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School board breaks ground on new elementary

The Tea Area school board broke ground on the Venture Elementary site at the start of their April 9 meeting.

School board members and staff met at the new elementary site for a ceremonial dirt shoveling in freezing temperatures on snowy and muddy ground.

The board approved the minutes from the March 12 meeting, financial report and bills. Board member Kristen Daggett abstained from the vote on the approval of $1,057.01 from Daggett Trucking LLC and $6,181.20 from Diamond D Construction. Todd Irvine abstained from the vote on the approval of $10,000 from Jans Corporation.

Business manager Chris Esping noted that nominating petitions for the two open board seats could begin circulating this week and are due by 5 p.m. May 11 in the business office.

Esping also laid out the five-year capital outlay plan. They are projecting 5.32 percent increase in valuation for new growth. She broke out the debt into certificates to the Lennox district, Sanford land, bus leases and technology leases.

In the plan, they lay out plans to add 10 classrooms and a gym at Frontier Elementary in 2019. They also have plans for what years they will purchase new uniforms for different sports and activities and what years curriculum gets replaced. The board approved the five-year plan.

Esping also presented information about the possibility of switching their foodservice management system from Heartland to Infinite Campus. Infinite Campus would streamline things and allow parents to pay lunch fees and other school fees all in one place. The first year set up costs would be $12,778.60. Other fees would be charged during the use of the system. She asked the board to review the information and she will have more at the next meeting.

In old business, the board approved the addition of two classrooms and 10 feet to the gym for a cost of $290,000 at Venture Elementary. With that addition, they are still under the $15.4 million they could use in the bond even with contingencies added in. Operations manager Wayne Larsen said it would be easier and cheaper to add those classrooms on now rather than waiting until they had to.

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