Haakon Board of Education - from geothermal, to finances, to full calendar

The Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education meeting, Monday, October 17, was relatively short, though full.

A representative of the board has been invited to attend future Philip Chamber of Commerce meetings on the third Monday of each month. This is for direct two-way communications so both groups can be better informed about actions and concerns of the other. Superintendent Keven Morehart has spoken at chamber meetings before.

The 2011-2012 Philip High School student-to-work Internship program has filled all of its work sites. Nineteen students have now been placed at various businesses in the area for hands-on experience in a field of their interest.

A representative of the Philip geothermal group will be invited to attend the next school board meeting. Discussion was held on shortening current and future contracts to less than five years each. The board is concerned about being held to a contract if something interrupts the flow of the hot water that heats a number of buildings in Philip. Philip Health Services Inc. has joined the group of users of the hot water. The tentative contract will revamp the group's cost up to $8,500 per year.

In March of 1980, the district was told of two options of complying with state permits in the disposal of the used water from the geothermal well and how to work the cooling pond. The estimated cost then was around $20,000 to $30,000, "but wouldn't get us started today," said Morehart.

Some users of similar wells simply let the water cool and then add it to area creeks. The school district has been treating the used water with barium chloride before releasing it. Originally, the Philip geothermal group's contribution paid for the cost of the treatment, but now that amount covers approximately half of the cost.

The district is unsure if the water actually needs to be treated, or how to treat it and its cooling pond. Morehart said things are on hold until the district gets more information from the state, yet the district has received a water permit approved by the state.

An open enrollment request has been approved for a new fourth grade student to the district.

Hourly wages during the month of September totaled $23,588.74 for an equivalent of 2,138.33 hours of work. Wages for substitutes came to $1,200 for a total of 16.5 days of substitution. Three months worth of wages for the board of education members, and a special meeting, came to a total of $1,400.

Some members of the board attended a region Association of School Boards meeting October 5 in Wall. In attendance were also members from the school districts of New Underwood and Wall. Board member Mark Nelson said, "It was so much more of what you wanted to know, not what you just heard. I'd like to see those kinds of meetings more often."

In his high school principal's report, Secondary Principal Jeff Rieckman, reported that October 20 is the annual career day at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. Philip's juniors and seniors will be able to visit with representatives from colleges and the military about possible further education options and future occupations.

The end of the first quarter is October 20. The state cross country meet will be October 22 in Sioux Falls, with 10 Philip Scotties running. The first round of football playoffs will be October 25. All-state chorus will be in Sioux Falls October 28-29. Volleyball district competition starts November 1, and Philip is currently in the number two seed position behind Edgemont. The Philip FCCLA chapter will attend a cluster meeting in Denver, November 11-13.

The board was reminded that math instructor Deb Snook is one of three state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

An outreach trailer from Mitchell Technical Institute was parked outside of the high school Tuesday, October 18, for students to experience some of the technological fields and courses that are available. A parent touring time was also scheduled after school.

In his superintendent's report, Morehart said that two fire drills have been completed. Early release for elementary students on Wed- nesday afternoons is in full swing. "We had a packed house," he said of the annual eat-with-your-parents event October 17. Flag football has two weeks left. A flu clinic was held October 18 in Philip and October 19 in Milesville. The annual Dig Pink Night will be held at the Philip versus New Underwood volleyball match, Monday, October 24, to further awareness of breast cancer. November 9 will be picture retakes. The 2011-2012 yearbooks can now be ordered.

Morehart said that a movement is underway for all states to follow common core standards for all grades in school. Until that officially happens, with South Dakota joining, "We are still graded to our standards," said Rieckman.

The next scheduled meeting for the Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education will be at 6:00 p.m., Monday, November 14, in room A-1 of the Philip High School.