Former Aberdeen Public Schools District health administrator Jeanette Hurrell, who died in 2009, could have a permanent presence at Aberdeen Central High School.
Central High School principal Jason Uttermark, who spoke before the Aberdeen Public Board of Education, was part of a special committee that is proposing that the school nurse's office be named in Hurrell's honor.
"She recognized that health begins at home," he said.
Hurrell, who is the namesake of a newly created $100,000 Aberdeen Public Schools foundation endowment, began her long career with the district as a nurse at Central.
"Jeanette has inspired many people throughout the Aberdeen community," said board vice president Linda Burdette.
A first reading of the proposal was approved by the board.
School improvement plans for the year were submitted by each school in the district for a first reading. School administrators review their respective school's data, which includes DakotaSTEP test scores, to craft each plan annually.
"The plans are based on the need of each individual school," said assistant superintendent Becky Guffin.
The plans can be found on each school's web page at aberdeen.k12.sd.us.
Final approval will take place at the next board meeting on Nov. 12.
Central High School teacher Kerry Konda and superintendent Gary Harms both spoke about two items on the ballot for the upcoming Nov. 6 election and their impact on the district.
They both urged board members to support Initiated Measure 15, which would increase sales and general use taxes by one percent, to drum up additional funds for K-12 education and Medicaid funding.
"We need to ensure our children are receiving adequate health care and a quality education," Konda said.
If passed, Harms said the Aberdeen Public Schools District will see about $3 million more in funding and per-student funding in the district would increase by $730.
Harms said the money would go a long way in helping reduce class sizes in the district. He also voiced his opposition to Referred Law 16, which is an education reform act that proposes five components.
If passed, the law would create a scholarship program for college juniors and senior who agree to teach critical subject areas in South Dakota, a bonus program for math and science teachers, a reward program for top teachers and a statewide system for teacher and principal evaluations. It would also get rid of state requirements for continuing contract, more commonly referred to as tenure, for teachers.
"It's a solution looking for a problem," Harms said.
Harms said that having continuing contract policies for teachers does not mean there aren't ways to get rid of low-performing teachers.
"There are ways to get rid of bad teachers if administrators are doing their job," he said. "Continuing contract is not tenure. It allows for due process for employees."
A plethora of district policies were approved. Changes related to board member compensation, student fees, fines and charges and suspensions and expulsions were introduced and eight district polices affected.
There is now a due process policy for students.
Cases in which suspension or expulsion could occur are also now detailed in a new policy. Before, only a procedure for suspending or expelling a student was written.
In other news:
- Students from Simmons Middle School presented a report on the importance of homeroom.
- District operations manager Bob Pitz reported a new 4-inch water line has been installed at C.C. Lee Elementary School. A water main break damaged parts of the school in late August. Bids are being prepared for the interior repairs, which will be completed over winter break.
- The light poles at Swisher Field have been inspected and are in adequate condition, Pitz said.
- Pitz said the foundation for the new district shop building is almost complete. The building is still on target to be finished by December.
- Duane Reidl, an Aberdeen resident, appeared before the board to ask for the installation of devices for the hearing impaired in the Thomas F. Kelly Theatre at Aberdeen Central High School. Harms said the district would try to find ways to accommodate those with hearing loss.