The Milbank School District Board of Education gave their approval for the position of an instructional coach which will be paid for by the Personnel Development Grant the district recently received. Approval was given during the regular meeting of the board Monday, January 8.
The district was awarded the Personnel Development Grant which is a five-year joint grant with the Sisseton School District. The grant will provide the funds to hire an instructional coach to promote literacy professional development among Milbank staff members. A more detailed job description will now be created. The district hopes to have the person hired by March so they can attend a two-day meeting in Pierre to work through the details of the grant.
“This grant will cover all expenses for the first two years and the cost to the district will be minimal the final three years,” explained Superintendent Tim Graf. “There also is possibility of expanding this position beyond a K-5 coach in the future.”
Proposed changes to the Milbank Out of School Time (OST) program were discussed. The most significant change is to increase the enrollment cap from 80 students to 95 students because of the long wait list for the program. Another proposed change would be to split the students into two groups – kindergarten and first grade in one group and grades 2-5 in another.
The changes will be part of a pilot program for the upcoming summer. “This would give us the opportunity in August to make adjustments, discontinue the pilot, or continue the pilot during the school year OST program,” said Graf. “We feel the changes would allow us to serve more students.”
Rates for the program would be unchanged, but different pay options would be available at a reduced or free rate. The current rate is $2.25 per hour. The school lunch program guidelines will be used to determine if a child can receive a reduced tuition rate of $1.75 or a lessor, nearly free rate or $1.00. “We feel this will help reduce the number of students who may be kept at home alone because of economic reasons,” added Graf.
Additional changes include a charge for drop-in students of $5 per week. A summer transportation fee of $10 will be applied for the summer of 2018. An activity deposit will also be used for the summer to pay for swimming, entry fees for field trips and other events. It will eliminate the need to collect these funds on a daily basis.
The proposed changes have been discussed and approved by the OST Advisory Board. “These other changes will help with management of the program,” said Graf. “We have always had concerns about quality control and sustainability if we implement these changes, but feel the benefits may outweigh the risks.” Graf also said the financial status of the program is sound. Final approval of the changes will be made at next month’s board meeting.
In Graf’s report, he noted an anonymous donation of $10,000 was received by the Milbank School Endowment Fund. He also said that Central United Methodist Church gave a donation to the district for $3,375 from their Christmas offerings.
The next regular meeting of the board of education is scheduled for Monday, February 12, at 5:30 p.m.