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School board moves coronation outdoors

The Tea Area School District board of education met Sept. 14 and discussed changes for Homecoming.

The board had difficulty trying to connect to livestream the meeting so it was recorded and was to be posted after the meeting.

The board approved moving coronation outdoors at the Athletic Complex Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. No tickets will be needed and no elementary students will be involved as they have been in the past as crown bearers. They canceled the parade, dance, powderpuff football game and elementary and middle school pep rally.

There will be no early dismissal the Friday of Homecoming. Instead of a parade, the high school student council and tLink are working on a parade of homes and competition for the community the week of Homecoming.

After substantial discussion on whether or not to allow food trucks to operate at school activities, the board approved allowing food trucks at Homecoming and future activities.

The after-prom committee spoke during public input about their frustration with only selling drinks, candy, hot chocolate and nachos. They said other districts are allowing full concessions. They noted after-prom costs $25,000 to $30,000 and were concerned about the future of their fundraising. Concessions at school events will continue to have prepackaged, individually packaged food items.

The board approved updates to the COVID Mitigation in Schools policy. The document now differentiates COVID numbers for the elementary level versus the middle and high school level. It also addresses aligning with the state Department of Health from active cases in the county to minimal spread, moderate spread and substantial spread. To be in the red level, the status has to be substantial spread and hospital capacity is a concern. Getting into the red category would mean no activities.

Staff will be able to attend activities with their school-issued ID along with their immediate family. High school seniors may request a ticket from the high school principal for each event when in the yellow and orange zone.

Business manager Chris Esping reviewed the 2021 budget. They had an increase of 41 students at the time of the meeting. Final student count will be Sept. 30. In addition to proposed budget, Esping and Superintendent Jennifer Lowery presented another budget option that would have some restructuring of staff. The proposal would move a maintenance person to a buildings and grounds manager and another would become the transportation manager and both would report to the operations manager. Human Resources would become its own position and report to the business manager.

The proposal would add a software specialist/tech assistant that would be added with COVID funds. An employee would move to a student support specialist and a new hire would be made for an executive assistant with public relations.

Lowery noted the district has grown by 600 students and 88 staff and now has seven buildings since the last time they had a staff reorganization.

The board approved the budget with the administration restructure and adopted the resolution for the 2021 budget.

Lowery updated the board on COVID funding. The district should receive $500 per student in COVID Relief Funding, which is just over a million dollars. They are also receiving a $325,000 CARES Act grant. The money cannot be used for prebudgeted expenses.

The board held a public hearing for the land exchange that has been ongoing with Lennox. No one was present to speak for or against the land exchange. The board approved the agreement. Six parcels will move into the Lennox district and three parcels will move into the Tea Area district.

They approved the resignations of Laura Bradfield as paraprofessional and Kathy Cushman for foodservice. They approved the new hires of Amanda Engel for foodservice, Lizzette Cajina for custodian, Brooke Duncan for middle school volleyball, Cari Hansen for half middle school volleyball, Sydney Koolstra for half middle school volleyball, Drew Weber for half game/concessions manager and Kayla Solinger for Legacy full-time substitute.

The board approved the annual Teachwell contract that handles out-of-district placements, as well as the South Dakota State University student teacher contracts.

The board plans to allow a student to serve on the board. However, the student will not have voting privileges and will not be allowed into executive session.

They heard from Hannah Hank and Kennedy Konrad from the high school student council about the planning they are doing for Homecoming, welcoming eight new members and a new adviser.

In Lowery’s report, she recognized the donations from Fareway, City of Tea, Reliabank and tLINK. She also noted they have 12 families and 21 students who filed applications for homeschooling.

The board adjourned at 9:03 p.m.


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