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Mitchell school board to approve budget for new fiscal year

The annual reorganizational meeting for the Mitchell Board of Education will include a measure to increase the cost of school lunches and the approval of the district’s 2014-15 budget.

0 Talk about it

The board, which will say farewell to retiring board member Dana Price and will swear-in Cory Aadland, will meet at an earlier-than-usual 4:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy building.

Prior to the meeting, the school board will hold an open house for the retiring Price at 4 p.m. Aadland takes the position after being unopposed for the position in the June election.

The meeting serves as the public hearing regarding the budget for 2014-15 and the public is invited to ask questions or suggest changes regarding the budget. During the meeting, the district is expected to share tax levy and opt-out figures and explain the school’s tax share for property owners. Enrollment projections and tuition costs for MTI are also expected.

The proposed 2014-15 budget includes increases in each of the school’s funds, compared to the previous year: $15,887,041 for the general fund, $4,841,421 for the capital outlay fund, $3,709,691 for the special education fund, $342,000 for the pension fund, $1,758,061 for the food service fund. The combined totals of the MTI post-secondary funds are $26,571,534.

Tax levies include $1.782 per $1,000 of ag valuation, down about 31 cents from last year for the general fund. The special education fund will include $1.478 per $1,000 of total valuation, down about 8 cents from last year’s figure. Capital outlay and pension funds will be funded as last year, with the same $3 per $1,000 and 30 cents per $1,000, respectively.

Tonight’s annual meeting of the board will reorganize the board and the agenda will be divided in half. In the first half of the meeting, the current members will finish up the business of the 2013-2014 school year, which will include a public hearing for the 2014-2015 district budget.

After the board reconvenes, it is expected to approve a 25-cent increase in lunch prices and a 10-cent increase in breakfast prices. District officials have said they can’t afford to not have the food program not pay for itself and need to keep up with the rising costs of food supplies. Some of the price increases have been driven by federal lunch requirements, emphasizing whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

District Food Service Director Sean Moen has projected the school would make an additional $37,000 for every 10-cent increase in cost, meaning a 25-cent increase would bring in another $92,500 in revenue.

The increases would bring the price of lunch to $2.65 at the district’s elementary school, $2.85 in the middle school and high school, and $3.70 for an adult.


As part of the board’s consent agenda, including open enrollment and claims, the following personnel changes are being considered:

  • Salary adjustments: The following personnel at MTI are recommended for salary increases in excess of the 4 percent previously approved. Those employees include: Kathy Stern, administrative specialist at $15.73 per hour; Kristen Bertsch, from admissions representative to assistant director of admissions at $42,000 per year; Jeff Bruntz, buildings/grounds maintenance manager at $43,000 per year; Elizabeth Kitchens, coordinator of student accounts at $15.25 per hour; Brent Bollinger, DDN manager at $46,944 per year; Clayton Deuter, director of admissions at $55,000 per year; Hilary Vining, enrollment services specialist at $15.37 per hour; Vicki Wiese, from vice president of academics to executive vice president at $95,893 per year; Beth Schneider, instructional strategist at $35,500 per year; David Boos, manager of information systems at $57,512 per year; Janet Greenway, registrar at $56,000 per year.
  • Transfer: Laretta McPeek, first grade at $34,750 per year, effective 2014-15 school year.
  • New hire (classified): Jeanette Uher, middle school paraeducator at $14 per hour, effective 2014-15 school year; Mary Pranger, L.B. Williams paraeducator at $13 per hour, effective 2014-15 school year; Mitchell Witham, L.B. Williams paraeducator at $10.30 per hour, effective 2014-15 school year.
  • New hire (extracurricular): Walt Moody, assistant varsity football (transfer) at $3,728, effective 2014-15 school year; Eric Witte, assistant 10th grade football at $2,459, effective 2014-15 school year; Brett Flemmer, head ninth grade football (transfer) at $2,551, effective 2014-15 school year; Jeremy Borgan, assistant eighth grade (transfer) at $1,768, effective 2014-15 school year; Jason Wear, head girls soccer coach at $4,773, effective 2014-15 school year; Eric Fjerestad, assistant boys soccer coach at $1,273, effective 2014-15 school year; Leonard Cousins, assistant boys soccer coach at $1,273, effective 2014-15 school year.
  • Resignations: Barb Ewing, third grade teacher at G.B. Rogers, effective immediately.
  • New hires (MTI): Lee Alder, maintenance technician at $13.06 per hour, effective July 14.; Eugene Gaikowski, powerline instructor at $52,000 per year, effective Aug. 4; Susan Pritchard, educational coordinator at $48,000, effective Aug. 4.

Other business

The following items are on the board’s agenda:

  • Recognize Jamison Gross for his second-place finish at The Healers Trilogy Teen Reading Contest national competition and Justin Zajics for the Dakota Wesleyan University Exemplary Teacher Award.
  • Approval of 2013-14 claims.
  • Consider the construction bids for renovating the MCTEA building with Governor’s CTE grant funding.
  • Hold a public hearing regarding the 2014-15 budgets for the Mitchell School District and Mitchell Technical Institute budgets.
  • Consider a resolution to approve the district and MTI budgets.
  • Adjourn the first half of the meeting, call the meeting to order and administer oath of office to new board member Aadland.
  • Reorganize board to elect president, vice president and consider appointing Steven Culhane as board clerk and administer oath of office.
  • Consider approval of Roberts Rules of Order with the modification to permit the president to participate in discussion and vote.
  • As part of the consent agenda and as the first meeting of the new fiscal year, the board will consider approving: Continued use of the current signature plate until new president’s plate arrives, if necessary; consider reapproval of signature plate for all board checks; consider readopting the Imprest Fund for the 2014-15 school year, consider participation in the National School Lunch Program and the Congregate Elderly Feeding Program, as previously established and to abide by such regulations; consider approval of surety bonds of the business manager and all other personnel; consider membership in the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce; consider designating The Daily Republic as the official publisher for the district during the 2014-15 fiscal year; consider the firm of Churchill, Manolis, Freeman, Kludt, Shelton & Burns, of Huron, as the legal counsel for the Mitchell School District for the 2014-15 fiscal year; consider approval of designating Business Manager Culhane, Superintendent Joseph Graves, MTI President/CEO Greg Von Wald and Stephanie Kaul, MTI vice president of administrative services as fiscal agents for federal programs; consider approval to designate Culhane as the fiscal agent for all financial accounts in accordance with SDCL 13-8-11; consider approval to designate Culhane to invest and reinvest money on behalf of the district; consider approval to designate building principals and vice president for academic affairs, Section 504 coordinator; consider approval of Geoff Gross and Brittney Eide as Title IX coordinators; consider approval of Graves as designated Title I officer; consider approval of Culhane and Graves to access the district’s safety deposit box and to sign passbook savings withdrawal slips for the district; consider approval of Civil Rights Compliance Statements; consider to approve readoption of all existing policies contained in the official board policy manual; board consideration to approve the re-recognition of Mitchell Education Association, Mitchell Classified Education Association and the Mitchell Area Technical Educators as official representatives of their employee groups; consider approval to authorize the superintendent or designee to close any or all schools in the event of emergencies affecting the continued safe operations of the schools.
  • Consider approval of the Earned Interest Allocation Resolution.
  • Consider approval of the elementary school handbook for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Consider approval of a resolution to designate First National Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, CorTrust Bank, Home Federal Bank, First Dakota National Bank, South Dakota Public Funds Investment Trust, Fulton State Bank and Bank West all official depositories.
  • Consider a list of surplus district property to be sold on a July 31 auction.
  • Consider approval of lunch prices and activity fees for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Consider membership in the Associated School Boards of South Dakota with annual dues of $2,572.86.
  • Consider leasing the Child Development Center building to South Central Child Development, Inc. at a cost of $17,000 per year.
  • Consider approval of site and shop house material bids and a separate construction tools bid.
  • Board member reports, commentary, superintendent’s report and public commentary.