Mitchell Board of Education to consider mask survey

Mitchell Tech fitness center bids also to be reviewed


The Mitchell Board of Education will consider conducting a survey of district parents to determine their position on the schoolwide mandate that requires everyone on district property to wear a face mask.

The meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m., will take place at the Mitchell Corn Palace.

Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District, said that the item is on the agenda due to parental requests he had received on the subject.

“I received several requests from parents to add an agenda item to the Nov. 9 board meeting on surveying parents on their view of the current mask mandate,” Graves wrote in his agenda notes. “I discussed those with board president Olson and, after consulting individually with other board members, we decided to include the item on today’s agenda.”

In addition to discussion and possible board action on the survey, the Nov. 9 meeting will see the public commentary portion of the meeting moved up as the first item immediately following approval of the consent agenda. Discussion and any action on the survey agenda item will follow immediately after.


The Mitchell Board of Education has heard criticism of the mask mandate from district patrons during the public commentary portion of several recent meetings, including last month, when several spoke at length about the requirement. Many also asked for a survey to be conducted to gauge the opinion of parents throughout the district.

The district implemented the mask mandate at the start of the school year in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

This will be the second meeting in a row that will be hosted at the Corn Palace. The agenda for the meeting states that wearing masks at this meeting is strongly recommended though not required. Social distancing is also recommended.

Mitchell Tech fitness center

The board is also expected to approve a successful bid for the Mitchell Technical College fitness center project.

The technical school recently requested bids for the creation of a fitness center within the Muth Electric Technology Center. The fitness center would be adjacent to the recently renovated student lounge.

The school received two bids for the project, which were opened Oct. 29. The two bids were:

  • BKM Construction, Sioux Falls: $269,000

  • C. Eagle Construction, Woonsocket: $281,000

Graves noted in the agenda that with both bids meeting specifications and reviewing references, he is recommending the board approve the low bid from BKM Construction.
If approved, construction is expected to begin in mid-December once classes are complete for the fall semester. Completion is estimated in March of 2021.



The board approved the following personnel moves at the Nov. 9 meeting:

  • The new classified hires of Kari White, general food service at Mitchell High School, $13, effective Oct. 26 and Christie Perry, Mitchell Middle School special education paraeducator, $14, effective Oct. 22.

  • The transfer of Christian Licea, kitchen at L.B. Williams Elementary to maintenance/custodial at L.B. Williams Elementary, $13.10, effective Oct. 26.

  • The resignation of Jormarie Reyes, custodian at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective Oct. 27 and Diana Reiner, administrative assistant at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective Nov. 23.

  • The new Mitchell Technical College hire of Elijah Deneui, substation student worker - less than 20 hours per week, $10.25, effective Sept. 14.

Other business

Also at the Monday meeting, the board is expected to:

  • Declare various items surplus, including Fruhaus band uniforms (jackets and bibber pants), plumes and Shako-style hats. All items were purchased in 2007 and would be sold by sealed bid or removed from district inventories by other legal means if no bids are received.

  • Hear superintendent and board member reports.

  • Consider officially adding the yearly Title 1 comparability report to official board policy. The report, filed every year, ensures comparability of programming among Title I schools and between Title I and non-Title I schools of the same grade span to ensure they are not supplanting Title I dollars. Graves said the process has been completed for at least the last 25 years at the Mitchell School District, but the requested action would make filing the report part of official board policy.

The meeting is open to the public.

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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