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School board approves four hires

By Staff | Apr 18, 2014

Rugby Public Schools approved the hiring of four new teachers at the board meeting on April 8. Melissa Goddard will join the junior high science department for the 2014-2015 school year. Goddard currently teaches at Drake-Anamoose.

Rugby native Jeremy Johnston was hired for a yet to be determined teaching position at Ely Elementary School.

Jessica Grove, also of Rugby, was hired as a counselor at Ely. Grove joines RPS with experience gained in the Dickinson area.

Rugby native Deb Mattern was approved for a new position as a teacher in the new Early Learning Center. Mattern has experience working with Early Explorers Head Start, according to superintendent Mike McNeff.

RHS music teacher Daryl Wissink is retiring this year, but his position will not be filled. The district will now have one full-time music teacher at RHS and another at Ely. McNeff said the school district anticipates a current employee being able to help with choir and other music responsibilities.

The vocational-agriculture department will also look different come the fall. Richard Vannett will remain department chair, but only one other teacher will join him. Lynne Ostrem and Terry Jelsing have taught in the department this year, but a projected shortfall in the 2015 fiscal year budget led the board to approve just two Vo-Ag positions. The second position was approved for a 10-month contract. An agriculture advisory committee has committed $7,500 to supplement for the second position.

“We’re gonna wait and see in June with taxable evaluation, but they’ve committed $7,500 if need be to fund that extra two months of the 10-month salary,” McNeff said.

The board has not yet approved anyone for that position.

McNeff attributed much of the budget shortfall to rising health care costs.

“We were looking at $300,000 of a deficit, largely due to dealing with Affordable Care Act,” he said. “We’ve taken a huge hit on health care premiums up about 25 percent.”

The district has more than 60 employees with health care plans.

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