More cuts to staff in the Hill City School District causes outrage in the community

HILL CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The Hill City School District is under fire again. An unpopular vote that resulted in three new staff cuts. Is causing a controversy among community members.

The meeting was moved into the school's theater to prepare for the large crowd. During the meeting, the school board voted to cut: a high school shop teacher, a middle school science teacher, and an NCA Chairman. Only three of the five members were present and voted.

Rumors about the administration getting raises amidst all these cuts were said to be false by the school board.

In January, the board approved the resignation of the elementary school principal, effective at the end of the school year and four other district employees will also lose their positions at the end of the year.

Students in the district started a petition about the situation and showed the school board before the meeting.

Community members are upset over the recent decisions. And at some points, the meeting got heated.

We're disappointed we're going through a tough time and we go through tough times," said Chad Ronish, Hill City science teacher. "Our school and our community is really good about coming together during times like this. Unfortunately, we've been shut out of the decision-making process from day one with this. We have to go get any information and they're not taking any input on what we'd like to see."

Hill City's superintendent Dr. Mike Hanson says the cuts are necessary because the district is hundreds of thousands of dollars in deficit. And with the state's new school funding formula, the district does not qualify for state aid. Dr. Hanson gave us a statement after the meeting.

"Going through what we're going through there are many, many challenges. The board of education continues to work hard to do the utmost, to have the strongest educational programming for our students. And we're going to continue that outstanding excellence each and every day in our school district," said Dr. Hanson.

The Hill City community will be having a town hall meeting on March 16th to assemble a committee to address the actions of the school administration and Hill City school board. This meeting will be at the Assembly of God Church in Hill City and starts at 6 pm.