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School board reviews goals, talks construction projects

The Tea Area School District Board of Education started their June 19 meeting with a goal review session before getting to their regular business meeting.

Student board member Ben Daggett transitioned off the board and introduced the new student members to the board. The student council president and vice president will take over the student positions on the board. Going forward, the vice president will stay on for two years as the new system will have the student council vice president stay on when they become president.

Business manager Chris Esping reviewed the liability insurance renewal. Their work comp insurance went down. As they added vehicles, that insurance has gone up. Not many companies want to insure schools. The insurance company claims that Venture Elementary is in a floodplain. The district is filing the proper paperwork to contest that claim. The insurance policy would be by building instead of by occurrence. The board approved the insurance renewal for the 2023-24 school year.

The board approved the foodservice contracts for Pan-O-Gold for bread, Prairie Farms for dairy and Performance Food Service for the prime vendor. All of these entities are the same ones they had this past year.

They approved the purchase of a used mini van before the end of June if they can find one that is under $50,000 from the special education budget to be used for special education.

Operations manager Wayne Larsen updated the board on the construction projects around the district. At the addition at the high school they are digging footings. Utilities are starting to be relocated for that project.

The high school gym floor should have been installed by the end of last week. They are shooting for the end of July for it to be useable. Venture Elementary and Frontier Elementary have seen more use this summer with the high school gym out of commission. Due to the availability of wood, they did have to move to narrower pieces.

The Legacy Elementary HVAC project is moving forward. Duct work is happening there.

At the Athletic Complex, the track has been removed. The goal is to have that completed by Aug. 10. They have met with Daktronics and Muth Electric on the new scoreboards.

The high school expansion project had its first change order of $80,085 as contingency for an area of the music section that needs to have deep foundation due to not being able to get that area enclosed before the weather turns cold. The total budgeted contingency fund is $2 million. The board approved the action.

The board approved the resignations of Travis Moulton as special education driver and Rick Willemssen as girls’ golf coach.

They approved the new hires of Mary Beth Sutton as middle school drama, Rick Willemssen as high school assistant boys golf and event streaming, Haley Moothart as Venture Elementary kitchen, Taylor Becker as assistant 10th grade boys basketball, Matt Wegner as assistant seventh grade football, Kade Stearns as assistant ninth grade boys basketball, Karen Korver as middle school librarian, Nick Berg as girls’ golf coach, Drew Weber as assistant girls’ golf and Kristi Horsley as paraprofessional.

The board had the first reading of Policy DID, Inventories and Capitalization. This is already a process the district had already started.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery noted they had sent out a survey about virtual snow days. They had more than 700 responses, with most coming from parents.

An overwhelming majority of respondents approved of using virtual snow days rather than makeup snow days and agreed that their students had the opportunity to engage in academics during the virtual days.

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