Faculty rep vote narrowly passes

By Leslie Silverman


In a 3-2 vote at its most recent meeting on Monday, March 11, the Hill City School District Board of Education voted to approve a faculty representative to sit on the superintendent search interview team.

“Just because we have an administrator within our district in there and depending on how things go one way or another that can lead to hard feelings, or not hard feelings and more of a difficult work environment,” said board member Greg Schroeder, who led the opposition for the faculty representative. “If we didn’t have somebody from our own district I would be all for this proposal.”

Board member Carmen Ronish took the opposite stance.

“I think it would be a really good step forward in communication and trust to have a faculty member sit on the interview team,” she said.

Dennis Krull supported Ronish’s position, and the tie-breaking vote was cast by board president Owen Wiederhold.

Fifteen people have applied for the superintendent position.

The original petition was for both a faculty member and a student representative to sit in on the interviews but was amended to consider only the faculty member representative.

The board unanimously approved the request of Hill City Middle School and Hill City High School principal Todd Satter for a waiver for eighth grade health. This would allow eighth grade students to take health for high school credit.

Similar waivers are in place for algebra I and physical science classes.

“Right now I have a shortage of electives for eighth graders,” he said. “I have some kids in two study halls. They would earn a half high school credit in health, which would be huge. Also when they get up here and they want to be in band and they want to be in all these classes they’ve taken that one required course.”

The board approved the teacher contracts for the 2019-20 school year.

The expenditure of $6,128.58 for an HVAC pump at the high school was approved by the board.

The resignation of fifth through 12th grade band instructor Nicholas Ries, effective at the end of the 2019 school year was approved.

The 2019-20 school calendar, which will be voted on at the next board meeting, was discussed.

“We do appreciate the surveys coming back. Seventy-two parent guardian and 41 faculty (responded). They close April 2,” said Mike Hanson, superintendent.

Students appear in favor of starting classes earlier and having more time off during the school year.

They will be in dual credit classes on the nineteenth and twentieth, regardless of what you decide. They will be on campus and in class,” Satter said.

The early start date is in line with what other districts are doing.

“Most other schools around here are doing that nineteenth or twentieth date, “ Ronish stated.

The calendar options include 171 student contact days with teachers working a total of 175 days on all the calendar options.

Krull, district representative to Associated School Boards of South Dakota’s Legislative Action Network, discussed the recent failure of House Bill 1139.

“If they keep cutting our funding and there’s no way to get that back we’re going to have to start making cuts,” he said.

Krull is optimistic the needs of Hill City School District are being addressed by those in office.

“One of the things we do have coming up…is Ben Jones, who is secretary of education for the state, the interim director, and he wants to come to Hill City and talk to us,” Krull said.

The board will be allowing the city to use the parking lots during the summer. This will be an action item at the next board meeting.

The petition for the two open board seats are due by March 26.

The next meeting of the school board will take place on April 8 at 6 p.m. in room 202 of the high school.