Fillmore Central's school board listens as Principal Heath Olstad gives his monthly report. From left are Shelley Topness, Sue Sikkink, John Torgrimson and Deb Ristau.
Fillmore Central's school board listens as Principal Heath Olstad gives his monthly report. From left are Shelley Topness, Sue Sikkink, John Torgrimson and Deb Ristau.
Fillmore Central's school board examined its school security measures last Tuesday evening, Dec. 18, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and also reviewed the 2013 budget before approving it and the levy.

Regarding the tragedy, Principal Heath Olstad said, "We did not have an assembly about the shooting, and it was probably fortunate that students had the weekend to go home and be with their families. The SADD students will be having a moment of silence at the high school on Friday."

In examining its building security, the Fillmore Central administration doesn't "want to turn the schools into a fortress," but recognized the importance of providing a safe learning environment for its students through building improvements and security plans coordinated with local law enforcement and the fire department.

Dean of Students Chris Mensink suggested that the buildings' doorways be numbered and maps of each building be given to the fire department and police.

Presently, as many doors as possible are locked and on camera from the outside at the elementary school, and the high school's doors are also locked from the outside, but all doors can be used as exits.

He related, "We do five lockdown drills each year, and when there is a drill, we will flat out say what it is for, and then we have an all-clear code."

He went on to address interior building safety, debating whether certain doors should be locked during classes and what rooms should be closed off when not in use.

Superintendent Richard Keith pointed out that the district has gotten some free, good advice about what to do when it has lockdowns and intruders.

"Each teacher has an emergency and disaster preparedness booklet that they read, and we need to be sure it's updated every year," Keith added.

Micki Breitsprecher, who is part of the Root River Program staff at the Harmony Community Center, noted that she and her colleagues have encountered difficulty in determining how to secure that building since it is a public building.

"We've been looking at it in the last few weeks," she stated.

The board and administration will continue to review security and work to make improvements as necessary.

Olstad advised teachers, "If a specific student comes to you with concerns, be sure to call their parents and be sure to ask them to be aware of the worry before the child comes home."

Board member John Torgrimson thanked the administration for "being proactive on this issue."

Budget and tax levy

The 2013 budget and tax levy were approved.

The 2011-2012 revenues were $6,979,209, and the 2013-2014 revenues are set at $7,196,908, an increase of 3.12 percent.

The expenditures for 2012 were $7,001,331, and the 2013 expenditures, $7,158,377, an increase of 2.24 percent. The district's general fund revenue budget is comprised of 73.12 percent state aid, 7.14 percent federal taxes, 16 percent local taxes and 3.74 percent other taxes.

Reports

Olstad's principal's report cited "another year of great music" following the band and choir concerts this month. He also added the one-act play will be performed after the girls' basketball game on Jan. 7.

The end of the second quarter was Dec. 21, and the Fillmore Central sixth graders made the most of the afternoon on Wednesday, Dec. 19, by exuberantly ringing bells for The Salvation Army at the bank.

Personnel items

In personnel matters, the board approved increasing Connie Berg's position from a .8 to a full-time position and the Root River Program's service contract "as needed, at $98 per hour."

A note of thanks

Lastly, John Torgrimson, whose term on the board is ending, thanked the rest of the board members and the administration for the "privilege" of working with them, crediting them and the teaching staff for making the district a fine place to educate students.