School Year starts out smooth at all buildings

By Tim Huether

All three principals and Superintendent Stacy Halverson  reported a very good and smooth start to the school year at the grade school, junior high and high school at the regular school board meeting Monday night.

Halverson said that it has been quiet, Junior High Principal Belinda Ready said they had a great start and students comments have been very positive. High School Principal Nick Redden added that they have had a smooth beginning and Grade School Principal Amie Kuxhaus remarked it has been the easiest start of a school year she has seen in all her years.

Bennett County School Board Chairman Mike Olson said he attended the Three Rivers Cooperative meeting and was elected to serve as the Chairman of that also.

Halverson informed the board about Project Stand Up.

According to news sources, South Dakota law enforcement and school officials have unveiled an anonymous text messaging program aimed at improving school safety. Attorney General Marty Jackley and other officials announced the implementation of the new school-safety element of Project Stand Up. The texting program available across South Dakota lets people submit tips as part of a coordinated effort between districts and law enforcement.

The original Project Stand Up launched in 2017 allows people to anonymously text authorities tips about illegal drug use. Jackley says the safe schools component of the project will help school officials and law enforcement “better protect our children.”

Associated School Boards of South Dakota Executive Director Wade Pogany says it will offer districts an additional component to improve safety in school buildings.

Halverson said you can have people text tips to the school or law enforcement.

New board member Josh Fanning expressed concern over  potential liability issues if texts are sent to the school. Halverson said you can have the tips go directly to law enforcement. The board agreed to look further into the project and discuss it at the September meeting.

Halverson updated the board on school building projects, saying most are completed and the LED lighting project is mostly completed with touchups and other work to be completed.

Belinda Ready said the enrollment at the Junior High is 84. The sixth grade is now at the Junior High building this year and are included in that number.

Ready said speaker Chris Poulos, who was scheduled for the Back to School night but was in a car accident, would like to re-schedule. 

She also reported September 10 is set for the Annual Review. Professional Development meetings have been set for the year. She has applied for the Social and Emotional Learning Grant.

High School Principal Nick Redden said the high school attendance is at 139 for now. Map Testing is underway with each section taking 40-70 minutes.

Redden reported the upcoming events: Bennett County hosts Little Wound Friday in high school football at 6:30 p.m.; the cross country team runs at Box Elder Friday at 10 a.m.; there is a high school volleyball triangular against Stanley County and Wall Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.; cross country travels to Red Cloud Tuesday, August 28 for a 3 p.m. start.

Amie Kuxhaus reported enrollment at Martin Grade School is at 253 for pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade. She said Pride Expectations and procedures are running very smooth. Staff will review data on Friday and set goals and small groups. 

In other board action, the board moved to void the following checks due to lack of presentation: Amanda Wheeler, $250; Newell School Dist. $30; Newell School Dist. $35; Americ Inn $68.45; Cella Hermson, $163; Joe Wilson $18.90; BC Community Action $100.

The board moved to accept the following contracts for the 2018-19 school year: Holly Lynn Blaine, para-professional, $11 per hour; Justina Moffitt, para-professional, $11 per hour; Amanda Saunders, Little Warriors Volleyball Coach, $800; Brianna Cottier, Food Service, $10.50 per hour; Donna Smokov para-professional $11 per hour.

The board was made aware Donna Rae Harris, elementary instructor, was inadvertently missed on the district personnel listing in the amount of $42,675.

The board moved to accept a 3 year Preventive Maintenance Service Agreement with Rasmussen Mechanical Services with the annual rate of $14,248. 

Moved to accept the resignation of Jeanette Nelson, para-professional effective immediately.

The board moved to recognize Jesse Ulmer as a Jr. High Football volunteer and Vera O’Neill as a high school volleyball volunteer for the 2018-19 school year.

The board moved to approve the waiver with plan of intent to get certified for Jason Buckles. Buckles needs to get his welding certificate.

The next board meeting is set for September 17.

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