The Mitchell Board of Education Monday approved its adult and student meal prices for the 2020-21 school year.

The board met by phone and video teleconference.

Under the price proposal for next school year, reduced student meals would remain at 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Regular student prices would also stay at $1.85 for breakfast and $2.80 for lunch for elementary students, and $2 and $3 for middle school and high school students.

Adult meals would increase from $2.30 to $2.50 for breakfast, and from $3.90 to $4 for lunch.

The board approved the meal pricing structure by unanimous vote.

Joe Graves, superintendent for the district, said that he was pleased with the way the food service program at the district has managed to maintain steady, affordable meal pricing for district patrons.

“This is a number of years in a row, and I’m very pleased with the program,” Graves said. “Basically we’re asking for no increase in the student breakfast or lunch prices for next year. We will need to increase the price of the adult meals because the adult meals have to cover all costs.”

Graves credited the ability to maintain meal prices due to increased efficiencies that have been built into the program over the years, as well as a steady increase in participation rates in the program.

Preliminary budgets

The board also got its first look at the preliminary proposed budgets for the 2020-21 school year.

Steve Culhane, business manager for the district, said the district is expecting a general fund budget of $19,339,354, which would be up slightly from the 2019-20 general fund budget of $19,318,494. The capital outlay fund would be set at $4,447,002, which is up from the previous year of $4,302,187.

“(The general fund would be) almost identical to our current school year,” said Culhane, who noted there were still several factors that would play into the budget the board will approve later this year.

The special education fund would also see a slight increase. The 2020-21 budget would come in at $4,885,761, up from $4,718,882 from the 2019-20 school year.

The Mitchell Technical Institute preliminary budget shows a decrease from $23,993,115 for the 2019-20 school year to $21,495,115 for the proposed 2020-21 budget.

Jared Hofer, chief financial officer for Mitchell Technical Institute, said the decrease is based on a possible enrollment reduction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest reason for that is because of the uncertainty we’re looking at,” Hofer said. “We are anticipating the possibility of a decline in enrollment. We’re not sure what that will be, there’s a lot of time between now and when school starts, but we’re trying to play it safe and conservative and dropping our revenue down.”

He said the proposed budget would become more clear as decisions on funding are made in the legislature in Pierre and as they receive more advice from the state technical school advisory board.

The board is expected to review another updated version of the proposed budgets at its next scheduled meeting.

Personnel

Also at the meeting, the board of education approved the following personnel moves:

  • The new certified hires of Megan Balz, fourth-grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary, $43,625; Michaela Steffen, Mitchell Middle School assistant track, $1,293; Bill Schieffen, Mitchell Middle School assistant track, $1,293; Christiana Siemsen, assistant track, $2,585; Mary Eliason, Mitchell Middle School assistant track, $1,409; Baker Haar, assistant wrestling, $4,067; Zack Clement, Mitchell Middle School assistant wrestling, $1,723. All hires are effective for the 2020-21 school year. Dara Milekovich, Gertie Belle Rogers kitchen manager, $15.25/hour, effective May 18, 2020.

  • The transfers of Danieka Novak, kindergarten teacher at Longfellow Elementary to 21st Century After School Program Co-Coordinator; Sami Hofer, food service worker at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary to kitchen manager at L.B. Williams Elementary. Transfers are effective for the 2020-21 school year.

  • The resignations of Bonnie Hoffman, nurse at Longfellow Elementary and Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year; Katie Erwin, para educator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary, effective end of the 2020-21 school year; Tiffany Cundy, food service, effective April 23, 2020; Heather Doer, MCL and 7th grade science teacher at Mitchell Middle School, effective end of the 2019-20 school year pending suitable replacement.

  • The Mitchell Technical Institute hires of Sara Ellis, adjunct, COMM 210, SPCM 101, $4,500; Julie Gross, adjunct ENGL 110, $2,250; Kerry Hagemeier, adjunct ACCT 221, $2,250; Anne Kelly, adjunct PSYC 101, $2,250; Julie Hart-Schutte, adjunct CHRD 104, $2,250; Scott Kortan, adjunct, MATH 104, $2,250; Annika Russell, adjunct, MOP 212, MOP 230, $4,500; and Shirlyce Weisser, adjunct, MOP 212, MOP 230, $4,500. All hires are effective May 18, 2020.

Other business

Also Monday, the board:

  • Approved the comprehensive special education plan for the district for the 2020-21 school year.

  • Marked the 2019 official election ballot for the South Dakota High School Activities Association. The board selected Kelly Glodt as an East River at-large representative, Dan Conrad as a District 1 representative, Marty Weismantel as the Small School Group Board of Education representative and voted yes on Amendment No. 1.

  • Approved the first reading of revised/new Mitchell Technical Institute board policies MTI 110, MTI 111, MTI 331 and MTI 712.

  • Reviewed Mitchell Technical Institute policy series 400-600 on first reading.

  • Hear reports from members of the board and the superintendent.

The next meeting of the Mitchell Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26 at 5 p.m. due to the Memorial Day holiday. Though some discussion did take place on whether or not to return to live in-person meetings of the board, the group was undecided and Graves and board president Deb Olson said they would consult further on the topic prior to the next meeting.