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School board holds two meetings in March

The Tea Area School Board met twice this month with meetings on March 12 and March 18.

At the March 12 meeting, business manager Chris Esping noted they have never used the line of credit with Reliabank, but now is the time of year to renew the line of credit of up to $1 million. The board approved the line of credit.

The district received five bids for the HVAC project at Venture Elementary. Krier & Blain had the low bid for the full project at $425,300 that the board approved. The district could received a government rebate for this project.

Esping said they received the lease for a 33-passenger Blue Bird bus. They lease for about six years before owning it. Operations manager Wayne Larsen said most of the current bus fleet is 12 years old. The board approved the lease. 

Since they cannot find replacement parts for the modules on the football field scoreboard, Daktronics will lease a new board at zero percent interest. The board approved the change.

Larsen updated the board on the high school expansion. Structural steel and bar joists have gone up on the office, as well as the two-story classroom wing. The roofers have finished the PAC and the music wing. Plumbing and electrical work is being roughed in in the wrestling room and the gym. Warm weather earlier this month and February have helped get the frost out of the ground. Getting the steel pieces on site continues to be a struggle.

The board approved the resignations of Grace Bauer as middle school ELA, Janet Herrboldt as special education paraprofessional, Meagan Fairbrother as Art Club adviser and Zach Gors as fourth-grade Legacy teacher and high school football coach at the end of the school year. They also approved the resignations of Jethel Curry as bus driver/custodian, Riley Peters as seventh-grade volleyball coach and Sara Bernard as special education paraprofessional effective immediately.

They approved the hiring of Dale Rippentrop as bus driver, Devon Foresman for strength and conditioning, Garrett Krupski as Venture Elementary custodian, Jay Huber as custodian, Joseph Jones as maintenance, Lainey DeJong as special education paraprofessional, Nicole Hauck as high school FCS teacher, Ryan Debelak as high school TLR counselor and Tayla Thorstenson as early childhood special education teacher.

Transfers included Logan Shockman from ninth-grade football to assistant football, Matt Brue from middle school head football coach to ninth-grade football and Wade Begeman from middle school assistant football to middle school head football coach.

Sanford has the sports medicine agreement and has had it for the past 10 years. Superintendent Jennifer Lowery asked for committee members to serve on that committee. Jason Bennett and Jay Ryan volunteered to serve.

Lowery and curriculum director Elizabeth Herrboldt reviewed what the district needs to do to keep their accreditation. The South Dakota Department of Education reviewers will be in the district April 9.

At the March 18 meeting, the board approved the resignations of Allison Longhenry as a kindergarten teacher effective at the end of the year, Cari Hansen as seventh-grade volleyball coach and Fidel Villerreal retiring custodian effective July 31.

They approved the new hires of Alexus Foster as high school life skills teacher, Hannah Hank as halftime marching band flags, Julie Engebretson for competitive dance, Jeffrey Hamblen as seventh-grade PLTW and Kaitlin Niles as halftime marching band flags.

The board review changes to the elementary, middle school, high school, activities and Chromebook handbooks. The student handbooks all updated the grievance policy by replacing the language of “unfair practices” to read “non-adherence to policy.”

An update in the high school handbook addresses absences with a warning letter being mailed home after five absences for any period and a loss credit letter will be mailed Afro any period with nine or more absences. In order to have credit reinstated, the student must appeal within that semester and has to adhere to an attendance plan. The high school policy also allows for four foreign exchange students in one year.

The actives handbook and Chromebook handbook had no changes.

The board went into executive session to discuss employee contract negotiations.


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