At the regularly scheduled school board meeting last week, Superintendent Dana Felderman announced that the hiring committee had selected to offer Jordan Solberg a contract for the open Middle School-High School Principal position. Felderman said that they had received fifteen applicants and chose to interview the top three. Solberg stood out because of his experience within the Lake Preston School District and his connection with the community, the staff and the students. Solberg has enrolled in graduate classes in order to obtain the required principal certification and will be on a plan of intent with the South Dakota Department of Education until he has obtained the certificate.
“I am excited to keep Mr. Solberg (at the Lake Preston School District) as we have all witnessed his passion for teaching, coaching and doing what is best for our students,” said Felderman. “Keeping good educators in front of our students and in our school is important.”
During regular session, Felderman requested dialog from the board regarding terminating the starting well plan that he had authored to begin the 2020-21 school year. It is Felderman’s intent to return all education and activities to normal after June 1, 2021. This would include not offering distance learning as an option for students during the 2021-22 school year. Board unanimously approved ceasing the starting well plan.
Business Manager Kristi Curd reviewed the preliminary budget for the 2021-2022 school year. She noted that she is anticipating that state aid will decrease due to a slight dip in enrollment. Although the actual numbers would not be known until after the fall enrollment count, she is budgeting for a reduction based on the information that is currently present. Other items that will impact the budget are the federal funds due to COVID-19 and requesting less opt out funds. Teacher negotiations wrapped up in late April with the teachers and coaches gaining a three percent increase and staff sick leave payout options to begin both annually and upon retirement.
Felderman presented quotes on a few capital outlay projects that have popped up since the last board meeting. One is the high school boiler due to a crack in the corner. He is obtaining quotes on both the repair and the replacement of the boiler. He wanted to prepare the board that, at minimum, the repair would be necessary for the boiler to operate for the next school year. The other item is roofing projects for the white storage building, which the board opted to keep after the April board meeting, and two of the buildings at the football field. The board approved the roofing projects and will hear more regarding the boiler repair or replacement at the upcoming board meetings.
Felderman read the retirement letter of long-time first grade teacher, Dawn Bindert; resignation letters of track and cross-country coach, Tonya Bumann, and of school board member, Josh Warne, due to his family’s decision to move out of the district. The board will look to replace Warne at the upcoming meeting and will look to hire the vacated teaching and coaching positions soon. Warne added that he was hoping to return as girls basketball coach if he could work out the details with his employer.
The board also heard the reports from Northeast Education Cooperative, Technology, Business Office, Secondary and Elementary Principals, Athletic Director and Superintendent.
The board entered executive session citing personnel and negotiations and exited by approving the contracts of all returning teachers, Jordan Solberg as Secondary Principal and Athletic Director and Scott Bentley as Head Custodian.
The board also increased classified staff wages with all returning staff receiving contracts. The board discussed options for replacing school board member Warne. The topic of moving to a five-member board was also mentioned. The board would look to approve adding the seventh board member for the July board meeting.