Huron School Board holds first 2024 meeting

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HURON — The Huron School Board held its first meeting of 2024 Monday night, highlighted by a presentation, from Huron High School junior MaKayla McHugh, on a pair of Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes in which she is enrolled.

Prior to the beginning of the meeting, the school board held a moment of silence for Buchanan K-1 Principal Peggy Heinz, who recently passed away.

McHugh was introduced by Jolene Konechne, CTE director for the school district, and discussed the learning process in both the Introduction to Education class that she took first semester and the full-school year Introduction to Public Safety.

McHugh said that the Intro to Public Safety allowed students to learn about possible careers in the public safety sector, and involved segments on Fire & Emergency; Legal; Security; Corrections and Law Enforcement.

“I really liked it and am looking into dispatch,” McHugh told the board. “We had some great discussions in our class. I gained a lot from my classmates, our instructors and our field trips in both classes.”

A very brief discussion was held concerning the school calendar for the upcoming school year that will begin this fall. The school district calendar committee has created a calendar with an Aug. 15, a Thursday, start date. According to Superintendent Kraig Steinhoff, a poll of the large schools in the state shows that the average start date is Aug. 20, which is a Tuesday.

Board President Garrett Bischoff said that no decision would be made, but that it would be back for a decision at the Jan. 22 board meeting. “I personally would like to see the Aug. 20 date,” Bischoff said. “I heard from many people who said it felt like the school year started early this past year.”

Steinhoff said that if the board voted on the Aug. 20 start date, he would go back to the committee to find the additional days during the school year.

Curriculum Director Linda Pietz informed the board that the new samples of Social Studies curriculum is now in the various school buildings and is available for viewing by the public, as is school policy.

“We have a rubric in each of the schools and people may examine the samples through the end of the month,” Pietz said. “We will then tally the scores and decide how to move forward with the chosen vendors.”

“So,” she said, “I will be back for a final decision at some point.”

Bischoff asked Pietz if the recent discussion of Social Studies standards in the news made it more difficult to get vendors. Pietz said that there were really no differences at the Middle School or High School levels, but that there was difficulty getting vendor samples for the Elementary curriculum.

“As you know, our  standards  must  follow  the  standards  set  forth  by the  state,” Pietz  said. “Going  forward, the state  will have  supplements that enhance our chosen curriculum.”

Board member Tim Van Berkum, the school’s legislative watchdog, said that with the session beginning today, there are four bills that caught his eye and he will watch them and report back in the future.

In other action, the board:
• Heard and accepted an audit report of the school district by ELO Certified Public Accountants. Jessica Sheridan of ELO said that there was nothing noted during the district audit.

• Approved resignations and several numerous new hires, including 12 Huron High School students, who will work at the Washington 4-5 Center.
• Approved April 9 for a joint School Board/City election and the election agreement with the city. School board members Van Berkum and Kristi Glanzer are up for re-election this cycle.
• Approved 2024 and 2025 advertising agreements with Carr Chiropractic Clinic for Huron Arena ($2,125/year) and Tiger Stadium ($1,275/year).
• Approved two-year contracts for Business Manager Kelly Christopherson and Superintendent Steinhoff. Contract compensation will be set following the education allotment determined by the legislative session. Currently, Christopherson is paid $153,898 per year and Steinhoff receives $193,367.
• Approved Tax Exempt and Tax Advantage bond compliance questionnaires, and thanked Christopherson for his work on the intricate financing, which has saved the school district substantial money.
The next school board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, in the Instructional Planning Center, in the far southwestern corner of the second floor of Huron Arena. School district residents are encouraged to attend.