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Board makes policy changes

The Mobridge-Pollock School Board prepared for the 2017-1018 school year, Monday, Aug. 14, reviewing changes to student handbooks and discussing policy changes.

Superintendent Tim Frederick and Middle School Principal Erin Dale presented information about the handbook and policy changes to the board.  Frederick said the principals have been working on these changes with the staff to update the handbook.

Those changes included creating an attendance policy that applies to district schools across the board, a new policy concerning students handing work in late, a consistent grade scale, updates to the homework and attendance policies.

He also explained the need to include State’s Attorney Jamie Hare and Fifth Circuit Court Judge Scott Myren in the district’s actions with truancy issues and steps that have been taken. He said it is important to keep them “in the loop” of truancy issues in order for them to act on certain cases.

He told the board the district must examine why students are missing school. He said the key to keeping students in school is keeping them engaged in learning.

There is also a revised policy concerning cell phone use. Frederick explained that students will no longer lose instructional time due to cell phone use violations. He said since phones are now being used as an instructional tool, teachers and administration would work to clarify the policy in the handbooks.

The handbooks will be available online unless requested by a parent. Frederick reassured the board that the staff would work with parents and ensure those who need to have a printed copy of the handbook would get one.

HVAC projects

Frederick shared information about the scope and the cost of the heating and cooling systems (HVAC) at Freeman Davis and the Middle School.

In the middle school, plans are to install two new air-handling units (AHU) in the gym that will be both heating and cooling capable as they will be connected to the Geothermal system.

One new AHU will be installed for the theater. The existing AHU, which is in the ceiling above the band room will be removed and the new unit will be installed. The new unit will be served by hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling.

The cost of this portion of the project was estimated at $221,775.

At Freeman Davis, the project is more complicated and includes removing the existing steam boiler, steam boiler accessories and steam piping. It will be replaced by a new high efficiency hot water boiler system.

The current heating only units will be replaced with new units with hot water heating and chilled water cooling.

A new air chiller unit will be installed on the outside of the building on a concrete pad with a partial privacy fence to deter children from playing in and around the unit.

The $891,234 estimate for the Freeman Davis project also includes the upgrade of electrical service to handle the new system.

Frederick told the board the finance committee would review the information and the current budget and recommend which part of the project can be done in this school year. He said he expects that both projects will be completed by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Background checks

Frederick also reviewed the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation’s policy on criminal background checks for school employees. He said the district’s job is to maintain a safe learning environment for the students and a safe working environment for the staff.

– Katie Zerr –