School geothermal well, outlay, budget

The Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education has approved a tentative agreement adding Philip Health Services, Inc. to the geothermal well system.

Charles Ekstrum, a member of the PHSI board of directors, represented their intents during the school board meeting on Monday, May 18. "It's a very iffy project at this point. But we are getting permission from everyone involved before we do any further research," said Ekstrum. "Frankly, we will not be able to proceed without a grant from somewhere."

PHSI is not looking into joining the heating district, but receiving the hot water after the last district user, the fire hall, has used it. "We will use the hot water for a heat exchanger, then return it. We are asking for the possibility of using something that is just going down the creek." Extra pressure may have to be added to the system by PHSI. The hospital would have a back up heating system.

The school board agreed to PHSI looking into the project. If project research goes well, a formal agreement will then be made.

In other business, the school board approved the district's five year capital outlay plan. It is basically the same as last year's. The $30,000 budgeted last year for the current school drainage project has been replaced with a budgeted $50,000 for a hopeful resurfacing of the school's asphalt parking lots. With road resurfacing crews in the area this summer, the board has authorized Superintendent Keven Morehart to negotiate up to that amount with the asphalt laying companies. As funds allow, new carpeting in the library area, a new concrete slab between the buildings and the replacement of window sashes are on the to-do list.

The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2010 was reviewed. Two budgets are made, one with the potential federal stimulus funds figured in, the other without. Business Manager Britni Ross has been led to believe that stimulus funds, if even received, may not be accessed until the budgeted funds have been run through. School districts are still trying to get the South Dakota legislature to change a ruling that all special education support, basically the goal for the stimulus funds, must be spent on special education only. Federal guidelines state that 50 percent can be used in the general fund.

This year's summer school will be July 13 to 16 and July 20 to 23. Barb Bowen and Erin Baer will be the instructors. The summer's special education services will be June 1 to August 14. Theresa McDaniel will instruct at Milesville, Tayta West in Philip and LaRae Carley will instruct speech.

The board approved participation in the worker's compensation trust fund with the Association of School Boards of South Dakota. Board member Anita Peterson reported, "the last ASBSD meeting was an eye-opener. I am so glad that we have so few problems in our district. Out of the 168 school districts in South Dakota, almost all are ASBSD members. They are raising annual dues, with Haakon School District 27-1 going from $500 to $837. Some districts may drop their membership."

Classified staff contracts for the 2009-10 school year have been approved. The district's hourly employees include 16 people ranging from $8.90 to $13.25 per hour. Sixth grade instructor, Amelia Hurley, will have her retirement celebration on Thursday, May 21 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Morehart has been selected to the Superintendent Advisor Council.

The next scheduled meeting for the board of education will be at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 15, in room A-1 of the Philip High School.