Jerry Rhodes and Judy Longbrake resign from Haakon School District

New business during the Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 15, began with the board "accepting with regret" the resignations of two instructors.

Judy Longbrake informed the board in a letter that she will not be returning for he 2010-2011 school year. She is currently the instructor at the Cheyenne country school. "I have enjoyed my five years at Cheyenne School, but I feel the students need a change," wrote Longbrake.

Kelly Blair, a member of the school board, commented that Longbrake had taught him and at least one of his children. She taught for the Haakon School District three different times, always at country schools.

Rhodes, in his letter, said, "I came to Philip in 1974 and have not regretted it one bit." Among his extensive praises of the district, he said "The success of the school is largely due to a very supportive community, including parents, administration, board of education and an excellent certified and non-certified staff. No other school in South Dakota can claim all the achievements that have come from the small school district of Philip. I will continue to stay involved with the school as a substitute teacher and coaching on a limited basis."

The board addressed the 2010-2011 contracts for other certified staff. Those contracts will be offered, based on 2009-2010 salaries. "The main reason is so we know who is coming back and not have to wait until later," said Superintendent Keven Morehart. Any negotiated changes will be addressed later.

The board approved offering the administrative contracts, also at the same salaries as last year. The board approved, with a one-year extension to be negotiated next year. Reiterating, Morehart, explained, "In other words, we're froze."

The board recognized that the Haakon Education Association will open negotiations. For certified employees, representatives Marie Slovek and Laura O'Connell are headed by Kim Bouman. The non-certified staff will also negotiate details for next school year.

Extra-curricular contracts were approved for Ralph Kroetch as an assistant high school track coach and for Branden West as the junior high track coach.

The school board itself has two seats still open. Three, three-year, at-large terms are to begin July 1, 2010. Craig Hanrahan's seat is open. Bill Slovek and Vonda Hamill had decided not to run for re-election. Mark Nelson has turned in a completed petition, and, with no opposition, he will fill one of the vacant seats. The two remaining seats will have to be appointed by the board. After one year, who ever is in these two positions may run for election to fulfill the remaining two years of the terms.

In his principal's report, Jeff Rieckman noted that March 15 ended the third quarter. March 27 will be the prom. STEP testing will begin soon. An assembly, featuring Kid Davie, will be March 22. The annual Scottie Fest will be held April 22. The student council will have its state meeting April 28-31. FFA will have meetings in Sturgis on March 24 and in Eagle Butte on March 31. FCCLA is also approaching its end of the school year activities.

Philip instructor Matt Donnelly has passed requirements to be a nationally certified archery instructor. He also earned a grant from which archery equipment will be supplied to the Philip physical education department. This equipment included backstop netting and compound bows that can be adjusted down to just 10 pounds.

In his superintendent's report, Morehart said that the elementary science fair will be March 25. The school break over April 2-5 will be immediately followed by three days of STEP testing for the elementary students. The local elementary spelling bee will be April 15, and the regional spelling bee will be held May 5 in Philip. The annual elementary Track and Field Day will be held May 6.

The building committee will tour the district's property during the late afternoon before the next school board meeting. Then, the entire board will tour the geo-thermal well properties.

The next scheduled meeting for the Haakon School District Board of Education will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 17.