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Mitchell School Board to evaluate Graves

The Mitchell Board of Education plans to go behind closed doors Monday night to evaluate Superintendent Joe Graves.

The board's meeting agenda includes what's known as an "executive session," which is the term applied to a non-public portion of a meeting. State law allows -- but does not require -- executive sessions for "discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer." The board agenda cites that portion of state law as justification for the executive session.

Following the executive session, the board plans to consider extending Graves' contract. He is currently on a contract signed in July that pays him an annual salary of $121,000, plus 100 percent of his family medical and dental insurance premiums, and term life insurance worth $50,000. The district also contributes 6 percent of Graves' annual salary to a tax-sheltered annuity of his choice and another 6 percent to the South Dakota Retirement System.

The executive session and the possible extension of Graves' contract, which were also on the February agenda but were postponed, are the last two items on the agenda. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in Room 116 of the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy building, across the street from the high school.

Personnel

As one of the first items on its agenda, the board will consider the following personnel items.

• Resignations: Joseph Nepodal, L.B. Williams Elementary vocal music teacher, effective at the end of the school year; Melissa Temple, high school math teacher, effective at the end of the school year; Kathy Kramer, seventh-grade social studies and language arts teacher, effective at the end of the school year.

• Early retirement: Hallie Tate, L.B. Williams Elementary instructor, grades 3-4, effective at the end of the school year; Mark Horan, high school science instructor, effective at the end of the school year.

• Retirements: Sharon Max, employee services director, effective June 30; Gerry Tatina, superintendent's secretary, effective June 30.

• Transfers: Dianne Dubbelde, from NSLP cook at the middle school to 5.5-hour prep cook at the middle school, effective Feb. 18; Katrina Talley, from kindergarten at Longfellow Elementary to first grade at Longfellow Elementary, effective next school year.

• New hires: Dana Hettinger, custodian at L.B. Williams Elementary, eight hours daily at $11.50 per hour, effective Feb. 18; Alleah Weygaerts, NSLP cook, middle school, seven hours daily at $10.25 per hour, effective March 3; Dezara Fenski, medical assistant instructor at Mitchell Technical Institute, $45,000 annually, effective April 1; Paula Kummer, staff accountant, MTI, $17.14 hourly, part-time March 18 through May 9, and then full-time beginning May 12 at $34,000 annually.

• Reduction in force: Jeff Hoffman, vo-ag instructor at the high school, effective at the end of the school year; David Reuland, auto mechanics instructor at the high school, effective at the end of the school year.

Other business

In other business, board members plan to:

• Recognize the state champion Mitchell High School gymnastics team.

• Consider, on the first of two required readings, revisions to Board Policy 544 on wellness, as recommended by a district committee to bring the district into compliance with new National School Lunch Program requirements.

• Consider, on the first of two required readings, revisions to Board Policy 518 on tobacco-free schools, as recommended by a committee to more clearly and effectively communicate the district's policy on tobacco use at district facilities and activities.

• Consider an architectural and construction management contract with Puetz Corp. that would pay it 7.5 percent of the total cost of construction for a remodel of the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy building.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider approving waiver requests to the Department of Education so English I and physical science can be offered at the Mitchell Middle School for high school credit.

• Hear board member reports.

• Hear the superintendent's report.

• Hear public commentary.

• Consider entering an executive session to conduct an evaluation of Graves.

• Consider extending Graves' contract.

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