Education, health and National Night Out focus of forum

May 24, 2017 by

USD 333 Concordia Superintendent Quentin Breese was the featured speaker May 23 at the 35th Community Needs Forum, hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Breese began his two-year contract as Concordia’s superintendent on July 1, 2016.

In addition to Breese’s review of his first year as superintendent, other topics included fundraising for a new urgent care facility in Concordia and brainstorming for the upcoming National Night Out set for Aug 1.

Education

Breese originally joined the District in 2011 as the Concordia Junior/Senior High School principal, and later became USD 333 Concordia’s assistant superintendent. He discussed the challenges of his first year as superintendent including the challenge of school funding.

“Last year we were told we’d have a 50/50 chance of a shutdown. This year we were told a 90/10 chance,” he said. “There are so many great legislators who are in there fighting for us. But some just don’t get it.”

Realignment of resources also has been a challenge. Under Breese, a capital improvement plan has been put into place.

“It’s not the sexy stuff,” he said. “It’s things like HVAC, plumbing and buses… some things no one sees but if we don’t start with that then nothing matters since we can’t operate.” Breese said even he has filled in on driving bus routes when needed.

Other challenges involve filling vacancies in the district. Breese said new teachers coming out of school are looking at a base salary of $33,000 per year, but many are coming out with a student loan debt of $85,000 to $90,000.

But overall it has been a rewarding experience. “The greatest thing about being a Superintendent is that … it matters,” as a quote from his PowerPoint stated. “The toughest thing about being a Superintendent is that … it matters every day!”

National Night Out

The Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas (DVACK) will chair the Concordia Year of Peace committee. Tanya Paul and Julie Willoughby with DVACK are preparing for this summer’s National Night Out Day, which is observed annually on the first Tuesday in August. This year the event will be Aug. 1 in Concordia.

National Night Out is a community police awareness-raising event in the United States created to increase awareness about police programs in communities, such as drug prevention, town watch, neighborhood watch and other initiatives.

“The main goal is just neighbors getting together and getting to know each other,” Willoughby said. “It doesn’t take a bunch of money.”

Residents are encouraged to organize block parties that night and register them with the National Night Out committee. Block party leaders should contact Paul and Willoughby at juliew@dvack.org and tanyaj@dvack.org by July 1 to register their parties. A list and map of block parties in Concordia will be made available to the public in mid-August.

Tag football? Hula-hoop contests? Lawn chairs and potlucks? Anything works to bring the neighborhood together.

“National Night Out parties have always been a positive situation,” said Bruce Nutter of Concordia. “We meet someone new in the neighborhood each year and the police come by and socialize.”

Urgent Care

A fundraising campaign is in progress to establish an urgent care/stat care clinic on U.S. Highway 81 in Concordia. The planned urgent care clinic would be a dedicated medical facility away from the Family Care Center and the Cloud County Health Center in Concordia that would primarily treat injuries or illnesses requiring immediate care, but don’t require a visit to the emergency room.

Pam Campbell, executive assistant at CCHC, reported that they are applying for tax credits and are seeking the public’s help with letters of support and pledge letters. She is hoping to receive letters of support by next week.

“We aren’t looking for an increase in sales tax,” Campbell said. “This will be through privately funded donations, grants and tax credits.”

Residents interested in supporting the new facility are encouraged to visit the CCHC website at www.cchc.com to find a link to the community service tax credit pledge form.

The Community Needs Forum grew out of informal meetings between the Sisters of St. Joseph and community leaders in the fall of 2008. The first working lunch was held in January 2009, and the continuing gatherings have identified what participants see as the greatest needs in the community and have established smaller groups to seek solutions. The working lunches — now held about once a quarter — continue to provide an opportunity for updates on projects and a clearinghouse for new ideas.

 

 

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