The Milbank School District Board of Education approved a resolution of acceptance to accept the proposed land in the Grant-Deuel School District dissolution plan. The board did so during its regular meeting Monday, July 11. The land accepted by the Milbank district is valued at slightly more than $199 million or 73.18 percent of Grant-Deuel’s total valuation.
“Each of the Milbank, Deuel, and Waverly-South Shore districts needed to accept the land which will then become part of the plan sent to the state for approval,” explained Superintendent Tim Graf. “Once approved by the state, the Grant-Deuel voters can vote on the plan to dissolve.”
All of Grant County originally part of the Grant-Deuel School District will go to the Milbank School District with the exception of SW ¼ of 36-118-49, SE ¼ of 35-118-49, and the E ½ of SW ¼ of 35-118-49. The SW ¼ of 31-118-50 will go to the Deuel School District. The NE ¼ 13-110-51 is the only Codington County land which will be included in the Milbank district.
A school lunch agreement with the Grant-Deuel district for the 2016-2017 school year was approved. Milbank will operate the school lunch program, including breakfast, as a satellite similar to its plan with St. Lawrence School. Staff from Milbank will prepare the food and staff from Grant-Deuel will pick it up and deliver it to Revillo. No additional costs will be incurred by the Milbank district as a result of this agreement.
New board members Amy Thue, Dick Schwandt, and Tracy Upton were installed and given their oaths of office by business manager Nancy Meyer. Schwandt was also re-elected as the board president and Milt Stengel was named vice-president.
The board approved keeping the compensation rates for board members at $65 per meeting. “According to a survey a few years ago, our board compensation was lower than most schools in the state,” noted Graf. “Although we have not had a survey to conform with the most recent change, I would assume we are somewhat close to the average or slightly below.” The board approved a raise in compensation for the president to $75 per meeting to cover work and communications between meetings.
With the passage of House Bill 1214, a conflict of interest disclosure has been added as a regular board meeting agenda item. “I am not aware of any situations that will require a conflict of interest disclosure, but there might be some in the future,” said Graf. “Executive Directors of School Administrators of South Dakota and ASBSD have requested guidance from the Attorney General’s office, but we are still waiting to see how this shakes out. We hope to shed further light on how to interpret this in the coming weeks.” The new law requires school board members, business managers, and school administrators to disclose any contracts they have entered into that might impact their school district or the State of South Dakota.
Schwandt was selected as the district’s liaison between the school and ASBSD. He served in that capacity for the past four years and was chosen to continue in that role.
Out of state travel for marching band camp was approved by the board. MHS band director Susan Karels will accompany five students to Minneapolis, MN, July 15-16. Music department funding will be used for the trip.
The board approved the resignation of Peggy Johnson as a food service employee. Johnson is retiring. “Peggy was employed the past year and did a great job,” said Graf. “We wish her well in her retirement.”
The board also approved the hiring of Cassandra Kurtenbach of Twin Brooks as a part-time paraprofessional in the junior kindergarten program at Koch School. She is originally from Nebraska.
The Milbank School District accepted a $1,000 gift from the Milbank School Endowment Fund. The endowment provides funding for programs eliminated in past years due to budget cuts. “The fund received $1,800 in dividends this year, and the board determined that it was time to start disbursing some of the funds,” explained Graf. The fund balance in June was $90,427.04. The school board is responsible for determining where to spend that money. The endowment board recommended reinstating the Destination Imagination program. No decision was made during the meeting.
Superintendent Graf also reported the district received a fresh fruits and vegetables grant in the amount of $24,274.88. Grant-Deuel received $3,000 through the grant which will be passed on to the Milbank district now that Milbank will provide lunch services for Grant-Deuel.
The next regular meeting of the Milbank School District Board of Education was set for Monday, August 8, at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at the high school.