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Yankton School Board OKs Bussing Deal for Tournament

With two agreements made during Monday night’s monthly school board meeting, the Yankton School Board (YSB) proved that it is actively pursuing being a strong partner in the growth of the community. 

The school board approved a land lease agreement with the Boys and Girls Club and also OK’d the leasing of busses to the National Field Archery Association for the Youth World Archery Tournament planned for this June. With both agreements, the board said being a partner with the community on projects like this will only make the school district and the community of Yankton stronger.

“We want to be good partners on this,” said superintendent Dr. Wayne Kindle. “We are talking about 600 international school-age kids coming to Yankton, and we would like to be a good host and work the bus rental agreement out. Quite honestly, I am happy we are going to be a part of this. It is a going to be a great community event, for not only those kids coming here but for our own kids.”

According to Nancy Wenande, event coordinator for the 2015 World Archery Youth Championship Committee, the archery center in Yankton hosts several international events each year, but what makes this event different is the fact that it is hosting the youth tournament.

“When the adults come in and they have 400 or 500 adults, they take care of themselves,” Wenande said. “With this event, when these kids and their coaches get off the planes, they are ours to take care of. That includes housing, food, transportation, anything they might need, we are there to get them for that and by the bid are required to do that.”

Wenande explained that the committee had considered using a charter bus service for the transportation needs of the tournament, but the costs were prohibitive, which is why the committee approached the school district about using its busses.

“An event like this cannot be hosted by a community the size of ours without everyone playing a part that comes from the school district, that comes from the office of economic development, the businesses and our citizens” she said. “On the financial side, the school district being open to us using those busses is a huge cost savings because so much of this event is being paid for through fundraising efforts.”

Kindle said the leasing of the busses would entail the National Archery Association leasing the busses, being responsible for gas and the hiring and paying of the drivers.

“Essentially, there would not be a cost to the school district,” he said. “But we know there would be some wear and tear on our busses. The board has directed me and the business manager (Jason Bietz) to work out something that would be fair to compensate for the wear and tear of the busses.”

The land lease agreement with the Boys and Girls Club will see the district providing the land and location that a new club facility would be located on near the middle school. In addition, there will be a joint-use facility agreement allowing the club to use district property such as the gymnasiums.

“I think that is a critical need for youth, to have a place for them to build some confidence, have things to do, have mentorship programs, and the Boys and Girls Club coming into the Yankton community was able to provide that,” said board president Kathy Greeneway. “With the location being at the middle school, even just looking at the summer programs, nobody is going to have to bus kids if they want to go to the pool, nobody is going to have to bus kids if they want to go walk around the park or if they want to play tennis. Those activities that are right there in that area, it just seemed like a good location.”

Following the board meeting, Kindle addressed the upcoming legislative session and what he hopes will be accomplished for the state’s schools.

“One thing we are very concerned about right now is the question about the capital outlay fund and that there is some discussion about changing how the capital outlay is funded,” he said. “We in Yankton think we do a very good job with our capital outlay. We have a five-year, very detailed plan that deals with capital outlay, and quite honestly, we would prefer that they leave that piece of funding alone because it has worked and it has worked very well.”

In addition, he noted that the ongoing issue of the per-pupil funding rate for the general fund needs close watching.

“We are going to hope that the legislation takes a good hard look at that this year and provide us with some additional funding for next school year,” he said. “(We hope they) take a look at the teacher shortages we are facing. I am happy and proud to say that Yankton has the second highest starting teacher pay in South Dakota and we are having a hard time attracting teachers in Yankton. So we are going to have to make a good effort in Pierre to address that and have a long-term sustainable plan for how we are going to fund education which includes funding and sustaining teachers.”

Other business during the meeting included:

• Approving the 2015-2016 YHS Band Trip to the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida, this December;

• Hearing good news from Lincoln Elementary School and the Yankton Middle School;

• Updating the district’s wellness policy;

• Hearing a report on the Career and Technical Education curriculum and potential textbook purchases; and,

• Hearing a presentation from Associated School Board of South Dakota executive director Wade Pogony honoring the board members for achieving their GAVEL certification.

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