Excessive hazardous chemicals under the possession of McPherson USD 418 need to be properly disposed.

Excessive hazardous chemicals under the possession of McPherson USD 418 need to be properly disposed.

Sheldon Anderson, director of operations for McPherson USD 418, discussed how the district plans to dispose of these chemicals during the Board of Education meeting Monday.

The majority of the materials have been accumulated to teach the science curriculum to middle and high school students. Anderson said schools all over the nation are going through a similar process.

“I guess it was the space race that caused most of this,” he said. “They were trying to get kids interested in science. There were government grants out there to order lots of things. Everybody went crazy and ordered and ordered, and now we have the result of this over-ordering and not disposing of it in a timely manner.”

These items, coupled with other chemicals and paints stored in maintenance shops and warehouse areas, total about 2,100 pounds of material in need of disposal. An insurance company has conduced a survey and sent out proposals to begin this process.

The district plans to channel some of this waste through the McPherson Area Solid Waste Utility to reduce costs. There are also grants and waivers available through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This could reduce the amount by 2,000 pounds, Anderson said.

“It's kind of scary in a way and produces a concern regarding the budget, and we want to make sure we're getting rid of the chemicals in a safe way,” he said.

The district estimates this project will be completed before May.

Anderson said district staff have already took some classes to prevent excessive ordering and the need for mass disposal in the future.

“We hope to educate as well as dispose,” he said.

In other news:

The board approved a request from Sheldon Anderson, director of operations, to spend $19.003.60 for summer maintenance. This total is higher than district maintenance for the past four summers.

Anderson proposed the district hire seven workers to service air conditioners, address lawn care, and paint playground equipment and other similar routine projects and repairs.

The board approved the grant application for the McPherson and Marion County Head Start program. The grant would total $1,353,471. There were no major changes from last year.

Contact Jenae Pauls at jenae.pauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel