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Cheyenne School operations suspended

The Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education met Wednesday, August 3, before a concerned audience.

The special session was to discuss the 2011-2012 enrollment of the Cheyenne School. For years, it has been a board policy to try to keep a country school open as long as there are at least four students in normal attendance. The anticipated 2011-2012 attendance of the Cheyenne School had been four students. That number dropped to three students when a family decided to take advantage of home schooling.

Thus, there remained only three students enrolled at the Cheyenne School for the upcoming school year. Instructor contracts have long been signed and accepted, and classes for the upcoming school year are set to begin Wednesday, August 24.

"This comes at an inopportune time, to be honest," said Superintendent Keven Morehart. "I've talked to the state; we cannot close it, but we can suspend operation for the 2011-2012 school year." He and the board wish to leave the option of using the structure if families who have more students should move into the school's area. Until that should happen, the Cheyenne staff will be reassigned to the Milesville School, which is only a few miles east of the Cheyenne building.

Morehart stressed that the decision, eventually moved, seconded and passed by the board, was not for financial reasons.

School board president Scott Brech said, "I don't think we have a lot of choices on this one. It would have been nice to know about this a whole lot earlier."

The instructors at the Cheyenne School rural attendance center is Theresa Deuchar. The instructor at the Milesville School rural attendance center is Danielle Foss. Lana Elshere is an aide at Milesville, and Karen Nelson is a full time special education aide at Milesville. Currently, the estimate for attendance at Milesville for the 2011-2012 school year is 14 students, ranging from kindergarten up through the seventh grade.

Morehart continued, "I could move somebody to town, but it will not be a certified teacher." He said that the four employees would all be assigned to the Milesville School. "Fortunately, we have great staff there."

School board member Vonda Hamill said, "The work load for seven grades is astronomical. As far as the financial part of it, I would like to see as many students at Milesville as possible. But, it only makes sense that, if we are going to meet federal and state requirements and regulations, that the numbers of grades each instructor has to address is at as much of a minimum as possible."

The rest of the board agreed. Deucher will make the lesson plans for and teach kindergarten through third grade. Foss will do the same for grades four through seven. Elshere and Nelson will aid where needed and necessary.

In other school board items, the district's general fund claims payable August 3 totaled $12,368.68. The capital outlay claims for the same time period total $7,144.41. Special education claims total $3,100.29. Food Service claims, to the districts dental insurance provider, totaled $61.40.

Football, volleyball and cross country practices start Monday, August 15. Physicals are needed before athletes can practice.

The next regular board of education meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, August 15, is Room A-1 of the Philip High School.