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School board reviews bids for expansion project

The Tea Area School Board met Feb. 13 and toured the CTE building before their business meeting began (pictured above).

Business manager Chris Esping noted they opened bids for the high school expansion on Feb. 2. Jans Corp, the project manager, reviewed the bid packages. They received a bid on everything. About 36 percent of the budget has been used but they feel good about where they are so far.

The next bid packages will get put out Feb. 16. Bids are due by 2 p.m. March 16 at the District Education Center and bids will be opened at 2:15 p.m. March 16. They will likely have a special meeting at the end of March to approve the guaranteed maximum price.

They noted that this is a good time of year to be bidding. Jans Corp was pleased that they received at least one bid for each part of the first round of bids. Some components are not out too far to order, while other pieces are over a year out, like some electrical pieces.

They noted that the desire is to have the expansion ready by fall 2024. However, some subcontractors were deterred by that timeline. Jans Corp has a possible phasing schedule if needed.

The board approved the resignations of Bradie Timmins as strength and conditioning coach, Kaden Hansen for TASK, Angie Rand as Frontier Elementary SPED teacher (end of school year), Hannah Feten as Frontier Elementary counselor (end of school year) and Amber Norberg as SPED teacher (end of school year).

They approved the new hires of Alexandra Hartman as Frontier Elementary administrative assistant, Sarah Barnhardt as high school head football sideline cheer (split contract), Katherine Lucas as high school head football sideline cheer (split contract), Kristina Westhoff as Venture Elementary first grade teacher, Christian Scholl as high school custodian, Ellie Geier as EL teacher, Nicole Hyronimus as behavior counselor and Carter Olson as middle school science teacher.

They also recognized transfers of Rick Willemssen to Frontier Elementary technology teacher, Brooke Palleschi to CSI coach, Amber Hermanson to Frontier Elementary fifth grade teacher, Drew Weber to middle school careers and James Duffy to maintenance.

The board approved extending administrator contracts through 2024-25 for Allison Bertram, Michael Bullis, Craig Clayberg, Chris Esping, Chris Friedrich, Barb Hansen, Elizabeth Herrboldt, Collin Knudson, Wayne Larsen, David Preheim, Jay Swatek, Jody Taylor and Samantha Walder. They approved extending the support services - management contracts through 2024-25 for Wendie Morehead, Kyle Svanda, Eric Hanson, Tara Krell and Corey Boadwine. Superintendent Jennifer Lowery’s contract was renewed at the January meeting.

They approved extending support services - program directors through 2024-25 for Vickie TerHark with TASK and Amanda Brinkman with Sprouts. The board also approved extending support services - technology services through 2024-25 for Matt DeBoer, technology assistant.

The district surplussed an old yellow mat to trade to the youth wrestling club in exchange for a new competition wrestling mat the club will purchase for the district.

The board held a public hearing for a minor boundary change with the Lennox School District. They approved the change for the property along Highway 17 in the area being developed west of Tea. The boundary line would be on the future Epic Street.

Esping presented rates for TASK. They approved the increase from $125 to $130 week for summer rates for fiscal year 2024. For the school year, rates will increase from $70 to $75 a week.

Board members Jason Bennett and Tara Johanneson were appointed as negotiation representatives. Bennett, Kristin Daggett and Chad Meyer volunteered to be on the teacher of the year committee. Johanneson volunteered to be on the standard of excellence committee.

In the administrator report, Lowery thanked Rob Kolbeck with Schoenhard’s Custom Cabinetry for the use of their enclosed trailer to haul band equipment and Katharine Anderson for donation toward lunch balances. She also recognized the board for school board recognition.

She noted that 2023 homecoming week will be Sept. 11-15 with the parade at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Lowery received the invitation letter from the Eastern South Dakota Conference to join the conference during the 2024-25 school year.

They are looking at creating funding and partnering on a legacy project for the high school construction. Sponsor levels go from $250 to more than $50,000 for different areas of the expansion project.

Advertising over a five-year period on the scoreboards at the sports complex produces more than $800,000 in revenue over the cost of the scoreboards.

In regard to the proposed social studies standards, Lowery expressed her concern that some of the proposed topics are too violent for elementary students and takes away their innocence. She noted that the high school CTE classes will be impacted because students will need to be taking more credits in social studies. The next meeting is April 17 in Pierre and encouraged board members to go to Pierre for the public hearing. The April board meeting will move to April 18 to allow for board members to attend the meeting in Pierre.


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