Mitchell school board acts to replace gym floor, bleachersThe Mitchell Board of Education acted quickly Monday to approve bids to replace Mitchell High School’s warped and aging gymnasium floor, as well as old bleachers in the gym.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Board of Education acted quickly Monday to approve bids to replace Mitchell High School’s warped and aging gymnasium floor, as well as old bleachers in the gym. The meeting was held at the Mitchell Technical Institute north campus.
Superintendent Joe Graves said both are safety items that need to be addressed.
“We have had regular swellings in the floor that have become a trip hazard,” Graves said. The aging bleachers also need replacing to avoid a potential failure and collapse.
The board unanimously approved the sole $114,000 bid from School Specialty for a Taraflex composite floor for the gym.
Activities Director Geoff Gross said the rebound characteristics on the Taraflex cushioned floor are remarkably close to those of regular hardwood floors, he said. Additionally, the floor system allows damage to be easily repaired and the floor surface does not require sealing on a yearly basis. The floor will have an estimated 20 year life, he said.
The current beechwood floor was installed in 1994.
The new floor will be installed on top of a special waterproof membrane that will cover the gym’s concrete floor.
The board also approved a low bid of $63,373 from Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, for new motorized bleachers. The rejected bid, from Combined Building Specialties, was for $76,588.
The new bleacher system will have aisles for better access, more comfortable seats, better legroom, and they will also slightly increase the gym’s seating capacity, Gross said.
Gross later said he won’t miss using the high school art department’s annual shipment of clay to iron out the warps and buckles that would appear in Mitchell High’s gym floor each fall after a summer of heat and humidity.
Library consolidation proposal
Graves told the board about a proposal that would be discussed by the Mitchell City Council later in the evening to combine Mitchell Public Library and Mitchell High School library services in the west end of the MTI north campus building.
Extensive renovation would be required to make the space usable, he said.
“It’s just at the talking stage and it’s one proposal among many, but I do know the city will be discussing it tonight,” he said. The board is not bound by the proposal, he said.
“It may or may not occur. It’s just a discussion at this point,” he said.
Graves said Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proposed and passed a 2.3 percent increase in the school funding formula.
“What that essentially does is to fill in the one-time money from last year, so the actual increase to the finance formula has almost no impact on our actual receipts,” Graves said.
The state has also allocated $8.7 million in one-time funds for schools this year and another $3.9 million to schools for next year. That means Mitchell will receive about $175,000 in one-time money in June and another $75,000 in the fall.
Graves said rather than spending that money, he will recommend that the $250,000 be set aside for next year’s negotiated agreement.
“It’s the most confusing year in financing I’ve ever seen,” Graves said.
Graves also summarized recent funding action in the Legislature.
Legislation was passed to change the method of taxing gross receipts at rural electric associations that could have a negative effect on some school budgets, Graves said, but he did not believe Mitchell will be greatly affected. “It’s possible we will lose some tax revenues,” he said, adding that more will be known after Veto Day, March 19.
He said committees will work this summer to develop a teacher evaluation system that will help to implement House Bill 1234, which will provide financial incentives to topranked educators.
MTI President Greg Von Wald said his school had mixed results in the Legislature.
Senate Bill 72 approved licensure for speech language pathologists and assistants, a measure he believes will bolster the credentials of students graduating from the school’s new SLP assistant program.
SB77, which would have provided 200, $5,000 scholarships for students taking classes in critical workforce areas, failed.
Instead, about $500,000 has been allocated for the state’s four tech schools, but details on the money’s use have not yet been released, he said.
Kudos to all
The board recognized, with applause, the naming of L.B. Williams Elementary School Principal Becky Roth as the recipient of the South Dakota Elementary School Principals Association’s Instructional Leadership Award.
Roth, who was nominated for the honor by art teacher Cathy Frederickson, said she was thankful for the honor. The award considers a school’s academic achievement, development opportunities shared with the school’s staff and leadership opportunities afforded students, and building relationships with staff, parents and students.
“It’s been a great day. It’s really not about me but all the great things my staff is doing and taking on to make that happen for our kids,” she said.
Also, on behalf of the school board, President Brenda Freidel congratulated the Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team and “Coach Wes Morgan, assistant coaches and all involved” for winning the state AA title in Brookings this past weekend.
• Extended more kudos to the Mitchell Friend de Coup show choir for taking grand champion honors at a competition held Saturday at Sioux Falls Washington High School, and reminded the board that Mitchell’s Show Choir Classic takes place this weekend at the Corn Palace and the choir’s dinner theater event will take place the following weekend. The Mitchell Middle School show choir, Maximum Velocity, also won at the same event, noted Graves.
• Praised the Mitchell Marlins for winning the boys’ hockey state championship Sunday in Fort Pierre.
• Congratulated coach Ron Grimsley and MHS speech and debate students for wins in recent tournaments. Qualifiers in the recent Northern National Forensic League District qualifying tournament, held in Brookings, were Madi Miller and Jackie Ortmeier in duo interpretation; Mason Wenzel in domestic extemporaneous speaking; and Emmy Smith in foreign extemporaneous speaking. In June, they will compete in the national tournament in Indianapolis, Ind.
MHS students also placed in the recent state speech and debate tournament in Aberdeen. Wenzel took first place in domestic extemporaneous speaking; Smith, third in foreign extemporaneous speaking; and Matt Schilling took fifth in original oratory.
• Recognized Mitchell resident Ed Potzler, who she said has announced his intention to run for the school board. “We’ll have a race for the school board this June and some choices for voters,” she said.
In other business, the board:
• Appointed board member Dana Price to the joint city-county equalization board, which meets April 10.
• Approved the following personnel items:
Child Development Center instructor, $3,128, effective March 12; Marilyn Hart, LBW food service, four hours daily at $9.49 an hour, effective Feb. 17; Darla Kotrba, MTI instructional designer, $13,540, effective March 19; Dale Moke, online electronics instructor, MTI, $16,451, effective March 1; D’Andrea Rogers, paraeducator, Longfellow Elementary School, seven hours daily at $9.82, effective Feb. 15; Jed Schoenfelder, MTI welding instructor, $40,000, effective for the 2012-2013 school year; Donna Tilberg, food service, Mitchell Christian, four hours daily at $9.49, effective Feb. 21.
Transfer: Christina Siemsen, from social studies at the high school and Second Chance High, to full-time social studies at the high school, for the 2012-2013 school year.
Change in hours: Jamie Hohn and Cassie Olinger, custodians at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School, from four hours to eight hours daily, effective Feb. 20.
Early retirement: Mark Budahl, Math, MHS, effective March 9.
Retirement: Diane Padrnos, language arts, MHS; Jan Raml, library aide MHS, both at the end of the school year.
Resignation: Mike Anderson, night custodian MHS, effective March 19; Kelly Bottum, parttime instructional coach LBW, effective end of the school year; Quinton Slykhuis, ag instructor MTI, effective Feb. 29; Stacy Thomsen, speech language pathology instructor, MTI, effective end of the 2011-2012 school year. Resignation (extra-curricular): Curtis Smith, eighth-grade girls’ basketball coach, effective pending suitable replacement.
Reduction in force: Frank Buck, MHS career and technical education teacher, effective end of the school year.