District ranked in top five in state

Leslie Silverman
“We’re so lucky with the new staff that we have,” said Hill City School District superintendent Blake Gardner, who had the new teachers introduce themselves to the Hill City school board at its Sept. 11 meeting.
Gardner   the high school came in fifth place in the U.S. News & World Report State of South Dakota rankings noting,  “I think we’re all kinda bummed” since the district is used to being in the top one or twi.
“We’re happy to be recognized by them,” Gardner said, noting the school is still in the upper echelon. 
Gardner congratulated the school board for its gold-level status, an honor it has received for the fifth straight year.
The board is “one of very few districts that have ever achieved that,” said Gardner.
Andi Bauer aired her concerns over information regarding Hill City soccer not being shared with district students.
“I’ve already emailed Mr. Gardner and I spoke with the board members about sharing of noncurricular programs or activities on school pages or platforms or paperwork being sent home with students to let them know about activities they have access to,” Bauer said. She has asked multiple times in the past and said she was denied each time but once.
“I’ve been told only youth athletics and school specific items can be shared on school pages,” Bauer said.
Bauer says that Hill City Youth Athletics is the  same platform being run by the Boys and Girls club right now.
Gardner later addressed these concerns by saying  the district has posted anything since the complaint was received in August.
The district is already beginning to look for a new high school  science teacher as its new hire from overseas fell through. High school principal Todd Satter is in talks with a former South Dakota School of Mines and Technology student for next year but wanted the board to “keep an open mind when it comes to a salary for a science teacher,” saying that $45,000 is not enough. 
Satter also said the district is seeing an increase in students “that are not like we’ve had in the past”  and may cause some “issues” but did not elaborate.
James Solheim, author, will coming to the elementary school  and will present his book “Eat Your Woolly Mammoths!” 
The board briefly discussed copywriting its Smokey logo. It also discussed updating  a policy to bring the district into compliance with a new bidding requirement law for any public entity when a purchase for supplies or services of $50,000 or more is anticipated, or if the contract is for the construction of a public improvement in excess of $100,000. No action was taken.
The board also discussed the strategic planning process that will go to the public next summer.  The district can hire someone to do everything, do the work on its own, or do some of the work and bring in a facilitator for the rest.
Gardner will ask Dakota Ed and Studer Education to speak with the board at a work session Oct. 4. Working session for strategic planning quotes 
The next Hill City School Board meeting takes place Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.

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