If you recall my post yesterday, I’m watching the Brookings School Board’s emergency meeting tonight where they are in the process of accepting Superintendent Klint Willert’s resignation.
And the very hot button topic of the District’s accreditation problems has been talked about more than his leaving.
And right about the time they went into executive session, per my request earlier today, the State Department of Education was kind enough to send me the letter that was issued earlier this month notifying the school district of the problems. Go ahead and read it for yourself:
Contrary to some of the claims at the meeting today that this is no big deal… If it’s no big deal, why does it sound like some of the issues have been dragging on for three months now?
Re: Letter of Warning in Accordance with ARSD 24:43:07:03
You were notified by letter from the Office of Accreditation of deficiencies found during the accreditation review of your district that was conducted on December 6, 2022. Brookings School District was advised in that letter that follow-up be sent to the South Dakota Department of Education by March 6, 2023. An email reminder of the due date was sent on February 27, 2023.
Follow-up has been submitted but it failed to correct FOUR of the NINE deficiencies found in your accreditation review. Deficiencies remain for the following components:
• School Improvement plan. Authorized by ARSD 24:43:01:03
• Teacher Evaluation. Authorized by SDCL 13-42-34.
• Principal Evaluation. Authorized by ARSD 24:58:03:01.
• Certification. Authorized by SDCL 13-42-1.2 and 13-43-5; ARSD 24:43:10:01
*Feedback for deficient components is attached
Therefore, Brookings School District is hereby issued this letter of warning regarding its state accreditation status. Pursuant to ARSD §§ 24:43:07:01 and 24:43:07:03, Brookings School District is now considered “on probation”. This status will be indicated on the South Dakota Department of Education website.
And here’s the important part, that one questionably informed person claimed was fear-mongering on my part when I quoted the state’s website yesterday. Because HERE IT IS AGAIN:
Please be aware that public school districts with accreditation deficiencies may be ineligible for state aid to education. SDCL §§ 13-13-18; ARSD §§ 24:43:02:01. These districts may be subject to withholding of federal grant payments and school lunch program funds. In addition, these deficiencies may result in ineligibility of students to participate in interscholastic activities. SDCL §§ 13-36-4.
Not a big deal? I don’t think so.
Noting that the issues were noted to the district after the visit, AND a follow up reminder was sent on 2/27, this letter which hasn’t seen the light of day until today seems to be more of a serious very formal come-to-jesus letter. More serious than it might have been back in December… or on Feb 27 when they said Hey, where’s your response?
Anyway, go ahead and read the attached public document, and be an informed voter.
Regarding Superintendent Klint Willert’s resignation, the attorney for the school board noted that we will all find out more on Monday, when a letter will be released to the public detailing “what has occurred” with the resignation.