Chamber request School Board not take final year of Opt Out

By Tim Huether

Martin Area Chamber of Commerce president Matt Kratovil approached the Bennett County School Board Monday night at the regular school board meeting with a request for the board to not take the final year of the Opt Out.

“The Chamber members do not feel the need for the Opt Out for the final year is there and the Opt Out directly affects our members,” said Kratovil. “When it started, we were all for it and we thought it was going to be five years, not seven. We would like you to tell us why you need it, if you do.”

Superintendent Stacy Halverson said she had looked over some concerns and questions which some chamber members had sent to her.

“Did the Opt Out work?...definitely,” said Halverson. 

Halverson said they have been able to increase teacher pay and cited several other things that the Opt Out allowed them to do. She said the insurance costs for employees have gone up astronomically and they were able to cover the cost increase for the employees. She added they don’t have to make a decision now or by July 15 as they can simply not request the money for next year and they have until October to decide.

In administrative reports, Halverson said they are looking to hire a High School SPED teacher, High School Business/Technology teacher and two kitchen staff. She said the Legion Gym will be closed until June 4.

Jr. High Principal Belinda Ready reported on Professional Development; Parent Involvement, including a public data retreat on June 5, and other Junior High related items.

High School Principal Nick Redden said there were 28 students who graduated May 12. A Data Retreat is set for May 22-23 with the public data retreat June 4. Summer School at the high school starts June 4 and goes through the end of June. Redden said the track teams had a good day at the Region Meet with 14 athletes qualifying for State in Spearfish on Friday, and Rapid City on Saturday.

Grade School Principal Amie Kuxhaus said the end of year activities included Fun and Field Day. She said 24 students had a 98 percent attendance and 16 students had 100 percent attendance, almost double past years. Summer School at the grade school will be June 6-28, on Monday through Thursday. Summer Trainings include PBIS June 5-6, MTSS June 20-21, Innovative Teaching Strategies July 10-13, Top 20 Training July 30-31 and Behavior Training August 3. She said best wishes to teachers Cheryl Witt, retiring after 23 years at Martin Grade School, Mike Anderson for 16 years, Mrs. Tiensvold for three years, and Mr. Indahl.

The board moved to accept contracts for the 2018-2019 school year for the following:

Sadia Malik, Middle School Instructor

Justen Brown, Custodian

Nikki Milledge, Football Cheer Coach

Clinton Neville, Jr. High Football Coach

Clinton Neville, Asst. Track Coach

Abbie Saxton, Golf Coach

Melissa Barkley, Elementary Instructor

The board moved to accept coaching contracts for the 2018-2019 school year.

The board moved to place a vote for Division IV Representative, three-year term, on the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors for Kelly Mesmer of Harding County.

The board moved to vote for a proposed constitutional change to the constitution and bylaws of the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

The board moved to place a vote for Large School Group Board of Education for Representative, five-year term, to the South Dakota High School Activities Association. 

The board moved to vote for Division III Representative, five-year term, on the South Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors for Dr. Jerry Rasmussen of Dakota Valley.

The board moved to accept the following resignations effective at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. 

1 Mike Anderson, Elementary Instructor

Duke WaIn, Jr. High Boys Basketball

Cindy McMillin, Concession Coordinator

Jon Pierson, Asst. Football Coach

Jon Pierson, Asst. Track Coach

The board moved to reject two bids for a Concrete Project, Jr. High Parking Lot. Hahn Construction bid a total of $146,275.50 and Lacreek Development bid $163,388. It was decided more important projects needed to be handled first and they would possibly rebid the project later.

There were no bids for the sewer project at the Bennett County High School.

The board agreed to surplus the following items from inventory: 

Keyboard, broken will be used for parts

2007 Ford Fusion, 144,000 miles

White lunch tables

The board moved to approve home school exemption for elementary students.

The board was given a copy of the 2018-2019 Preliminary Budget to review.

The next board meeting is set for June 17.

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