District looks at easing teacher shortage

HURON — Easing a teacher shortage is behind a plan to draft a teacher incentive focus program through the Huron School District, Supt. Kraig Steinhoff told the School Board at Monday night’s meeting.

“The ASBSD (Associated School Boards of South Dakota) noted that there are 100 more open positions in May 2022 compared to last year,” Steinhoff said. “At the end of May, the ASBSD had 480 open positions listed. Huron has seven openings, and I’m not sure we’ll have them all filled by fall.

“We have 16 ESL summer school interns, all are Huron High School students or graduates interested in pursuing a career in education,” he said. Nine of those interns were approved by the Board Monday night to be included in the District’s worker’s compensation plan.

Steinhoff said his goal is to establish a zero percent loan that would be forgiven through a number of successful years of teaching at the Huron School District.

“We hope to get some of our very own interested in becoming teachers and coming back to teach,” Steinhoff said.

ESL summer school for grades K-7 is being held Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., through June 24.

Steinhoff also presented a year-end report of bullying incidents to the board. Out of 56 alleged bullying incidents in the 2021-22 school term, a total of 38 were bound to be actual bullying incidents. Principals from each site report bullying incidents directly to the superintendent’s office.

“That number is up from last year, when we were at 20 alleged and nine found to be actual incidents after investigation,” he said. Steinhoff said his secretary discovered an article from years ago in the administration office that focused on how to get bullying to stop, something schools around the nation continue to work on.

“We will try to continually minimize bullying, it’s something we will always focus on,” he said. “We can’t guarantee to stop everything. This will be a constant growth opportunity for us to try to eradicate it totally.

“Ultimately, we want every child to feel safe and want to be in school,” Steinhoff added.

Business manager Kelly Christopherson reported on the budget of almost $43 million that has been established for the 2022-23 school term. There were no members of the public attending who wanted to discuss the budget. It will be up for approval at the next Board meeting on June 27 at 5:30 p.m.
School Board members approved a request by the Chamber & Visitors Bureau for the use of a Huron Public Schools bus for city-wide transportation during the S.D. State Fair Sept. 1-5. The bus will have a designated route with pre-determined designated hours. The Chamber will provide proof of insurance as well as driver’s fee and fuel.

A used SmartBoard will be donated to the Christian Learning Center Preschool. The board also accepted a bid from Kelly and Laura Knodel for the CTE student built house for the 2022-23 school term.

A bid for new Marching Band uniforms from Standbury Uniforms, LLC, in the amount of $82,661 was accepted. This will pay for 175 new uniforms. The board also accepted a bid from M.G. Oil (Corner Pantry) to provide gas and diesel fuel.

The School District will observe the Juneteenth Holiday on June 20.

Steinhoff offered congratulations to students who placed at the State Track Meet, including junior Dylan Lichty, sophomore Hamtyn Heinz, and four girls in the 4x100 relay, juniors Brynn Gose and Heavan Gainey, and freshmen Janiyah Lanier and Adison Moore.

The girls golf team was praised for their eighth place finish at the state golf meet. Standouts were junior Bryn Huber and senior Kenya Bigelow.

Thank you’s were extended to Rodney and Becky Freeman and the estate of Nanette Roberts for the donation of framed architectural drawings of the Huron Arena, and to Jessica Skinner and Elaine Erickson for the donation of early childhood furniture, dramatic play stations, games and puzzles.

In other business the board:
• Approved ASBSD property and liability insurance renewals for 2022-23.
• Introduced changes to the school district handbooks for the coming year.
• Approved an offer from Farmers and Merchants Bank, branch of First National, to provide banking services for the Huron district for the next 10 years, with options every two years to reevaluate based on interest rates. In the past, banking services were contracted for a two-year period only.
• Accepted resignations from teacher Lori Keleher and para educator Chit Snow.


More In News