SD Department of Ed letter to the Brookings School District notifying of accreditation deficiencies and probationary status. School District warned nearly 2 weeks ago that state aid to ed, school lunches, and interscholastic activities are at risk.

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:

BSD Letter – accreditation … by Pat Powers

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.

13 thoughts on “SD Department of Ed letter to the Brookings School District notifying of accreditation deficiencies and probationary status. School District warned nearly 2 weeks ago that state aid to ed, school lunches, and interscholastic activities are at risk.”

  1. This is incredibly embarrassing to the community. The Brookings School Dist. has been rated one of the top 3 school districts for academics for several years. This clown, Willert, should be held accountable in some way. He is the “head honcho” for the district. Where are the checks and balances? How did this go this far? I’m absolutely disgusted that the Brookings School District is in the limelight for something like this.

  2. We all know that Brookings is a liberal haven in South Dakota. It doesn’t surprise me that the school system is failing.

    1. It doesn’t sound like the school is failing, it sounds like the administrative staff didn’t turn in their homework.
      Maybe the dog ate it.

        1. nah. Doesn’t sound like this has anything to do with what’s going on in the classrooms

          1. Please post the test scores of the schools in Brookings as well as Sioux Falls.

            1. Why don’t you go to the SD Department of Education’s website and look at the online scorecards? BTW, SDDOE is an agency of the Executive Branch, hence they report to the Governor.

      1. It isn’t just the administration, you also have to look at the school board as they ultimately have final word on the overall operation of the district. If you take a moment and do a little online searching, some things start becoming apparent.
        At a university, competency isn’t always held at a premium. Where as, at a taxpayer funded institution, it is far more fundamental to the success of the district.

  3. Superb reporting on this important topic by SDWC and PP. Left right or center, we care about our schools and our kids.

  4. Hopefully the School Board will force the Superintendent to resign effective immediately. You don’t need this to continue another day let alone until June when he is set to leave. It sounds like there’s some house cleaning to be done and the School Board needs to step up to hold people accountable. Just saying.

  5. Black Hills Bob–it could be the Superintendent is taking a fall for decisions made by the Board. Hard to know from the material presented what the dynamics of the decision making was in the district. Whatever happened, it appears the District felt they could defy the orders of the State Department of Education and that the Department would back down rather than apply the sanctions. Bad bet.

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