it is recommended that each coach/sponsor conduct a player and parent meeting that will include information about the impact of the drug testing policy on participants. Parental attendance is strongly encouraged at each session.

Self Reporting

A student or parent/guardian may self-report drug usage when chosen for the random pool. The student may avoid eligibility consequences of the first violation by self reporting as specified below. ​Self-reporting may only be used prior to a first violation.​ Once a student has self-reported, he/she will still be tested. A subsequent positive test result will count as a second positive test.

In order to avoid the eligibility consequences when reporting prior to a first violation, students must complete an assessment from a certified addiction counselor at the family’s expense, which may be of their choice, or they may utilize the counseling addiction program assessment provider recommended by USD 234. Students should also enroll in counseling about their drug use, at the parent’s expense. This counseling can be with a provider of the parent’s choosing.

Testing Procedures USD 234 will test 20 random students per month for HS students and 10 random students per month for MS students using a 10 panel urine test.

If a student is selected and refuses to test, it is treated as a positive test, and the policy goes into effect.
If a student tests positive, he/she may be subjected to future tests, at the discretion of the building principal for a period of up to 12 months. They are required to participate in three follow-up drug tests that will be scheduled in 90-100 day increments or upon return to school in the fall if the 90-100 day window expires during the summer break.

If the test is positive, the parent/guardian may request a second test, at their own expense, with an approved drug testing facility. The test must be completed within 24 hours of the original and the original test will stand if the testing window is closed for the particular substance.


1st Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities including all performances and competitions for a period of three weeks (20 school days and must include 3 competition dates). Students in co-curricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment. Students must still attend practice. During this time it is recommended that the parent/guardian obtains a substance abuse evaluation and education/counseling for the student. If the student and/or parent/guardian can provide proof of a drug and alcohol assessment from a school-approved substance abuse counselor and attends consistent appointments with a mental health professional, the suspension will be reduced to ten (10) school days.

2nd Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities, including all performances and competitions, for a period of eighteen school weeks (90 school days). Students in co-curricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment. During this time it is recommended that the parent/guardian obtains a substance abuse evaluation and education/counseling for the student. If the student and/or parent/guardian can provide proof of a drug and alcohol assessment from a school-approved substance abuse counselor and attends consistent appointments with a mental health professional, the suspension will be reduced to ten school weeks (50 school days).

3rd Offense: The student shall be suspended from participation in all extracurricular and/or co-curricular activities, including all performances and competitions, for thirty-six school weeks (180 school days).  Students in cocurricular activities will be provided an alternative assignment.

Improvements at the USD 235 Fitness Center Are Coming

USD 235 students use the facility in the daytime during the school year. Pictured are some students chosen to demonstrate the equipment when the fitness center opened in October 2018.

The Uniontown U235 Fitness Center that opened last year, is getting improvements through a grant.


A bathroom and shower room will be added to the fitness center from an unused storage area nearby.

“The grant was a Healthy Bourbon County Grant,” Bret Howard, superintendent at USD 235, said.  “It will cover nearly 2/3 of the total cost. The grant was for $12,500 and the total cost once completed will be $17,000. “
“We will be adding this directly to the fitness center so that we can lock the doors that enter the (Uniontown High/Jr. High) Commons Area and not allow access to the building. The shower room will allow those who work out in the morning before work to shower and leave immediately for work.”
The bathroom and shower room will be located in the northeast corner of the fitness center which is on the south side of the Uniontown Junior High School.
 “There is currently a storage room there now behind a locked door,” Howard said. “We will be creating two separate rooms and will be adding another entrance door so there are two entrances, one for the bathroom and one for the shower.”
The fitness center will be closed during  construction of the rooms.
“We do not have an exact date yet as construction projects do not always proceed as expected,” Howard said.  “We will communicate via our district social media accounts and website as soon as we
know more.”
The fitnes center is for patrons on USD 235 only.

Key cards to the fitness center are applied for through West Bourbon Elementary School Principal Vance Eden, the participants can enter the center when school is not in session.


 Eden can be reached at 
or 620-756-4335. There is a fee for the card of $10.
“We currently have 149 active accounts for the fitness center,” Eden said. “This doesn’t give an exact number of participants, but should be a fair estimate.”