District shuffles 2010-2011 instructors

The Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education has finalized the contract distributions for next school year, except for one.

Jerry Rhodes is retiring as the Philip High School social studies instructor. His position will be filled by Kory Foss, previously from Mobridge, who will also be the head boys' basketball coach and assistant football coach. Danielle Foss will be taking over the teaching responsibilities of Theresa Deuchar at the Milesville rural learning center. Deuchar will be replacing Judy Longbrake as the instructor at the Cheyenne rural learning center. Longbrake is leaving the school district, having taken a position at Takini. Current sixth grade teacher MaryLynn Crary will teach second grade next school year. The sixth grade position has yet to be filled.

The new high school science instructor will be Kali Leitheiser, who has just finished student teaching in Mitchell. Leitheiser will also be the assistant high school track coach and will coach the resurrected oral interpretation program. She has been in the Army and is in the National Guard, headed the karate club at South Dakota State University and enjoys exploratory spelunking. Current PHS instructor Tom Parquet will be the head track coach. Tony Reder and his family are moving to the Philip area for him to fill the elementary special education position and be the junior high football coach.

The board approved its five year capital outlay plan. The reserve and taxes will remain the same. Business Manager Britni Ross said, "As far as the pension goes, for the first time ever we will be able to cover everything without any transfers." Superintendent Keven Morehart said, "We are doing really well in capital outlay. But, keep in mind, as student enrollment goes down, our capital outlay goes down." As a very rough estimate, $30 to $40,000 will still have to be taken out of reserves for next school year. This actually works well, in that the South Dakota Department of Education has mandated that the districts must spend down any reserves in compliance with the excess fund balance statute. The general fund must be 40 percent or less than the total expenses for that year.

The preliminary fiscal year 2011 budget is just that, preliminary. Morehart said, "The biggest factor that is stopping us from solidifying numbers is the current tax explanation. There is guidance supposedly coming down the line. Sixteen million of federal money has to go somewhere, but nobody seems to know where. South Dakota is saving money, with the schools not getting any more than they would have gotten without the national aid. The state just refigures the state aid."

The 2010-2011 student handbooks for secondary and elementary are very similar to last year's. Some wording has been clarified, mostly to be in accordance with federal and state clarifications.

The district will continue to be part of the protective trust workman's compensation agreement with the Associated School Boards of South Dakota. The annual insurance is $12,570. The district will also continue in contracting for school health services with the South Dakota Department of Health. The county health nurse holds annual vision, hearing and mental screenings.

Two school board seats are still open after the candidate application deadline. Interviews will be held in preparation for appointing people to those seats.

The next board of education meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, June 14, in Room A-1 of the Philip High School.