Track will be repaired this summer
The Mobridge-Pollock School Board Monday, Dec. 9, approved moving forward with repairs to the Tiger Stadium track and reviewed Gov. Denis Daugaard’s proposed budget and the common core standards the district is currently implementing.
Mobridge-Pollock Athletic Director Joe Lenz told the board that the proposed repairs to the track are “mid-life maintenance” and are recommended by the installer.
“Realistically, with these repairs, we can expect the track to last another seven or eight years,” he said. “If it is not done, it will cut the life of the track or increase the repair cost by $10,000 to $20,000.”
He said the life of a track such as the district’s track is about 20 years, depending on the bed underneath.
There has been a cracking problem with the track at Tiger Stadium for years. Mobridge-Pollock Head Custodian Matt Reichert has been patching the cracks yearly to keep it in usable condition. More of the cracks have appeared this year and those that have been repaired are cracking again.
Lenz said the estimated cost of the repair and resurfacing of the track would be $41,950. He said the district could be one of the first tracks in the area to be repaired in June or July, once the decision is made to move forward with the project.
“I don’t think that we have much of a choice,” said board president Harry “Bingo” Kindt. “If we want to have a track here, we have to get this done.”
Lenz said there are several areas in the track that are in particularly bad shape, one near the scoreboard and one in the northeastern section.
“I want to know where there are these ‘canyons’ in the track, they will cut that part of the track out and repair it underneath as well,” said Superintendent Tim Frederick.
Kindt asked Lenz to inquire about a protective matt that could be installed underneath the repairs to make them last longer.
“We need to either stay with this or get away from having track here,” he said. “I believe that we have made this commitment and need to stay with it.”
He said once these repairs were made, the board would need to start setting aside funds each year for the eventual replacement of the full track down the road.
Lenz told the board that he has been told that adding two lanes to the track (in order for the district to host larger meets) would only cause more cracking problems. He said the added lanes would crack along the seams of those lanes.
The board approved the repair project and Lenz will make the arrangements.
In Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposed budget for 2014, there will be a 3 percent raise in the state aid to education. That means the district is expecting a $139 per student increase. This would increase per student aid to $4,764, an increase of about $90,000 to the general fund.
Frederick reminded board members while this was good news, this is the last year of funding for the SIG Grant and the district will lose the more than $200,000 in salaries provided by this grant.
“Even with this increase, we will be about $110,000 short to keep the position added under the SIG Grant,” he said. “There is a chance at some one-time funding, but that does not come with a commitment to education.”
Frederick addressed the common core standards, from where these standards came and the steps the district has taken to keep ahead of the implementation of this curriculum.
“This is not a federal mandate,” he reiterated. “The governors of the country approved this.”
He said there are still aspects and waivers that are being discussed. One of those aspects was an evaluation of school climates, which is a very broad description that can have differing meanings. The district has been involved in a pilot program has laid the groundwork and put the district ahead of many other districts in the state.
According to the South Dakota Department of Education, the common core has a shared set of clear educational standards in English language arts and mathematics for kindergarten through grade 12. One of the basic goals of the CCS curriculum is to push students to think more critically. Another is to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills the state’s young people need for success in college and careers.
Board member Jane Looyenga said she had heard complaints came from parents whose children had been “A” students and are now getting below average grades.
Lenz, who is involved in the administrator evaluations, said the common core tests are extremely daunting.
“The manner in which we teach needs to change in order for our students to reach the benchmarks,” he said. “We do need to push harder and try to get more from our kids.”
Deb Kraft, who teaches family and consumer sciences in the district, said the reading tests require that students process and not memorize. She said the skills taught in the common core need to meet the needs of employers.
One of the goals of Common Core is that all U.S. students are fully prepared for the future and communities positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
– Katie Zerr –