Board Bounces Soccer Again

Leslie Silverman
For the second year in a row, a co-op soccer appeal drew a crowd to the Hill City School District (HCSD) school board meeting. And for the second year in a row, the school board voted unanimously not to  approve the plea despite passionate pleas at its  March 11 meeting.
“This will be another milestone for Hill City to be proud of. Another opportunity to chase scholarships. Another opportunity to be a part of a team,” said Karen  Street. “Saying yes can only add value to our community.”
The proposal was limiting participation to nine high school children as a projected cost of $8,400, with some general talk of donations and fundraisers covering a portion of that amount.
“This was a hard one,” said Superintendent Blake  Gardner, saying administration changed its mind multiple times. Gardner said he met with Street and Jeremy Duprey along with Athletic Director Wade Ginsbach before a proposal was drafted. 
The concerns this time seemed to stem from the number of activities currently being offered in the fall, whether HCSD would be responsible for Custer facility upgrades next year, and the long term feasibility of the program, with diminishing numbers  at the high school level from the  groups currently running soccer outside of the school system.
Board member Todd Grabow  said his biggest hang up was that adding extracurriculars was not addressed in the strategic plan, and was also not addressed by students, parents or the community. He also felt it set a precedent for sending students to other towns for other sports.
Member Rob Timm agreed. 
“When you survey your own kids and it doesn’t even register, that tells me something,” Timm said.
Member Eric Lind said  as a board it is difficult to recommend something that administration does not approve.
“It’s difficult for us to force them to do something they’re not on board with,” Lind said.
The district is taking on two summer projects this year which includes new tread for the stairs in the middle school and installing  carpet in vestibules, including the theater entrance.
The new roof project has been advertised with a  March 26 preconstruction meeting set. The district is looking to hire a Sarnafil-certified installer to replace the roof with a material identical to what it has now. 
“What we have now is very specific,” Gardner said. “It’s the Cadillac of roofing materials. We don’t want a lesser product.”
Kindergarten Round-up is March 25-26.
“Right now we’re at 24 last I looked,” said Elementary Principal Samantha Weaver, who said she thinks numbers are up from last year.
“It was like winning the lottery,” said High School Principal Todd Satter about a new fire teacher certified in math but who can also be used as a science teacher if needed. 
“He can really help us out down the road,” Satter said.
The high school is offering two EMT dual credit courses next year in conjunction with Western Dakota Tech. This is the first time this will happen. The six credits will be enough for National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification. 
“When they’re done a Hill City kid could be a certified EMT before they get their diploma,” said Satter.
Satter also touted the accolades of the English department which is working on creating professional learning communities  focusing on how  and when to best teach standards, create resources for other teachers and review progress and student work.
The high school is trying to get an advanced sophomore English course in the schedule as a prerequisite  to  an AP (advanced placement) junior English class.
“I think it’s an exciting time to be a Ranger,” said Lind. “You’re knocking it out of the park,” he said, praising Satter and his team for its hiring efforts and strategic planning process.
Gardner echoed the praise of  the administration and teachers for coming up with great ideas to boost test scores.
Gardner has nothing new to report on the SDDOT Hwy. 385 project, but has talked through some different things going on with Harlow’s, the district transportation company.
Gardner asked for the blessing from the board for the  possibility of  hiring a district behavior specialist.
The position would be compensated out of sped funds and be contractual similar to speech, OT or PT.
The HCSD board meets again April 8 at 6 p.m.

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