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'Major leak' found in Mitchell Middle School water system

One piece of infrastructure at the Mitchell Middle School is in hot water. To avoid a "complete collapse" of the hot water system at the Mitchell Middle School, the Mitchell Board of Education will be considering declaring a state of emergency to...

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One piece of infrastructure at the Mitchell Middle School is in hot water.

To avoid a "complete collapse" of the hot water system at the Mitchell Middle School, the Mitchell Board of Education will be considering declaring a state of emergency to make repairs.

The domestic hot water system at the Mitchell Middle School has "sprung a fairly major leak," according to the school board book and could suffer a complete collapse at any time. This could potentially result in a loss of hot water and a flooded boiler room.

Today, the board will be considering declaring an emergency, in accordance with South Dakota Codified Law 5-18A-9, and approve a successful quote on the repairs during its regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting will be held 5 p.m. at the library in the Mitchell High School.

The normal process for making repairs to school facilities, which will likely exceed the statutory figure of $25,000, is to issue advertised specifications, wait a certain length of time for the submission of bids and then approve the lowest bid which meets all specifications, according to the board book.

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The law, however, allows for certain emergency situations to be addressed outside of this process.

Still, three different companies have been contacted in pursuit of quotes to remedy the situation at the Mitchell Middle School. The quotes will be presented to the board Monday to be approved.

Personnel

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

• New hires (classified): Linnea Cooper, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, compensation of $12 per hour for seven hours each day, effective Dec. 22, 2016; Katie Buschbach, paraeducator at MHS, compensation of $14 per day for seven hours each day, effective Dec. 14, 2016.

• Mitchell Technical Institute new hires: Greg Von Wald, South Dakota Leadership Academy (SDLA) adjunct instructor, compensation of $50 per hour for 120 hours for total of $6,000, effective spring 2017; Joseph Thornell, SDLA adjunct instructor, compensation of $50 per hour for 120 hours for total of $6,000, effective spring 2017; Jason Jennings, power sports adjunct instructor, compensation of $50 per hour for 96 hours for total of $4,800, effective spring 2017.

Other business

In other regular business, the board will consider:

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• Approving the K-14 audit report for 2015-16 fiscal year following presentation by Jay Tolsma, of ELO. Within the presentation, Tolsma will speak on the financial condition of the district.

• Approving a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Associated School Boards of South Dakota Protective Trust, South Dakota School District Benefits Fund, to continue participation in the health insurance program and provide for the retirement of fund deficit. The trust is in a deficit situation and the governing board of the trust has created a plan for retirement of the deficit. Through this MOU, the Mitchell School District would pay off its portion of the debt, $1,375,360, over the next four years through premium increases in addition to those necessary to meet the normal expense increases in the health insurance program.

• Revising Mitchell Technical Institute's board policies 747, 1035 and 1037 on second reading. The policies related to the school's drug and alcohol policies, in which MTI began looking at in October. The policies were first brought to the Mitchell Board of Education in November. Policy No. 1037 is proposed to be eliminated altogether, since it is similar to policy No. 1035, which will now be the drug and alcohol policy for all students. Policy No. 747 is identical to policy No. 1037, the board book states, except the language pertaining to employees. MTI would like to remove the language tying the policy to the S.D. Department of Transportation and the references to students.

• Entering into executive session for the annual evaluation of the superintendent of schools. The purpose is "discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer of employee."

• Offering a new three-year contract to Joe Graves, as the Mitchell School District's superintendent. It has been the Mitchell Board of Education's tradition to make a decision on the superintendent's contract extension following the evaluation conference. The board book states this is typically done without consideration of compensation, a decision made later when administration compensation is determined in the spring.

• Hearing a superintendent's report, board members' report and public commentary.

• Touring Mitchell High School.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
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