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School board votes against Initiative 10

Joy Blundell
Published: Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

As Initiative 10 Resolution would stop school board members and teachers for speaking on behalf of education, Custer School District (CSD) school board voted to be against it Monday during the regular school board meeting. School board members would fall under those banned against lobbying or campaigning as they received around $700-800 last year for being on the board, said school board president Jon Dahlstrom. Others that would be blocked would include hospitals and states attorneys, said Tracy Kelley, school attorney. If their family members give opinions or back a candidate to the state government, they can face criminal charges, said Tim Wicks, school board member. Wicks and school board members Eric Lewis and Roni Petik went to a conference where Initiative 10 Resolution was reviewed. Conference leaders said South Dakota teachers are being paid according to cost of living and had statistics to back it up, said Petik. The statistics looked at student-to- teacher ratios in terms of class sizes, she said. They would bring more information to the next meeting Monday, Nov. 10, in Spring Creek. Upcoming and ongoing legal issues also brought up the court proceedings for South Dakota Coalition of Schools which is suing the State of South Dakota for inadequately funding schools. Dr. Tim Creal, superintendent, said the court proceedings have continued to the point where they were waiting for the judge’s decision. On Friday, Oct. 24, District 30 representatives are invited to speak at an open forum about education issues at the high school. The evening will start with a spaghetti supper at 5:30 p.m. with the forum beginning at 6 p.m. Dessert will be served during the forum. Funds raised will go  toward the choir trip. The candidates can answer questions on any topic and cannot hand out literature until after the forum, said Sandra McFarland, board member. Policy on Title 1 Part A Parent Involvement was read for the second time. The policy sections three and four were reviewed   According to policy, the high school principal is in charge during an absence of the superintendent followed by the elementary principal and business manager. The last time Creal left town he called high school principal Paul Anderson and told him he was in charge as Anderson has the most experience of the administrators in CSD, said Creal. Most people continued to contact Creal through e-mail and his cell. School board member Kevin Strand asked if they wanted to reword the policy to be whichever administrator has the most time in district will be in charge. McFarland was also concerned if something different than physical distance caused Creal to be absent from his duties and he couldn’t designate someone to have the responsibility. Creal said he would reword it.  School board members visited all the schools except the high school. Generally the teachers and students seemed to be happy and classes were going smoothly. The elementary school is difficult to keep up to fire code and traffic flow is difficult, said Strand. Middle school principal Eric Pingrey said they want to make the middle school classrooms more systematic and the building more secure. The National Guard is moving out of the armory, he said. The middle school would need more funds so they could move offices to the front of the building for better security. As it stands now people could walk in without being noticed. He said he requested the National Guard’s help with minor construction to better adapt the front area to the school administrator’s needs. Pingrey said the goal is to have after-school tutoring started by the week Oct. 27. Teachers and students are looking forward to it. The tutoring focuses on small groups and individual academic weaknesses.  As of Monday, Oct. 13, all special education positions were filled, said Creal. Teachers are volunteering to train on using automated external defibrillator and doing CPR starting with the middle school Friday, Oct. 24.

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