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School board discusses safety of students during school hours

School safety is on everyone's mind after the devastating events at Sandy Hook elementary school last week. It was also part of the discussion at the Hancock school board meeting on Monday night.

Board members asked some questions of administration as to how a similar situation might be handled. Principal Tim Pahl explained that they have lock down drills to prepare students and staff for situations that threaten the safety of students. Teachers are instructed to lock classroom doors, shut off lights, get kids away from doors and windows and remain there until all is clear.

In some cases the teachers are informed of situations through phone messages and in other cases by administrators walking through the building, depending on the urgency. It was noted that not all classroom doors, especially those in the older part of the building, can be locked from the inside. Teachers then have to step into the hall, lock the door and shut it. Putting in new doors with better locking systems is part of the construction project.

In fact, there will be a lot of upgrades that focus on safety concerns in the project. The board members and administration want to do all they can to keep students safe but also are aware, such as in the Sandy Hook case, that someone can shoot their way through locked doors and windows if they want.

Supt. Jerry Martinson told the board that the type A van, which is basically a smaller, 14 passenger bus, has been purchased from Hoglund Bus company. The used bus will cost $10,219.75 which includes tax and license fees. The Hancock FFA club has donated that amount to pay for the bus that will be used for transporting students for extra-curricular activities. In order to use the bus for routes, a licensed bus driver will need to be hired.

The board also approved a $500 donation from the Firemen's Relief Association that was donated to the Girl's basketball program.

Other action

* After reviewal of the budget for 2013, the board certified the 2012 pay 2013 tax levy in the amount of $569,062.45.

* The board approved hiring Shelly Koehl as the new elementary secretary/para. Jim Swenson was approved to replace Shelly Koehl as a para. Sabrina Teague was hired as a dishwasher, replacing Jenny Cook.

*Principal Pahl informed the board that there was a leak in the roof over the media center after last weekend's rain and snow. Tremco has been contacted and will be taking care of the lower roof. However, the upper roof with the skylight may not be covered. This roof is scheduled for repair.

A special school board meeting was set for Friday, Dec. 21 to canvas the return of votes of the school district special election. A superintendent evaluation statement and recommendations will also be on the agenda.