LaHarpe building’s future uncertain

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

USD 257 board members briefly discussed interest from the City of LaHarpe for its elementary school there.
Monday night members reviewed a letter from LaHarpe Mayor Lloyd Turner.
The school was closed at the end of the 2008-09 school year as a cost-cutting measure and in the past month the structure has been emptied of equipment and school materials. Utilities, save electricity, have been disconnected.
Turner said in his letter that LaHarpe had “limited resources,” to buy the building. Board members mulled how to price the structure, but set no price and did not order an appraisal.
Allen County commissioners have toured the building in their consideration that the school be used as a 911 dispatch center and emergency services center.
Dr. Craig Neuenswander, superintendent of schools, said that as long as USD 257 owned the building, the district would have to maintain it, an expense that would build up over time.
“I’m concerned about leaving it vacant,” Mary Apt, board president, said.
After minimal discussion, board members let the issue drop for the time being.

DON BURNS, maintenance director, told board members that he was uncertain why it had been difficult this year to develop a lush stand of Bermuda grass on the football field in Riverside Park.
Burns said his crew sprayed several times for crabgrass before the Bermuda came on and then overseeded the field.
“All we got was crabgrass,” he said. “Maybe all the rain we had earlier was the problem. Maybe the seed washed off the field.”
Burns said crabgrass-killing spray was being applied to the field again, in two doses, but “I’m unsure what it is going to look like,” as football season approaches.
Burns said he didn’t know how costly ongoing efforts at the field had been, in response to a question posed by Apt.
Apt was re-elected president in the board’s annual reorganization. Buck Quincy was named vice president. Among other housekeeping chores, board members raised lunch costs by 15 cents and breakfast by 10 cents. Both increases were across the board.
They sold four buses for a total of $4,585 and put off buying a new mower. Burns was asked to find out what it would cost to put a new motor in the district’s John Deere mower, which he proposed replacing.
Following 35 minutes of executive sessions, Mike Shuman was hired to teach high school English and Charlie Kerr was rehired as ag instructor. Kerr resigned last month to take advantage of an opportunity to draw Kansas Public Employees Retirement funds on the understanding that he would return to the district.