School Board considers selling land

Posted September 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm

The Miller School Board met Monday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m., with all members present.

New staff members were present to introduce themselves.

Lee and Cleo Kleinsasser and Jerry and Lynn Johnson were present to ask if the board would sell a strip of land just to the north of their residences on Donlin Street. Johnson said he would like to remove present trees behind his house and plant new ones for a windbreak.

Board chair David Fremark asked the two couples to draw up a proposal to present to the board, and the board members will look at the land, to have a better idea about the land in question.

Bryan Breitling, Amy Howard and Lorelei Simons with On Hand Development Corporation were present to find out the status of the old elementary building and grounds. OHDC wants to move ahead with the intergovernmental transfer. Breitling asked for some type of draft document from the school that can be taken to the City.

School superintendent Mike Ruth said the school had a quitclaim deed drawn up, which transfers the school district’s interest in the property to the City. Ruth said he thought that would be sufficient to at least start the process with the City.

An audience member asked why “Show Choir” had been dropped from the music offerings, and said students have voiced their objections. Cleo Kleinsasser was in the audience, and is also in charge of K-12 music. She said Erica Leisure, who had directed Show Choir, is no longer teaching in Miller. Kleinsasser said she and Desiree Yeigh have no time to take on any more groups.

Secondary principal Steve Schumacher gave an overview of Homecoming Week activities.

He reported the school has received a grant of $10,000 from the Monsanto Corporation’s “America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education” for an “outdoor science classroom.” He said 18 area persons in ag-related fields had nominated the Miller School District for the grant, and he credited ag instructor Mark Ketelhut for completing the necessary paperwork. Only six South Dakota schools received the grant.

Elementary principal Tammy Caffee said K-3 benchmark testing has been done. The testing helps determine a student’s progress and proficiency, especially in math and reading.

Caffee also expressed her concerns about school crossings, and discussion was held about where to place additional signs to ensure safety for the elementary students.

Superintendent Ruth said the Effective Schools in-service held August 30 was productive. There was much discussion about Common Core Standards. There was also some discussion about the school going to four-day weeks, but no decision was made.

Ruth said the goal committee will meet to discuss and set goals for this academic year, and into the future.

Ruth’s “Rustler Rah-Rahs” recognized that there was 100 percent attendance at the seventh-grade orientation; that so far 45 percent of Miller’s seniors have applied to a college or technical school; and that Mark Ketelhut and Janis Gimbel were recognized by the S.D. Association of Career and Technical Education for their offering of career and technical education (CTE) courses.

Also recognized was last year’s volleyball team for “Team GPA.” The national award recognizes teams who have outstanding cumulative grade point averages. The Miller team was one of 239 high school volleyball teams recognized throughout the U.S.

Superintendent Ruth said that with the recent hot weather, the lack of air conditioning in some junior/senior high classrooms makes for an unpleasant situation. Ruth said, “There are about 15 rooms without air conditioning, and we need to get conditioners installed before next year.” The board agreed that window air conditioners would work in the rooms.

The graduation date set (May 17, 2014) is in conflict with a track meet scheduled in Chamberlain on the same date. After considering various options, the board changed graduation to Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 2 p.m.

Ruth said he had investigated being able to charge less for second entrée helpings, but had been informed the district cannot make a change from what CBM food service has set.

The transportation committee met with Doyle Foreman regarding bus routes. One of the six routes had been eliminated, but parents complained about how early some riders would have to get on, and how late they would get home, so a sixth route is now in place again.

Ruth said that transportation costs and salaries make up the bulk of the school budget, and when budget cuts must be made, the board will have to again consider how to best handle student transportation.

He showed designs of banners for the Armory, but said how to pay for them has not been decided. Ruth said the Booster Club might be interested in helping fund the banners or helping cover gas costs for out-of-town events.

Daryn Pederson has shown interest in coaching the school golf team. Ruth said he will need to take some coaching classes prior to the season. Ruth suggested paying the golf coach a stipend on the same level as for the cross-country program, and action can be taken at a later time.

And finally, Ruth said the school has been approached about using the old elementary gym for community-wide youth group meetings. No action was taken.

Under action items, the board approved four open enrollment applications. They waived facility use fees to Senior Parents, for the Homecoming Dance on September 13. They approved classified staff work agreements, and approved a contact with Kathy Yost for the Response to Intervention (RtI) program, at $30 per hour. Payment application #16, totaling $89,539.35 for work on the new elementary school, was approved.

Following an executive session the board approved work agreements for Teri Kelley and Vicki Letsche as educational assistants, and approved the resignation of Tigh Rombough as a custodian.

The next meeting will be Monday, Oct. 14 at the new elementary library. `