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School board selects election date

The Tea Area School Board met Jan. 8 and set the school board election date.

The election will be June 18. Conrad Pick and Jason Bennett’s seats are up for election.

Special education director Jody Taylor reported the district had 387 students in special education. That number is up 32 from last year and accounts for 16 percent of the student population. Because of how the system is set up through the state, the district receives funding for the number of students they had last year, which was 355.

The breakdown by building is 86 at Venture, 110 at Legacy, 47 at Frontier, 65 at the middle school, 58 at the high school and 21 out-of-district placements.

The board approved the resignations of Brock Murphy for boys golf, Monica Ybarra for Frontier foodservice, Raeyielle McManus as special education paraprofessional, Shauna Fox-Hamilton as occupational therapist and Todd Gannon as strength and conditioning coach.

They approved the new hires of Daniella Stitch as special education paraprofessional and Cyndi Wudel for Frontier Food Service.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery provided the building capacity report. The average annual growth has been 5 percent. The projected growth in the next five years is 420-780. The growth projections look at transitioning the middle school to house 7-8 grade and Legacy to house 5-6 grade with the addition of another elementary in 2028.

Business manager Chris Esping said the chiller has never worked correctly at Venture Elementary. It does not keep the building cool in the summer. The current system is undersized for the building. The board approved having ISG write the specifications for a new system. The goal would be to have a system that can operate properly for their needs by fall 2024.

The board approved the transfer of funds that will go toward a bond payment that is unique. This particular bond does not have an annual payment but has one payment at the end.

Operations manager Wayne Larsen provided an update about the high school expansion and other projects. Over Christmas break, they put new lockers in at Legacy Elementary, rewired the alarm system at Legacy, replaced acoustical panels in the middle school and some work in the locker rooms at the high school.

Lowery noted their legislative priorities include teacher salaries, election timelines, student mental health/special education, English language learners, vaping and school lunch debt.

Lowery thanked Explorers Credit Union for their donation.

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