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Five-year bus bid accepted by district

The Mitchell School Board unanimously accepted the low bid of the Dietrich Bus Service at its Monday meeting, giving the Mitchell company a new five-year contract with the district.

The Mitchell School Board unanimously accepted the low bid of the Dietrich Bus Service at its Monday meeting, giving the Mitchell company a new five-year contract with the district.

Bids submitted by last Monday's deadline were from Foreman Sales, Miller; the Nebraska School Bus Co., Wayne, Neb.; and Dietrich.

Business Manager Steve Culhane said a school year that includes 164 days, eight routes and 650 miles a day would cost an estimated $221,563 under Dietrich, $273,702 with Foreman and at least $334,882 with the Nebraska company.

Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves said the district has been very pleased with service provided by Dietrich during the past five years. He said that maintaining the current agreement would be a better deal than the district eliminating buses, running its own buses or paying mileage to parents.

"But we are in a serious competition for open enrollment students," said Graves, "and ending busing would certainly put us in a less competitive position for open enrollment students."

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Taking that chance of losing students was not worth the risk, said Graves.

It was estimated that the district enrollment will drop slightly in the coming school year from 2006-2007's figure of 2,516 students to about 2,500 students. The enrollment count for state aid will be taken, under new state guidelines, on the third Friday of September.

On Tuesday the board also:

n Applauded the accomplishments of Mitchell High School FFA students and their sponsor, Tom Fergen.

n Accepted copies of the Longfellow Elementary 100th Anniversary yearbook from Longfellow PTA President Patti Brewster and Vice President Jodel Dierks.

n Approved the 2007-2008 Mitchell Area Technical Educators agreement. Board member Dana Price called the negotiations "very amicable," which increased the previous year's salaries by 3.5 percent, maintained employee benefits, and offered extra to department heads.

n Took an initial look at the $6.906 million 2007-2008 MTI budget.

n Approved a proposal to declare two student-built MTI houses as surplus property. One home is a shop-built house that must be transported to the new owner's lot and foundation. Students also custom-built a 1,700 square-foot home, on-site at 3016 Maui Drive. Both homes will be sold at public auction at 7 p.m. June 4 at the MTI west parking lot. Ten percent down is required at the time of the sale with the balance due in 30 days. The shop-built home must be removed from the MTI west parking lot by Aug. 1 or a $100-a-day charge will be assessed.

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n Approved, at Graves' recommendation, across-the-board administrative salary increases of $2,375 for the 2007-2008 school year. That increase is reflected in the following salaries: Brad Berens, $68,075; Steve Culhane, $74,391; Greg Girard, $56,661; Craig Mock, $64,631; Yvonne Palli, $75,375; Sean Moen, $44,675; Scott VanDerMillen, $65,446; and Mary Wilson, $68,676.

n Approved, following a brief executive session, a $6,000 increase to the present salary of $99,500 for Graves, bringing that total to $105,500. Graves called the board's action "very generous."

n Tabled any action on declaring old high school band uniforms as surplus.

n Got a preliminary look at projected general fund, special education and food service budgets for the 2007-2008 school year. Culhane said the $13,854,710 budget, up from the 2006-2007 estimated budget of $13,616,810, does not reflect the use of any opt-out money. Teachers, in the final year of a three-year contract, will get a raise of about $1,350 each. Culhane said health insurance costs rose about 6 percent, placing the cost of premiums for a single teacher at $432 a month. The projected food service budget is $1.14 million and the special education budget $2.788 million.

n Approved changes to the middle school handbook for the coming school year.

n Approved the following 2007-2008 salaries for the following MTI administration: Chris Paustian, $98,325; Vicki Wiese, $76,505; Theresa Kriese, $62,100; Dan Muck, $67,275; Julie Brookbank, $48,478; Clayton Deuter, $37,300; Tim Edwards, $46,267; Scott Fossum, $52, 181; Doug Greenway, $51,940; Janet Greenway (89 percent), $40,373; Carol Grode, $44,550; Julie Hart-Schutte (10 months), $37,802; John Heemstra, $52,696; Amanda Patzer, $29,800; Grant Uecker, $61,218; Brent Bollinger, $35,594; Jody Brower, $24,519; Tim Goehring, $36,039; Terry Hanson, $53,303; Mark Moore, $31,823; John Sieverding, $45,953; Heather Lentz, $30,000; Jill Reinesch, $22,048; Jody Zastrow, $21,736; Laurie Kenworthy, $21,321.

Child Development Center: Mary Pranger, $10,500; Amber Bartscher, $11,294; Sonora Opp, $10, 918; Michelle Moller, $12, 286; Carolyn Sweet, $14,685; Sandy Walker, $24,561.

The salaries reflect an increase of 3.5 percent of the 2006-2007 employee salary of vice presidents, directors and management or $1,800, whichever is greater. There was also a 3.5 percent increase for technicians and specialists and a 45-cents-per-hour increase for hourly employees.

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n Approved the following personnel items:

Transfers: Janelle Hearnen, from fourth grade at Longfellow Elementary to sixth-grade language arts/social studies; Kendra Widstrom, eighth grade, full-time math to .33 full-time equivalent, middle school; Amanda Chada, third grade and special education at L.B. Williams Elementary to fourth grade at LBW; Stacey Hofer, from kindergarten to first grade at Longfellow -- all effective for the 2007-2008 school year.

Resignations: Linda Bellstein, tutoring coordinator, Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary; Susan Richards, half-time elementary instrumental music; Bonnie Stewart, special education, Mitchell High School; Lena Winter, food service manager, Longfellow -- all at the end of the 2006-2007 school year; and Lisa Peterson, medical assistant and medical lab assistant, Mitchell Technical Institute, effective May 15.

Reduction in force: Tammy Hanson, traffic coordinator, MTI, effective June 30, 2007.

New hires: Brigitte Casavan, MHS physical education, $32,350, also as assistant cross country coach, ($1,623), assistant eighth-grade girls' basketball coach ($1,599), assistant varsity track coach, ($2,294), total compensation $37,866; Vicki Harmdierks, principal, GBR, $60,000; Jeremiah Kirchmeyer, computer technician, MHS, $27,500; Karmin McGinnis, early childhood, $33,325; Rebecca Roth, principal, LBW Elementary, $60,000; Shelly Sandhoff, special education, GBR, $33,325; Stacy Thomsen, speech/language therapist, $37,007 ; Kelly Brown, MS language arts, $28,100; Bobby Reindl, fourth grade, Longfellow, $28,100-- all effective for the 2007-2008 school year; Marilyn Forst, part-time director of curriculum, $31,838, effective July 1.

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