The Milbank Board of Education discussed the latest on Covid and close contact at the regular meeting Monday, February 14, in the board room at the high school.
The board has had COVID on the agenda for two years. Superintendent Downes said, “The administration team meets regularly and analyzes what is going on with the students.” He continued, “A lot are our similar size schools and smaller schools and the vast majority of the state have gone away from post-contact quarantining. They have gone to identify and notify. We really need to keep our healthy kids in the building. We’ve done the things that we can to limit, spread within the building and we’re just really at that point where we’re not seeing evidence of significant spread in school. Of course, we will still monitor. We will still identify those close contacts, notify parents, and if our parents would like to take their kids for that quarantine period we understand that.”
The board also accepted the resignation of Caitlyn Graf as middle school girls basketball coach. Sara Colombe was hired as agriculture educator and FFA advisor to replace Jerry Janisch who is retiring in May. Colombe is currently an Ag teacher and FFA advisor in the Hoven School District. Brittney Pohlen has also been hired as the junior kindergarten teacher. She has an early childhood degree from SDSU and has been with the district as a paraprofessional since December. She will take over when Cindy Jungers retires at the end of the school year. Shari Riveland was approved as a paraprofessional. The board accepted the resignations of Lori Leddy and Kari Schliesman. Leddy, a middle school math teacher, will pursue other career opportunities within the community. Schliesman, the elementary special education director is retiring at the close of the school year.
The board approved two open enrollment applications. The students recently moved outside of the district and wish to continue their education in Milbank.
An update by COOP Architecture on the proposed addition to MHS was presented by Jason Kann of the firm. The company is currently in the design stage. Kann went over layouts and answered design questions. He made the comment on the proposed design saying he personally really likes what they have come up with because it allows shifting away from the cafeteria and leaving the windows and all the natural light which he says is really nice for projects. This design will actually give it a courtyard feel. The firm is expecting Hasslen Construction to do a take-off estimate with the figures available at the March school board meeting. Kann stated the project is about 26,600 square feet and estimates the cost at $6 million but that number can change based on market prices.
Kari Schliesman reported Kindergarten screening for this year was a success. Elementary principal Dave Graf and high school principal Dan Snaza stated some parents attended winter conferences but the numbers were not as strong as the fall conferences but they indicated that it was not unusual.
Downes reported that the school and public lands allotment is down. They budgeted for $85,000. The district received $95,00 last year but will receive only $68,543 this year.On a positive note, Superintendent Downes, stated the district received an OST grant in the amount of $27,000 which is designated to cover salary, benefits and supplies. It also received a supply chain food service assistance grant of $20,325.48.
The next board meeting is set for Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m. in the board room at the high school.