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Tea Area School board election set for June 16

The Tea Area school board met Jan. 13 and approved retainage payments for contractors for Frontier and Venture elementary schools.

Of 34 line items at Venture, nine were approved to pay half of the retainage, one was zero payment and the remainder were paid in full. At Frontier, of the 29 line items, five were approved to pay half of the retainage, five were zero payment and the remainder were paid in full.

Student council members Jeslyn Huinker, Lydia Decker and Jordan Taylor presented on the students’ Capstone experiences in the high school.

Operations manager Wayne Larsen reported that construction at Frontier Elementary was completed except for some punch list items like the sound system for the gym and some paint.

Larsen also reported on progress at the high school on the CTE building and bus barn. Students have begun using the classroom and wood shop Jan. 2. The welders are all hooked up. DeGeest is working on completing the divider walls and adjustable height tables that will go in the welding portion of the shop. Ventilation hoods will go in after that. In the bus portion, they are waiting on ventilation and electrical.

The board approved the resignation of Lisa DeVaney for foodservice effective immediately, resignations from Monae Williams as middle school teacher and Elizabeth Johnston as special education teacher effective at the end of the school year, and retirements for Tom Nelson as industrial arts teacher and Maureen Hybertson as special education teacher effective at the end of the school year.

They also approved the new hires of Carson Quigley for TASK and Rachel Willadsen for half-time high school administrative assistant.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery noted that they denied the open enrollment application for a 10th-grader because of program capacity.

The board set June 16 as the school board election date. Board members Kristen Daggett and Tara Johanneson’s seats will be open.

Special education director Jody Taylor gave her annual update on the special education program in the district. They are servicing 255 students on the funding for 236 students because state funding is based off of the Dec. 1 count of students from the year before.

In her administrative report, Lowery noted they had one application for public school exemption for a senior and an additional senior who applied for early graduation. She acknowledged Isabella Hageman as one of the 23 South Dakota seniors nominated as a candidate for U.S. Presidential Scholar.

She acknowledged J&R Mechanical for their $230 donation to used for the foodservice Angel Fund in Josh Champman’s name.

Tea Sprouts was recognized as an exemplary preschool by the School Administrators of South Dakota. Exemplary is the highest level of distinction.

She also noted that they will be advertising for a one-year high school math and science position in the high school for a yearlong military leave. With the retirement of Nelson, they will also be advertising for both architecture/construction and welding.

In board reports, Brett Waltner reported that registration is open for Tea Sprouts and they had already received a lot of registrations.

Daggett noted they have a TASK meeting Jan. 27. For library, Johanneson said they are working on summer programming. For finance, Todd Irvine said things are going well. For legislative, Conrad Pick worked on a letter with Daggett and Lowery to the three legislative representatives regarding teacher pay. Johanneson and Daggett reported they have started to work on the continuous school improvement committee.

Business manager Chris Esping noted they made their final payment in December to the Lennox School District on the debt.

The board went into executive session at 7:35 p.m.

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