329 board discusses league change, building closure

Heather Baker | staff writer

The future of the school in terms of league and consolidation was discussed at the most recent board meeting. 

The USD 329 Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on February 13 in the WHS commons to discuss these issues.

Athletic director Jeron Weisshaar submitted his report about what different leagues USD 329 is considering. With Rock Creek leaving the Mid-East League, the remaining schools have been exploring options for the future. The two main leagues discussed were the Big 7 and the Flint Hills League

If USD 329 moved to the Big 7, we’d be one of the smaller schools in the league, Weisshaar said. We’d be at a disadvantage in size compared to the other schools. The Big 7 schools are also farther away from Alma than most of the Flint Hills League. The board moved to request entry to the Flint Hills League, and administrators from that league will discuss in the next month.

Consolidation of the district was once again addressed. There were two main options the board considered: the district could close both Maple Hill Elementary and Paxico Junior High and move all of the kids to Alma, although it would face a challenge of having enough space.

Alternatively, the district could stair-step consolidation by closing one school this year, seeing what happens, and taking the next step from there. When it came to a vote, the stair-step consolidation passed unanimously. 

Two resignations were accepted by the board. FCS teacher Diane Breiner and counselor Wendy Leenerts will both no longer be working at USD 329 next year. Leenerts said, “I absolutely adore the kids in this district, and will miss them dearly.” She chose to make this decision because of scheduling difficulties and the distance from her home in Topeka. 

Breiner has retired four times from USD 329, and now she is going for a fifth. Breiner said, “My main goal is to find an amazing, young FCS educator/FCCLA Advisor who will keep the FCS/FCCLA program successful for years to come.” She has taught at WHS for a grand total of 35 years. 

The next board meeting will be a special meeting to discuss finances on March 1st at 5 p.m. in the WHS commons. The next monthly meeting will be March 20, at 6 p.m. in the Wabaunsee Junior High commons.

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