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School contracts set; graduation May 17

by Del Bartels

Board member Kelly Blair joined the audience while the rest of the school board canvassed the election results from the April 14 election. Though he joked with fellow winner, Mark Radway, about maybe asking for a recount, both will begin their new terms on the first of July.

The official tally for the election was Blair receiving 302, Radway - 242, Michelle Butler - 165, Mark Nelson - 73, Tonya Jo Berry - 56, and Jodi Kammerer and Lori Quinn each receiving 31. After the provisional votes were added in, the Philip district totaled 378 voters, and the Milesville district had 85 voters. There are 1,288 registered voters in the school district. Voter turnout was 36 percent.

Blair rejoined the board, which agreed to pay the $510 yearly dues to the South Dakota High School Activities Association so the Haakon School District may participate in SDHSAA sports and other extra-curricular activities for the 2009-10 school year.

Classified staff contracts were approved for next school year. The staff will remain the same, but Lana Elshere will move up from three-quarter time at the Cheyenne rural attendance center to full-time at the Milesville school. For certified staff contracts, MaryLynn Crary will be the sixth grade instructor for next year. Originally from Bison, she has attended the University of Mary. Her parents each have over 30 years teaching experience. "We are fortunate to get her," said Superintendent Keven Morehart. "She should fit in here real well."

The board also accepted a memorandum of understanding with the City of Philip. The school district's share of the playground area drainage project is still estimated at roughly $27,000. "This is still where we thought it would be," said Board President Bill Slovek.

A contract for next school year was approved for Three Rivers Special Services Cooperative to handle speech therapy as needed in the district. Haakon District is not a member of the co-op, but will be doing a type of subcontracting arrangement at $50 per hour plus mileage. The speech therapist is based out of Martin.

In his high school principal's report, Jeff Rieckman praised how well counselor Pamela DeJong ran the recent Dakota STEP tests. He reported that Science on the Move, brought in through efforts by math instructor Debra Snook, is on the governor's budget cut list. Perhaps local businesses or groups could help fund the $1,000 per day cost that is needed for the large amount of scientific equipment.

Scottie Fest will be this Thursday, April 23. Graduation will be May 17, with baccalaureate at 2:00 p.m. and graduation itself at 3:00 p.m.

In the superintendent's report, Morehart first praised the science fair, the Haakon County Young Women's Easter egg hunt, the spelling bee and the music concert. He then reported that the projected tax revenues for the school district may be slightly more than the amount budgeted. "Hopefully, these estimates stand true," he said.

Morehart then summarized the stimulus funding that is supposed to go toward education. The district's regular allocation of Title 1 Part A funds would have been $80,745 for the 2009-10 school year. The stimulus package may give $63,152, over two years, on top of that. The district's regular allocation of IDEA Part B-611 funds would have been $63,737, but the stimulus package may give $70,128, over two years, on top of that. With the IDEA funds, the South Dakota legislature must first pass a law next January so that up to 50 percent of these funds may be used other than in the very limited restriction guidelines of the package.

The next scheduled meeting for the Haakon School District 27-1 school board will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 18, in room A-1 of the Philip High School.