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School Board approves resolution that could save $154K for district

The Mitchell Board of Education passed a resolution Monday that could save the district approximately $154,000. During its regularly scheduled school board meeting at Mitchell Technical Institute's Student Center, the board approved a resolution ...

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The Mitchell Board of Education passed a resolution Monday that could save the district approximately $154,000.

During its regularly scheduled school board meeting at Mitchell Technical Institute's Student Center, the board approved a resolution authorizing the execution, terms, issuance, sale and payment of limited tax capital outlay refunding certificates in the amount of $4.4 million for the Longfellow Elementary School bond certificates.

The refinancing would be done through Dougherty & Company, of Sioux Falls, which presented its research to the board Monday night. A company official said that with interests and savings rates based on where the market is today, Mitchell School District could save a little more than $154,000.

"All of the numbers kind of build to these savings," said Thomas Grimmond, of Dougherty & Company, referring to various interest rates and market trends that would play a factor into the savings.

The resolution is functionally the same to the resolution approved by the school board in its November meeting, but was required to be updated. The original resolution stated the bonding would occur in 2016, but now it will probably occur in 2017, should the board moved forward with the refinancing.

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Now that the resolution is passed, Grimmond will continue to work on the refinancing and bring back more paperwork to the board before final action. There will be a small window early next year, when the board will make a decision about moving forward with the refinancing.

The second resolution passed by the board will allow the approval of the state Health and Education Facilities Authority in the state Aid Pledge Agreement.

More than one year ago, a system was created by Lt. Gov. Matt Michels in which bonds could be issued by school districts through the state Health and Education Facilities Authority, rather than through school districts' individual authority. This allows schools to receive a better bond rating and receive lower interest rates.

"This is done by many states in the country where state aid is provided and what you do there," Grimmond said. "You pledge the state aid and basically you receive the credit from the state.

The state's credit is a AA+, which is a nice step up."

The pledge is a form of collateral, which will never be enacted, the resolution states, because Mitchell School District will pay its debt obligations. This is only done because the state is protecting itself, by requiring the school districts to legally pledge future state aid dollars to the state in the event they were to default, or as an example, not pay back the debts owed.

Personnel

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

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• New Hires (classified): Sami Hofer, general food service worker at the Mitchell Middle School, compensation of $11 per hour for 5.5 hours per day, effective Dec. 5; Justice Brim, general food service worker at L.B. Williams, at $11 per hour for four hours per day, effective Dec. 13; Hope Kayl, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, compensation of $11 per hour for seven hours per day, effective Dec. 20.

• New Hire (Extracurricular): Jade Miller, head eighth-grade boys basketball coach, compensation of $1,999, effective Dec. 1; Darci Winthers, seventh-grade girls assistant basketball coach, compensation of $1,748, effective Dec. 1; Chase Jamison, Middle School Drumline Adviser, compensation of $1,100, effective Dec. 1; Cassey VerHey, winter sideline cheer coach, compensation of $2,246, effective Dec. 1; Ryan Stahle, Middle School Jazz Band adviser, compensation of $1,421, effective Dec. 1; Sam Geiman, eighth-grade girls basketball assistant coach, compensation of $1,748, effective Dec. 1.

• Volunteer Coach (New Hire): Jeremiah Harmon, wrestling assistant coach, compensation of $1, effective Dec. 1.

• Transfers: Kristina Allen, paraeducator at the Mitchell High School to paraeducator at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School, effective Dec. 1; Emily Gass Rames, paraeducator at the Mitchell Middle School to paraeducator at L.B. Williams Elementary School, effective Dec. 15.

• Resignations: April Rickel, paraeducator at L.B. Williams, effective Dec. 16; Deborah Vendt, L.B. Williams kitchen staff, effective December; Candy Torres, food service at Mitchell Middle School, effective Nov. 11; Stephanie Killion, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, effective Dec. 9; Jesse Harder, custodian at senior high, effective Dec. 2; Sharon Johnson, AP art at the senior high, effective Dec. 22.

• MTI Personnel Changes: Julie Brookbank, MTI marketing director to associate to the Present/CCO Chief Communications Officer, compensation includes an additional $2,536 to $68,000; Bob Kobernusz, interactive services director to MTI marketing director, compensation includes an additional $4,891 to $64,000.

Other business

In other regular business, the board:

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• Heard information on new and expanded curriculars and programs at Mitchell Technical Institute, including the Center of Student Success. Director of Student Services Scott Fossum provided an overview of the goals and activities of the center. Dean of Academics Carol Grode-Hanks updated the board on the various curriculum and programs at MTI. There are four different programs that have been approved and are moving forward, four programs that have been revamped, two upcoming programs to start fall 2017 and three programs that are currently in draft stage.

• Heard an update on the Lions Academy held at Longfellow Elementary School this past summer. The board was provided with statistics and data collected from STAR Reading Tests. Based on the results, Superintendent Joe Graves said further evaluation of the program and whether the district will move forward next year will be discussed at the board's next meeting.

• Heard a report on the food service participation rates and financial status. The participation in breakfast and lunch programs from August to November at the elementary schools, middle school and high school all increased, which was the first goal for the district. The average number of breakfasts served per day is 401, while the average number of lunches served per day is 1,721. The second goal was to fully comply with all federal regulations, which according to Graves, the district is. The third goal is to upgrade cafeteria facilities, which includes implementing plans at the Middle School and Longfellow Elementary School. As far as the financial status, it was reported that through a combination of efficiencies, such as competitive bidding and elimination expensive items, and higher participation rates, the fiscal decline of the food service program has been reversed this year. In 2015-16, the fund balance declined from July 1, 2015 to Nov. 30, 2015 by $50,534.76. But in the current year, the fund balance has grown by $93,478.02 from July 1 to Nov. 30, 2016.

• Heard board members' report.

• Heard public commentary.

• Toured the Center of Student Success at MTI.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
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