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Mitchell school gun report was child with BB gun

Superintendent of Schools Joe Graves was quick to praise the response of the Mitchell Police Division to reports of someone with a gun on property adjacent to Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School on Monday afternoon in Mitchell.

Superintendent of Schools Joe Graves was quick to praise the response of the Mitchell Police Division to reports of someone with a gun on property adjacent to Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School on Monday afternoon in Mitchell.

"As it turned out there was no intent to harm anyone, but the response by Mitchell police was instantaneous," Graves said, noting that it was the second time police response was so immediate.

Last year, police responded to reports of someone with a gun who was involved in a parking-related dispute outside Longfellow Elementary School.

They determined that no one was being threatened with the weapon and ticketed those involved for disturbing the peace.

On Monday, the gun-toting stranger turned out to be a child with a BB gun, said Graves.

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The police quickly sorted out the situation and determined that there was no threat to the GBR students, he said.

Graves said that by the time the school administration was notified, police had settled the incident.

He reported on the matter Monday evening to the Board of Education, which met at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy.

Enrollment growth

In other matters, Graves reported that Mitchell's enrollment continues to grow.

The district will add "a couple of new class sections" next year, he said.

Mitchell's enrollment will top 2,600 next year, he predicted. The district's 2012 enrollment was 2,589 students.

Graves said the extra classes will be at the elementary level but he could not, at this time, estimate the size of the extra classes, or at what grade level the expansion will be.

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Valuation hearings

During the meeting's public commentary segment, board members heard from school board candidate Rod Hall, who referenced the district's involvement in upcoming Board of Equalization meetings.

Hall said tax assessments continue to rise, even on properties that are not selling quickly.

"I couldn't get $200,000 for a house that was assessed for $239,000," he said.

The board also:

Approved bids for furniture for the new Trades Center building at the Mitchell Technical Institute south campus. The furnishings, which were purchased off a state bid, will cost "a little over $100,000," according to MTI Chief Financial Officer Michael Hoffman, who did not have exact costs immediately available. The furnishings are for hallways and reception areas in the new building. MTI will seek bids on classroom furniture in the not-too-distant future, Hoffman said.

Approved an official request to the Davison County commissioners to allow county Auditor Susan Kiepke to conduct absentee voting for the June 4 school board election. The request was a formality since the commissioners, at their April 2 meeting, gave Kiepke permission to handle absentee voting.

Were told by Business Manager Steve Culhane that May 20 will be the first day absentee ballots will be available. The sole polling place for the June 4 election will be the cafeteria of the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy, 821 N. Capital St., Mitchell. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Approved the school district's membership in the South Dakota High School Activities Association at a rate of about $900 a year.

Appointed Dana Price as the school board representative to the local boards of equalization.

Approved changes to the 2013-2014 Mitchell High School handbook. The updates include replacing the name of retiring Principal Yvonne Palli with that of incoming principal Joe Childs, and updating graduation requirements for the class of 2014.

Noted that board member Brenda Freidel was absent due to illness.

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