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Dendinger is re-elected as Hartington-Newcastle Bd. President

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HARTINGTON — Jason Dendinger was once agai elected to guide the Hartington-Newcastle School Board.

Board members unanimously chose Dendinger Monday to continue his service at the School Board president, a role he has served in since 2009.

Dendinger first won election to the Board in November 2002, and was elected president when Steve Grube decided not to seek another term on the board.

Dana Rosener was re-elected as Vice President and Candice Climer was re-elected as Secretary of the Board.

The annual Reorganization meeting also featured several annual appointments.

The Board was told the Building Committee will be looking into some possible changes for the playground. The committee planned to meet after Monday’s meeting, and will report back to the Board after that.

The Board closed out their meeting, then went int Executive Session to discuss the annual review of Supt. A.J. Johnson.

Elementary School Principal Sara Edwards said the Hartington elementary students are nearly done with their testing. Newcastle has not done its testing yet, however, she said.

She was pleased to report that all but one class tested above the 86 percentile level in reading. She will discuss ways to improve the scores of that class with teachers.

She said math scores also looked good with all classes testing above the 79th percentile level.

She said classes will begin preparing this week for the statewide testing, which takes place this semester.

The Board also agreed Monday to waive absences. Most of those are due to COVID-19 quarantines or illness due to the virus.

Johnson told Board members he felt the absenteeism policy had not been abused, so he has no problem with waiving the student absences.

“We didn’t want kids in school if they were sick,” he said. “And I believe because of what they had to go through last spring, the kids did want to be in school.”

The Board also approved extending COVID sick leave options through the end of March. This provides up to 10 days of additional sick leave due to the virus. Many teachers have already had to use that time up, though, he said.

The Board also approved the recently completed school audit conducted by Dana Cole. This was the first year the Board worked with the company. Because of the pandemic, no on-site visit was made, so the work was “a little bit more intensive for us, since they weren’t here and we had to scan in documents for them.”

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