Mitchell Board of Education approves air unit purchase

Upgrade will help regulate temperature in kitchen

Mitchell School Board File.JPG
Mitchell Board of Education (Republic file photo)

After a school year of Mitchell Technical College offices being up to 30 degrees colder than other rooms around the campus, the Mitchell Board of Education Monday approved the purchase of an air-handling unit that is expected to remedy the problem.

The board approved the action by unanimous vote at the Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy during the latest regular meeting of the board.

Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District, said school officials determined the source of the problem was an air unit in the kitchen area. The district let out bids for the project, and received one bid from Johnson Controls in the amount of $133,175, which he recommended the board accept.

Jared Hofer, dean of financial services for Mitchell Technical College, said pandemic protocols revealed the problem to district officials when air circulation was increased during the school year to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

"We've always had some imbalance issues, but it was exacerbated because we were running the air units 24/7 to keep the air moving based on guidelines for the pandemic," Hofer said. "What that did was create hollow pockets of air that were not heated, so we had some offices that were 20 to 30 degrees cooler than other ones, and it all tied back to our kitchen and ventilation system. This appears that it will correct that."


Kevin Kenkel said he assumed the unit was out of warranty, but asked if there was some kind of design flaw that may have contributed to the issue.

Hofer said that that was unlikely.

"Unfortunately what they (installed) did meet specifications at the time, and air pressure in a building is not an exact science. But that was determined to be the issue and this was the suggested remedy," Hofer said.

Deb Olson, president of the Mitchell Board of Education, said it was good that there was at least an expected solution to the problem.

"Were thankful that there is a remedy," Olson said.

The board approved the motion by unanimous vote.

Automotive equipment

The board also approved a bid for automotive equipment funded through a Workforce Education grant.


Graves said that the district applied for the grant for the Mitchell Career & Technical Education Academy earlier this year. Included in that grant application were two pieces of equipment which were subsequently bid out. Those two pieces of equipment included a heavy-duty 4-post rack for $28,276.38 from D & Equipment Solutions, Inc., of Hinton, Iowa and a cutaway hybrid engine and drive, which would students to get an inside look at such equipment, for $36,680, from First Technologies, Inc. out of Brookfield, Wisconsin.

The cost will be paid from the district capital outlay match and grant funds.

Election canvass

The board reviewed and approved the canvass for the 2021 Mitchell Board of Education election, which was held June 8. Voters at the election chose candidates Shawn Ruml and Brittni Flood to represent them on the five-person board.

Ruml and Flood received the most votes for the at-large seats out of six candidates, meaning they will take over the two seats during the board of education's meeting in July. The two will take the seats occupied by Lacey Musick and Neil Putnam, both of whom decided not to seek re-election to the board in 2021.

They will join Kevin Kenkel, Deb Olson and Matt Christansen on the board.

Ruml took the most votes out of the six with 1,516, or 28.08% of votes cast. He was followed by Flood with 1,314 votes, or 24.34% of votes cast. Also receiving votes in the election were Chris Nebelsick, who received 800 votes for 14.82%, Reed Bender, who received 598 votes for 11.08%, Dwight Stadler, who took 520 votes for 9.63% and Debbie Emme, who brought in 192 votes for 3.56%.

Steve Culhane, business manager for the Mitchell School District, said the candidate field of six was the largest in a race for two seats on the board of education dating back to at least 1984.



The board approved the following personnel moves:

  • The new certified hire of Penny Weisz, K-8 elementary teacher at Rosedale Colony, $54,912, effective 2021-22 school year.

  • The new classified hires of Jose Ortiz, assistant boys soccer coach, $1,756 and Sean McQuilan, head boys soccer coach. Both hires effective the 2021-22 school year.

  • The new hire of Ryan Pryor, prevention specialist, $38,500, effective Aug. 4, 2021.

  • The transfers of Casey VerHey, Mitchell Middle School 21st Center Afterschool co-director; Krista Neugebauer, SPED paraeducator at Mitchell High School to para educator at Rosedale Colony and Linnea Cooper, paraprofessional at Mitchell High School to office assistant at L.B. Williams Elementary. All transfers effective 2021-22 school year.

  • The resignations of Beth Haar, 21st Century co-director at Mitchell High School; Julie Olson, science teacher at Mitchell High School; Jaime Neuendorf, 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Mitchell High School; Todd Neuendorf, 6th grade social studies and ELA teacher; Chayna Jones, paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary; Robert Snoozy, maintenance worker, effective June 17; Mary Elliason, library assistant at Mitchell High School and Wendy Kroupa, special education teacher at Mitchell Middle School. All resignations are effective with the end of the 2020-21 school year unless otherwise noted.

  • The new MTC hires of Kendra Goad, nursing support technician, $41,100, effective July 1, 2021; Jim Mahoney, summer internship, $2,000; Eric Schramm, summer internship, $1,750; Josh Kranz, summer internship, $2,750; Joe Brtna, summer internship, $1,750; Greg Kock, summer internship, $2,000; Jason Juhnke, summer internship, $2,500; Kelvin Albertz, summer internship, $1,750; Chris Degen, summer internship, $1,500; Mike Benjamin, summer internship, $2,500; Jed Schoenfelder, summer internship, $3,250 and Lynn Smith, summer internship, $2,250. All hires are effective May 17, 2021 unless otherwise noted.

Other business

Also at the meeting, the board::

  • Canvassed the June 8 school board election results.

  • Approved for bids for automotive equipment funded through the Workforce Education Grant program.

  • Reviewed the elementary handbook for the 2021-22 school year.

  • Declared surplus property.

  • Heard board member reports

  • Heard the superintendent report.

  • The next meeting of the board is scheduled for June 28.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
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