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School board moves to exit health insurance pool

The Tea Area board of education decided to exit the current insurance pool at the end of June.

Effective July 1, the district will move out of the Northern Plains Insurance Pool and has voted to go with Dakotacare. Board president John Herr noted that the district was the only dissenting vote at the pool meeting. Business manager Chris Esping and office coordinator Wendie Morehead spent a lot of time gathering health insurance quotes and presented them at the meeting.

Esping addressed concerns about Avera buying Dakotacare but told the board that the state approved a three-year license for Dakotacare and Avera does not plan to merge them at this time.

The board approved the purchase of a Suburban from Dells Auto in the amount of $19,149. The board had originally budgeted to purchase the vehicle in the next fiscal year but changed it to this year because of the hard time finding a Suburban that fit their parameters.

Esping talked about the changes made to TASK building improvement updates from the last meeting when the board approved rate changes. With those rate changes, they should pay for the proposed improvements. The board approved the bid from Sorlien Electric in the amount of $5,970 to install the fire alarm system in all three buildings. That bid came in well under the other bid for more than $22,000 and they received a grant that will pay for 75 percent of the installation.

Clair Willemssen, construction manager for the Tea Area School District building projects, updated the board on progress made at Legacy Elementary. Most of the site work is complete, with concrete needed around the flagpole and a portion of sidewalk along Cole and out the southwest side of the building.

The doors and hardware are in place, lockers have been assembled and set in the hallway and the toilet partitions and fire extinguishers are in. Most of the carpet is installed and should be finished by the end of the week. Ceiling tile will be going in this week and they started up the roof top unit April 13. Plumbing is waiting on a punch list. Most of the kitchen equipment is in place.

Willemssen said they are planning a punch list for April 18 and hopes to get occupancy by April 22. If all goes well, they can start moving into the new part the last week in April.

Wayne Larsen, operations manager, reported that the new high school security entrance is operational as of April 7. The good news is the project came within budget, but time-wise was another issue. They are waiting for some hardware, dirt work and to replace one of the panes of glass that was cracked.

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