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Christiansen appointed to Mitchell Board of Education

With an applicant pool of three, the Mitchell Board of Education selected its new member Monday night. The board appointed Matthew Christiansen to fill the vacant school board member seat for one year. The seat was vacated when Cory Aadland resig...

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With an applicant pool of three, the Mitchell Board of Education selected its new member Monday night.

The board appointed Matthew Christiansen to fill the vacant school board member seat for one year. The seat was vacated when Cory Aadland resigned from the board earlier this month to become the school district's activities director. Christiansen will finish the remainder of Aadland's term, which ends in July 2017.

During the regular scheduled meeting on Monday at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy, the board interviewed three applicants for the open position before choosing Christiansen.

Christiansen, a clinical psychologist with the Avera Medical Group in Mitchell, said he applied for the open position because of his interest in the helping the Mitchell School District, including students, teachers and parents.

"My initial goals will be getting oriented and working toward other existing goals," Christiansen said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve and work with the existing board members."

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Each of the three candidates who applied for the position was interviewed for 15 minutes in an executive session, or closed-door meeting, held by the board. Following the three interviews, the board appointed Christiansen to the position. The other two members who applied were Nathan DeGeest and Renae Gades.

Deb Olson, president of the Mitchell Board of Education, said Christiansen's responses to questions is what set him apart from the other two candidates, adding that he showed a "good deal of research and thought" in his responses.

"I think his experience in working with students and the community in general make him a really qualified candidate," Olson said.

Christiansen and his family moved to Mitchell in 2002 and he has three children in the district.

Olson said the board was fortunate enough to have several qualified applicants, including Christiansen.

"We had three good candidates, which is something we can be happy about," Olson said.

Christiansen will begin his role as a school board member during the organizational meeting, which is scheduled for July 19.

Personnel

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As part of a consent agenda that includes board minutes, claims and open enrollment, the board approved the following personnel items:

• New hire: Lisa Bahe, head eighth-grade boys basketball coach, compensation of $2,778, effective Aug. 23.

• MTI new hires: Seth Weeman, ag tech instructor, compensation of $42,000, effective Aug. 1; Amy Gough, instructional technician, compensation of $32,000, effective July 5.

• 2016 Summer Internship Instructors: Mike Benjamin, internship instructor, compensation of $4,200, effective May 16; Lynne Smith, internship instructor, compensation of $4,000, effective May 16; Laura Miller, internship instructor, compensation of $525, effective May 16; Josh Kranz, internship instructor, compensation of $525, effective May 16; Jim Mahoney, internship instructor, compensation of $3,675, effective May 16; Jen Schumacher, internship instructor, compensation of $1,837, effective May 16; Jen Schultz, internship instructor, compensation of $262, effective May 16; Jason Juhnke, internship instructor, compensation of $1,837.50, effective May 16; Devon Russell, internship instructor, compensation of $3,412.50, effective May 16; Chris Degen, internship instructor, compensation of $3,150, effective May 16; Greg Thibodeau, internship instructor, compensation of $5,775, effective May 16.

Other business:

In other business, the board:

• Recognized Raina Grimsley as the 70th Girls State governor and for participating in the National Forensic League National Tournament. When asked what her "secret to being elected" to the governor position, Grimsley said it's all about talking to people and making connections. "No matter how good you are on stage, if you don't actually talk to people and make individual connections, it's hard to get real support."

• Declared surplus property from Mitchell Technical Institute. The supplies and equipment includes DVD players, laptops, generators, monitors, file cabinets, etc. A full list of items will be published on the district website for sealed bids, running approximately three weeks in July. Jared Hofer, dean of fiscal operations at MTI, spoke to the board on the list of items, stating there were "not a lot of big ticket items," but it was still an opportunity to go through shops and libraries to clean out.

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• Set meal prices for the 2016-17 school year, which will remain unchanged from the previous year. Leann Carmody, the food service director, recommended the food service prices do not change for the upcoming school year. Board members thanked Carmody for her work on the project and efforts to keep prices the same. Members requested Carmody create a report in December, updating the board on student participation and other lunch service updates that may take place. Lunch prices are as follows: for students at a reduced price, breakfast will be 30 cents and lunch at 40 cents; for students at regular price in the elementary, breakfast will be $1.85 and lunch $2.80; for students at regular price in the middle school and high school, breakfast will be $2 and lunch $3; for adults, breakfast will be $2.30 and lunch will be $3.90.

• Approved the MTI Board Policies 400-600. Each summer, the Board reviews and revises three sections of board policies such that the entire MTI board book is reviewed every four years.

• Approved the K-12 Board Policies 400-600. Each summer, the Board reviews and revises three sections of board policies such that the entire K-12 board book is reviewed every four years.

•Entered executive session to interview three applicants for the school board position vacated by Cory Aadland. Each interview lasted approximately 15 minutes.

• Reviewed the MTI Budget for the 2016-17 school year. Business Manager Steve Culhane, along with Hofer with MTI, reviewed the latest proposed numbers for the MTI budgets. It is not the final numbers. For fiscal year 2017, the budget sits at $13,649,919, including salaries, benefits, supplies, capital outlay and other projects. This is a 18 percent decrease from the previous year, Hofer said.

• Heard the superintendent's report from Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves. Graves said summer maintenance is on schedule. However, the replacement of a parking lot north of the high school is "a little delayed," but Graves said he has been assured it will be on time before the school year begins in August.

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