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School board: insurance, heat, and homecoming

The scheduled Haakon County School Board meeting drew a dozen citizens, most of them interested in the geo-thermal agreement section of the agenda.

Six businesses and the fire hall use the school’s surplus heating energy. Barium chloride is used to take radon out of the hot water before it is used to heat the school buildings. Barium chloride has increased in price. Testing the water for radon is an on-going requirement and expense. The underground water flow has slightly decreased, thus lowering the energy potential. The school buildings have been expanded lately, thus increasing the heating energy requirements. Two board members will meet with the businesses and discussion will be continued at the next school board meeting.

Liability insurance maximums for the school and its board were discussed. Earlier in the meeting, President Craig Hanrahan inquired if roll call votes could be used more often in the future to possibly diminish some liability toward members who voted “No” on controversial issues. Though coverage can range from one to five million dollars under an umbrella plan, how much is really needed considering the premium costs? There is no coverage for punitive damages. The school’s insurance representative will deliver comparisons of other schools’ policies for further discussion next meeting.

Homecoming has been changed to Oct. 8. Parent-teacher conferences are still on Oct. 7. A May 15 graduation date was approved, with May 19 being the last day of school.

There will still be an attendance monitor for students who earn detention through too many tardies.

Black Hills Special Services will be contracted for a specific number of days per week for special education needs.

Many options are still open in the search for a music teacher. If needed, a substitute will keep the program going until a more permanent solution is found.

The previously damaged street light on “school hill” will be replaced with increased signage: stop signs, speed limit signs, and pedestrian crossing signs on Hillside Ave.

Praise was given toward the teacher in-services, including the CPR and defibrillator training. The earlier joint convention attended by some of the board members was worthwhile, and the productive Reading Counts program in the elementary grades was also complimented.

Superintendent Dr. Julie Ertz is finishing the “school report card” that is part of the No Child Left Behind school and district evaluation, but she already honors the school and especially the staff. The only real negative mark is that three students did not graduate last year.

No action was taken, allowing further research and discussion for the alternative calender committee, concerning a four-day school week.

The meeting began with an hour-long executive session and also ended with another executive session.