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School board continues with COVID-19 plan; District to contract with Heartland Natural Gas

The Tea Area School Board met Sept. 13 and had an update from the COVID-19 operations update.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery said the committee met and recommended the board stick with the plan they set forth before school started. She noted the district received free at-home testing supplies. They will send out more information on those tests soon. Current numbers in the district have a positive rate of 0.005 percent, with Frontier having the highest rate of 1.7 percent. Lowery noted that building has the smallest population. They are also working on talking about community health measures like washing your hands and social distancing.

The board approved filing a waiver request to an administrative rule about substitute teachers. The current administrative rule from the state says that a substitute cannot teach longer than six weeks in one classroom. The waiver asks for substitutes to be able to sub in the same classroom for up to 12 weeks to match FMLA leave.

They approved the resignations of Sierra Scott as paraprofessional and Lizzette Cajina as custodial.

They also approved the new hires of Alyson Collins as Frontier paraprofessional, Ashley Schwartz as Legacy third grade teacher, Alyssa Lothrop as Frontier/Venture counselor, Jeff Nelson as transportation bus driver, Logan Shockman as middle school track, Alan West as assistant girls golf and Joan Jewel as foodservice.

In the business manager report, Chris Esping presented the fiscal year 2022 budget. The budget is based on a student count of 2,175. The count could be more by the time they get to Sept. 30 for the final student count. She also noted they will go forward with soliciting two separate bid packages for work on Legacy.

In the bills, the board approved a wire transfer of $340,173.12 from capital outlay to pay for the land closing this week for a future elementary.

The district was approached by Heartland Natural Gas about purchasing their natural gas through them instead of MidAmerican. The board approved the purchase agreement that would possibly save $10,000 to $12,000 annually. It is a one-year contract that would need to be reviewed at the end of one year.

The board also had the first reading for a policy on therapy dogs. One of the counselors in the district is working through the process of getting a therapy dog that would be used in the behavior programs and special education programs. They will hold a second reading on the policy in October.

In the administrative report, Lowery thanked the Tea Lions Club for their donation of $1,000 to the Tea Backpack program and the Homebuilders Care Foundation for their donation of $3,460 to purchase tools and for providing student OSHA training at no charge.

The board adjourned at 7:17 p.m.


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