School board approves negotiations

Negotiation agreements for certified and classified contracts for next school year have been approved. There will be no increases in wages, benefits, steps or lane changes for any school district employees.

This was approved at the Monday, April 18, board of education meeting. The district will now begin offering contracts to individuals for the 2011-2012 school year.

The elementary and high school handbooks for next year were also approved. Superintendent Keven Morehart said that the only real change is the wording in the federal parental policy. "A lot of the last six years, it seems, we are adding or changing the wording to the Title program," said Morehart. Secondary Principal Jeff Rieckman said, "The big things we are always changing are the state graduation requirements and federal wording of policies. There are no other changes, nothing major."

The board did hold a second reading of a carpooling policy. "Parents wishing to carpool in transporting students to and from school may apply to the board of education for a mileage co-op. Transporting families will be reimbursed at the rate of $.04 per mile above the rate set by law for each family whose children are carpooling. Transporting families will be reimbursed at this increased rate for no more than the miles they submit for their own family's travel minus five miles each way and shall be paid at the increased rate only for the actual days they pool."

Board President Bill Slovek said, "To me, we are trying to encourage a win/win situation. It seems you've got to give a little to not be too concrete on the regulations." The four cents extra will be added to the current 37 cents per mile. Morehart said, "We'll go with this. We've had experience with the amount per mile, but it's the documentation."

A group of four families has already requested approval to carpool their children. Slovek said, "Basically, they are wanting to do this year what we are putting into effect next year. Hats off to them."

A second reading for the district was held concerning the state's compulsory attendance policy. Children must attend school until they are 18 years old, rather than the previous law that stopped at age 16.

The board approved agreements with John and Arnis Knutson for them to use the land and the water line at the Alfalfa Valley School. If the school re-opens, the land and water responsibilities will again be assumed by the school district.

Morehart said that the state's sparsity funds for the Haakon School District will be $38,986 for next school year.

The wages for March for substitutes totaled $2,382.50 for an equivalent of 34.5 days. The hourly wages in the district for March totaled $24,722.02, for a total of 2,233 hours. The school board, with seven members, was paid a total of $1,200. This included three months of regular board meetings and some members attending two special meetings.

The recent school board election resulted in incumbent Vonda Hamill and newcomer Doug Thorson winning the two open seats. The total voter turnout was 187, out of 1,239 registered voters in the school district. That computes to a 15 percent turnout.

The recent STEP testing is complete. Mid-term grade checks have also been completed. The eighth grade technology test will be April 27, where students will prove that they have earned high school credit for their computer course.

High school graduation will be May 15. Kindergarten graduation, as well as the eighth grade recognition, will be May 16. The last day the students will be in class for the 2010-2011 school year will be May 17.

Scottie Fest is scheduled for April 28. The high school concert will be May 2. The Regional Elementary Spelling Bee will be May 6 in White River. The annual Save Our Farm Youth safety program for the elementary will be May 10.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 16, in room A-1 of the high school. It may be delayed until the eighth grade recognition is completed.