In Your School Board Review: Summertime and the schools are busy

For schools, there is no summer vacation.

Shortly after students flee their classrooms for summer fun, an army of painters, carpenters and other workers swoop in to school buildings across the state to make repairs, renovations and build new facilities.

Meanwhile, school districts also are conducting summer school, athletic and band camps and serving meals programs to thousands of students.

And administrative work doesn’t end with the final bell.

Payroll must be processed, supplies, school materials and food must be ordered, the district budget is prepared and training opportunities and work on curriculum continues.

While many students are relaxing during the summer, schools are busy preparing for the next school year.

“We do a great deal of repair work that simply can’t be done while school is in session,” said Yvonda Offerle, public information officer for Dodge City USD 443.

In addition, Dodge City is in the middle of an $86 million bond issue, so the dirt will by flying with major construction projects. “We’ll be tearing down gymnasiums, kitchens, and offices this summer,” Offerle said.

At Gardner Edgerton USD 231, workers are preparing a culinary program at the high school by remodeling in the former automotive instruction area, which has been moved to a new Advanced Technical Center.

The district also has food service, summer enrichment programs, camps, and new youth and community programs to engage youngsters in fun activities.

Leann Northway, director of communications for USD 231, described summers as a “busy time for all custodial and maintenance department as repairs and upgrades are typically made during the no-school season.”

Julie Boyle, director of communications of Lawrence USD 497, said at-risk and special education students can take advantage of summer extended school year.

Lots of goal setting and planning is done during the summer for the next school year, she said. And all the while, the district is serving 1,200 meals a day to students.

Statewide, the Summer Food Service Program, provides free meals to thousands of Kansas children. In most areas, schools are the sites for the children to get a meal, although there also are sites sponsored by community organizations, libraries, churches, non-governmental entities and private non-profits. In 2015, there were more than 1.3 million meals served in Kansas.

So, while most people think school takes a break during summer, it really is a time of work and preparation for many in Kansas schools.

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