School gives staff bonuses with Corona Relief Fund monies

By Tim Huether

“We received money from the Corona Relief Fund that may be used for any purpose and I couldn’t think of a better way to recommend to you as a board, to use this for our staff, who have worked hard and dedicated to everything during this pandemic,” said Bennett County School District Superintendent Stacy Halverson at the Nov. 16 regular school board meeting. “They’ve really stepped it up and everyone’s played a  part in where we’re at today.”

Halverson recommended a bonus of $2,000 for all full time employees, $1,000 for all part time employees and $500 for those less than part time. The board moved to accept her recommendations.

Halverson updated the board on school happenings, mentioning this week is American Education Week and said it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference  in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. She said there will be a staff appreciation lunch on Wednesday.

Halverson said the fall concerts will be virtual and hopefully they can live stream them. The fall athletic banquet will be combined with the spring banquet. 

She said the winter sports are starting up with lots of schedule changes and updates, which are in the school’s website.

Open positions at the school include: 5th grade teacher, MGS PE/health teacher, MGS music teacher, HS wrestling assistant coach, MS boys basketball coach, girls basketball/boys basketball cheer coach.

Regarding COVID, Halverson reported some staff are out due to either a positive test or close contact.

Four JAG students did well at the JAG State Virtual Career Development Conference last Thursday. Thea Dubray placed first in Public Speaking and Samantha Bustin finished third in Public Speaking; Reigns Provost placed second in Math Skills; Preston Rosane placed third in Employability Skills.

Middle school principal Jon Pierson reported that 16 students received straight As for the first quarter that just ended and many others qualified for the A and B Honor Roll. Pierson said the student council is working with the high school student counsel to continue the Build a Warrior program and are finalizing some Thanksgiving activities.

Pierson said the students and staff really embraced working within the protocols for COVID, doing a good job of taking things in stride, saying, “the kids and staff have really stepped up during this time.”

High school wrestling  started today (Monday) with girls basketball starting next Monday and boys basketball the following Monday. Middle school wrestling is going well but it is hard to find events that fit within the guidelines around COVID.

At the high school, principal Nick Redden said they had Veterans Day events including a POW/MIA table set up in the lobby with an explanation of what that is. For American Education Week, they are having staff appreciation snacks and the student council is cooking breakfast for the teachers Thursday.

At the grade school, principal Amie Kuxhaus reported the Comprehensive Needs Assessment dates are set in Dec., Jan., and Feb. to review data and analyze the data, prioritize needs and then develop a success plan. 

Kuxhaus said Little Warriors girls basketball has started. She said the fall concerts will be digital and they will have high school students film them. 

Federal Programs Director Belinda Ready said they are working on Title I/Federal Programs requirements review, the District school report card, monthly at-home activity packets for families, Comprehensive Needs Assessment, Professional Development for teachers and paraprofessionals and curriculum binders for teachers.

The board heard an update from Jed Liedtke of Puetz Construction on the new building project. Liedtke said the goal now is to get the building enclosed past the gym. He said COVID hit them hard this past week but they have enough guys to get the wall enclosed and there is a beautiful week ahead of them.  He said the commons area is going to be a really nice area.

In other board action, the board:

-Moved to accept a contract for the 2020-2021  school year for Justin Smokov, Middle School Wrestling Coach, $1,296.00

-Moved to accept a contract for Samantha Hicks, Assistant Girls Basketball coach, $2,230

-Moved to approve changes to the Indian Policies and Procedures policy.

-Moved to transfer $2,000,000 from Fund 27, Impact Aid to Fund 44, BCHS Gym/Fitness Fund. 

-Moved to approve Kody Hagen, volunteer for high school wrestling for the 20-21 season.

-Moved to approve Tee Allen, volunteer for high school wrestling for the 20-21 season. 

-Moved to change December 21, 2020, board meeting to December 16, 2020, due to Christmas break.  

-Moved to surplus the following technology equipment:

10 chromebooks, damaged, won’t work, not worth repairing

3 macbooks, quit working, not worth repairing 

1 printer, broken, not worth repairing

-Reviewed the Impact Aid hearing held on November 10, 2020.

-Moved to increase substitute pay by $10.00 per day for the 20-21 school year Retroactive.

-Moved to approve changes to the Facilities Management Agreement with the City of Martin that would remove the snow removal fee.

The next regular school board meeting is Dec. 16.

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