Wichita school board expected to OK another $3 million for May storm damage

Wichita schools sustained about $5 million damage – more than twice the amount initially estimated – from wind and hail during a storm that swept through the city on May 19.

During their regular meeting Monday, Wichita school board members are expected to authorize an additional $3 million for repairs to school district property, after approving $2 million last month. All but $250,000 should be reimbursed by the district property insurance, officials said.

Julie Hedrick, director of facilities for the Wichita district, said her staff found storm damage at more than a dozen school sites, including major damage to the roof, windows and gymnasium floor at Brooks Middle School.

Another item on Monday’s agenda calls for $225,000 in repairs to Wilbur Middle School and other buildings that were damaged by heavy winds from a different storm recently.

The school board meets at 6 p.m. Monday in the North High School lecture hall, 1437 Rochester.

New board members

Monday will mark the first meeting for two board members elected in April.

Mike Rodee, who owns South Central Sealing and Paving, will replace Lanora Nolan, who decided not to seek re-election. Rodee captured the District 5 seat in the April election over opponents John Crane and Peter Grant.

Joy Eakins, a software design consultant and school volunteer, will replace longtime board member Connie Dietz, who also did not seek re-election. Eakins defeated Scott Poor in a race that was decided by only 46 votes.

Rodee said he is looking forward to finally taking his seat on the board – and having a vote – after attending meetings for the past several months and watching from the audience. He and Eakins also have toured school buildings and met district administrators in preparation for their board terms.

“I really want to get involved and get started because a lot of what you see is from the outside in,” Rodee said. “Once you get on the inside, you can realize where you can be helpful and give opinions and do those types of things.”

Superintendent’s contract

Board members will consider another extension of Superintendent John Allison’s contract Monday. Allison became superintendent of Wichita schools, the state’s largest district, in 2009. He makes a base salary of $224,910 a year.

Board members voted in February 2012 to extend Allison’s contract through June 2015. They also changed a clause that would have required him to earn a doctorate of education by August 2012.

The current contract says the superintendent is “encouraged to obtain” his doctorate but sets no deadline. It says the board “will consider increasing the superintendent’s base salary by an appropriate amount” if and when he completes the degree.

In addition to his salary, Allison receives a $750-a-month car and mileage allowance and $500 a month for “professional, civic and incidental expenses.”

According to the contract, if Allison remains superintendent through June 2014, he also will receive a $100,000 contribution to a tax-sheltered retirement account – $25,000 a year, retroactive to July 2010.

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