The Fillmore Central School Board members approved a resolution to finance the necessary improvement projects throughout the district with a bond offering zero percent increase to the district tax base. This action was taken during a special board meeting, held for that purpose, on Tuesday morning, March 11.

Under the alternative facilities section, consisting of those projects dictated by the Health and Safety Program, each of these improvements cost over $500,000.

One change noted in this area is HVAC dehumidification in the elementary school, costing $2 million, with ceiling repairs, controls upgrade and air conditioning improvement. Another project is asbestos removal and window and tile replacements in both Preston and Harmony schools. This will cost $605,000. At the high school, a sprinkler system will be installed and the doors will be replaced, costing $950,000. In all, this section of the facilities improvements cost $3,555,000.

The second section of the bond comes from the Capital Facilities funding. According to Superintendent Richard Keith, this source is due to come off of the books and will be replaced by a lesser amount. The new amount does consider areas currently needing improvement. Using the funding will offset the annual repairs with new, warranted and energy efficient, easily accessible projects.

Included within this section are parking lot improvements for the Preston site and the Harmony site, costing $800,000 and $55,000 respectively; restroom improvements district wide, costing around $185,000; and renovating the existing science lab room in Preston into two Title 1 classrooms for $65,000.

The numbers for each project have been refined to the point where converting the science lab into the classrooms was safely added to the project. Improvements in the elementary school parking lot include added parking spaces in front of the school, resurfacing and including a drainage system in the southern lot.

Keith clarified that the resolution passed is a resolution to move forward in the project. However, in the March regular meeting, there will be another resolution to consider, a resolution of bond issuance.

In order to replace materials as needed, the Safe Schools Levy and Deferred Maintenance will provide funding. These funds are also non-voter approved sources to support the identified project activities.

As the resolution is now moving forward, the project approval requests will be completed later this month, with certain approvals forecasted within 90 days. In April and May, bidding will commence and the initial Phase 1 projects are slated to begin in June or July.

There is a crunch in time to approve this resolution in order to utilize the current interest rates, which are predicted to rise over the course of the year. Also, current pricing is based on factors such as enrollment, interest rates and allowable projects, which can be subject to change.

After the renovations begin, the board may approve the removal of certain items if the funds are running out. However, the initial plan will include all that were stated above, as it is easier to remove projects than add them at a later time.

Members of the board asked that the facilities committee brief them every three to six months for the improvements that they see the school needs.

It was noted that many members were shocked by all the projects that needed to be done when this matter was discussed at last month's regular meeting.

Rather than finding out through others new floors are being put in or a sprinkler system must be installed through other people, the board members stated they prefer to know of the projects ahead of time so they are able to answer the questions of others.

School updates

Because of their interest in updates, Keith informed the board members of the discussions of the "meet and confer" committee. One of their discussion points was make-up days for the extra snow days experienced this past year.

There is currently a law stating students must have a certain number of minutes in school, once the calendar has been adopted. Therefore, the board discussed the options available for make-up days and what other schools have been doing as well.

Keith plans on meeting with the policy committee about what they can do about the days. If they consider choosing a different path for the policy, they will discuss the consequences of it before making the next year's calendar.

The second point brought to the "meet and confer" committee was the issue of teachers' dress. At the present, the school has Casual Friday for the teachers, but lately Keith has noticed some stretching of the boundaries. Some teachers have dressed sloppily rather than casual and have even turned other days of the week into a sloppy day.

Keith stated he wants the teachers to look professional at all times and will send out notifications to the teachers themselves.

Other business

The board approved the hire of a new full-time custodian. Laurie Bacon settles into the vacated position with experience of being a custodial sub for the school multiple times.

In addition, the board approved Terry Sinn as the long-term substitute for Marit Janssen during her leave and approved Juila Olstad's request for maternity leave from the high school.