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BV Board approves numerous staffing additions
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

April 08. 2013 8:30AM
The list of Brandon Valley School District employees is growing right along with the district’s ever-increasing enrollment. So to meet that need, the Brandon Valley Board of Education March 25 approved the addition of a variety of full- and part-time teaching positions, administrative office staff, contract extensions and 20 more slots at the Career and Technical Education Academy.

“I’ll warn you,” Superintendent Dave Pappone told the Board, “this is just the first round of what we’re proposing.” Enrollment numbers, he said, could dictate the need for additional staff.

The board gave the OK to hire 2.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) elementary classroom teachers, a half-time elementary music teacher, a full-time middle school math and full-time reading teacher, half-time middle school administrator, which bumps the middle school associate principal to full-time, a full-time high school guidance counselor, reassigned duties in the business office (a payroll and benefits specialist using existing staff), and 20 additional slots at the CTE Academy, which replaces the need to hire additional teaching staff at the high school. Also approved by the Board are a full-time middle school special education teacher, one full-time speech/language pathologist and a full-time speech/language pathologist assistant, a full time special ed assistant, a three-day contract extension for high school special education job development activities, and a two-day contract extension for the early childhood coordinator.

Middle school principal Dan Pansch indicated there’s a need for additional math teachers. Class sizes are approaching 30 students or are at 30.

Pansch said middle school is where kids seem to need more individual attention, Pansch said.

There’s also a need to restructure reading at the middle school. Currently, 13 different teachers have reading classes.

At the high school, the two-person guidance staff is over-taxed as enrollment numbers there are creeping toward the 1,000 mark.

High school principal Gregg Talcott said when he joined the staff 16 years ago, the high school was staffed by two guidance counselors, and enrollment was at 650.

“In our eyes, that’s a lot of kids for two counselors to handle,” Talcott said.

A third counselor is being proposed.

Counselor Michelle Stemwedel said it’s difficult to spend adequate amount of time with each student to plan their class schedules and post-high school plans.

“We’d like to do a better job in all of those areas,” added counselor Amy Lupkes.

The high school guidance counselors do more than just help students schedule classes and post-high school plans. They are responsible for school organizations such as SADD, TATU, student council, boys and girls state, along with parent outreach, event planning and more.

In the business office, manager Paul Lundberg will be relieved of his payroll and benefit specialist duties, which will now be performed by existing staff.

“This is not a new position but it does increase the pay level,” Pappone said.

Additional slots for the CTE Academy is warranted by the number of students wanting to take courses there. Currently, the district has 30 slots, but next fall, 55 students are signed up for a CTE Academy course and the second semester lists 46 students.

Pappone said the purchase of additional slots at the CTE will negate hiring some additional teaching staff at the high school.

The proposed staffing plan would put the general budget in a slight deficit – about $195,000 – Pappone said. But the South Dakota Legislature has once again promised one-time money – $155,000 – that will help to offset that deficit, he said.

“The $155,000 of one-time money will be coming in this year but won’t be spend until next years,” Pappone said.

The Board approved the following personnel changes March 25:
• Approved the retirement/resignation submitted by Connie Van Den Oever, kindergarten teacher at Robert Bennis Elementary.

• Approved the two resignations from coaching, contingent upon finding a suitable replacement: Kendra Namanny (7th grade volleyball); and Daniel Klumper (8th grade assistant boys basketball).

• Hiring of Nick Skibsted as middle school associate principal; Becky Mohr as half-time district assessment coordinator and middle school reading specialist; Whitney Stoeser (Brandon Elementary teacher for 2013-14); and Elizabeth Gruis (Robert Bennis Elementary special education teacher).

The Brandon Valley Board of Education approved several new hires for the 2013-14 school year. Administrators say there are more new hires to come. Challenger file photo

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