Board approves vehicle purchase

Leslie Silverman

The Hill City School Board unanimously voted to approve the purchase of a 2020 Suburban. The decision came at the most recent board meeting.

The base cost of the vehicle is $43,073 and will be purchased through the state procurement site, which offers vehicles at a large discount. It is unclear when one of the three remaining Chevrolet Suburbans will be removed from service.

“We talked in our admin meeting today. When we do get this one in we’ll kind of do an inventory and see how everything looks,” said Blake Gardner, superintendent of the Hill City School District. “We might not surplus right away.”

The district currently has a 2016 suburban with 86,727 miles and two older model Suburbans each with over 150,000 miles.

“We’ve kind of put a little bit of money into both of those,” Gardner said.

Recently, one of the older models broke down.

The base price for the new vehicle does not include extra features like the enhanced driver alert package, which many board members feel is indispensable to the safety of students and coaches.

“Those are very nice to have on vehicles,” said board member Carmen Ronish. “With what time you’re leaving in the morning, you’re coaching all day and then you’re driving back, these types of things are a helpful tool.”

The vehicle may take as long as 90 days to be delivered but could come at any time prior.

The board rejected an open enrollment case for the second semester. The enrollment was rejected because the open enrollment would be entering a grade level that is at capacity.

“You can deny for several reasons,” Gardner said. “Capacity being one. An IEP that would tax your resources is one. If the student had a suspension or expulsion outstanding that’s a reason for denial.”

High school principal Todd Satter applauded the dual credit program the district has with Western Dakota Tech. A total of 51 students are enrolled in 19 different classes. Each dual credit course costs a student $150, far less than the cost of an average college class.

“It saves our parents a fortune,” Satter said. “We tell parents and kids that when you take a dual credit class you essentially are getting a $1000 scholarship.”

Satter is very happy with the level of instruction of the classes.

“All of the dual credit teachers are adjunct professors,” he said.

Special education needs are decreasing in the high school while increasing in the elementary school. According to special education director Toni Brun all case managers are completing a brand new state internal review process.

“It’s required this year,” she said. “I think it has 170 different areas of compliance on it that we have to go over for each case manager. We pull one of their files and look for all 170 areas of compliance and I compile the data for where we weren’t compliant and if it’s consistent across all the managers then I know that’s an area that I have to train.”

The Race to Read challenge is underway at the elementary school. Students are challenged to read at least 643 books during the month of January, which is one more than they read last year. Students will receive a pizza party on Jan. 29 for the accomplishment.

Golden West has finished installing the elementary school’s intercom system. The school is in the beginning phase of its after school STEAM (science technology, engineering and math) academy. No dates have been set yet.

The number of students in homebound instruction at the high school level has not changed for the second semester, and one additional student has gone to distance learning. As of the meeting on Jan. 11, the district has had zero COVID-19 cases since returning from Christmas break.

Installation of touchless faucets and flushless toilets in the restrooms in the high school has begun.

The board approved the retirement of high school math teacher Ken Raga at the end of the school year. Raga has been with the district for 14 years.

The board approved June 8 for the school board election date. There will be three open seats on the school board.

The board discussed Policy J, which covers school board policies regarding grade placement and credits of students enrolling from unaccredited schools and alternative instruction. Discussion favored continuing with its policy not to accept credits from unaccredited institutions. Students enrolling in the district from schools that are not accredited will be “placed in classes based upon principal recommendation, standardized test, and student/parent input.” This is the first reading of the policy.

The next Hill City School Board meeting takes place Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

User login