School Board kicks off new year with Olson as chair, Hodson vice-chair

By Tim Huether

The Bennett County School Board put the wheels in motion for the 2017-18 school year by voting in again, Mike Olson, as the chairman of the district board. Olson was the chairman last year, and with Todd Alexander, was sworn in to a new three year term also. Kevin Hodson was voted in as vice-chairman of the board.

Superintendent Stacy Halverson updated the board on summer projects, saying the large cement project at the Activity Center parking lot has one big pour to go and then the approach will be poured. The shop building has the electrical going in now and the projection date for completion is Sept. 15. 

Halverson said she attended the Martin Chamber meeting and heard some nice comments on the school projects that are getting done.

High School Principal Nick Redden updated the board on the new heat acclimation rules which are mainly for football, but also are for all sports this August.

Teams may have practices no longer than three hours during the first five days of practice. In days 6-14, double practices are allowed with a max of 5 total hours.

Football practices start Aug. 7, Cross Country Aug. 10 and Volleyball Aug. 14.

Grade School Principal Amie Kuxhaus said the air conditioning at the grade school are awesome and added they are quiet also.

When the board went into reviewing the various handbooks, board member Todd Alexander said he would like to make a statement.

“With all the concerns that have been surfacing after interviewing  teachers throughout the district to concerns from parents, with that being said, I believe the goal of the Bennett County School board is to provide a safe learning environment that challenges and educates our students along with a safe and positive work environment for all staff of the Bennett County School District,” said Alexander. 

“With that, I recommend the Bennett County School District K-12 strictly follow the discipline matrix. Bennett County School District will not tolerate bullying, harassing, disrespect, and any type of disruptive behaviors which take away from the learning environment. Staff and administrators will need to communicate and provide adequate documentation. Bennett County School District will no longer support the 76 rule. The Bennett County School Board feels in order to prepare our students for the future, a student  needs to be held accountable, turn in assignments as assigned, be prepared for classes, and tests and earn the grade. Lastly, recommending a change in the eligibility policy. Pass all the classes with the measurement being every nine weeks when report cards are completed. Failing a class will result in a loss of eligibility for the next nine weeks.”

I want to emphasize the Bennett County School District goal is to provide a safe learning environment that will challenge and educate our students for the future while providing a positive work environment for our staff,” continued Alexander.

Alexander said this came from the concerns the public and staff seem to have over the past six months. 

“I think we need to implement those changes and be consistent,” said Alexander.

Olson asked if there was anything in the handbooks the board wanted addressed.

After further discussion, it was decided to approve the student handbooks except the parts about ICU and the new eligibility which will be addressed at the August meeting.

The board approved the following appointments:

- Designated District Representative-Stacy Halverson

- Director of School Lunch-Stacy Halverson

- Custodian of Trust and Agency Funds-Jolene Robinson, Karen Coyle

- Asbestos Coordinator-Gary Snow & Associates

-  Truancy Officer - Building Principals

-  Authorize Superintendent Halverson as the Board’s designee to sign the consolidated federal program applications.

- Designate Security First Bank as the official depository for district funds with alternate of SD Public Funds Investment Trust.

-  Set monthly board meeting time and dates as the third Monday of each month at 5:00 p.m., and the location will be the district’s meeting room in the Library Community Room.

- Designate Bennett County Booster II as the official district newspaper.

-  Appoint Rodney Freeman of Huron as the district legal counsel.

- Authorize the Business Manager to invest district funds in institutions which serve the greatest advantage to the district.

-  Authorize the Superintendent or her designee to close school in an emergency or inclement weather.

- Establish the following chain of command: Board of Education, Superintendent, Title I Director, High School Principal, Elementary Principal, and Business Manager.

- Appoint Jolene Robinson, Cally Drobny and Linnae Slattery as appraisers.

- Appoint 504 coordinator: K-6, Amie Kuxhaus, 7-8, Belinda Ready, 9-12, Nick Redden.

The following pricing policies were approved for the 2017-18 school year:

-Admission prices; high school admission, adults $5, Students $3 

- Season Activity Passes; adults $45, Seniors (60+) $25, Student 7-12 $20, Student K-6 $14, Family Pass $135

Mileage Reimbursement: .42 per mile

Per Diem: In-State: breakfast $6, lunch $11, dinner $15, rooms actual cost; Out of State:  breakfast $10, lunch $14, dinner $21, rooms at actual cost

School Lunch Prices: regular lunch, student K-12 $2.85; regular breakfast student $1.75; reduced lunch $.40; milk $.50; regular lunch adults $3.75; regular breakfast adults $2.50

The board approved the hire of Angie Hicks, para-professional, $10.75 per hour.

The board approved the surplus of four time clocks.

502 Second Avenue, Martin, SD 57551 • 605-685-6866 •