Snow days may force a longer school year
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:51 AM
The school calendar, or rather the length of the school year, was a topic of conversation for the Fillmore Central School Board on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The board members discussed if the school should assign make up days for the days school was not in session due to weather.
According to Fillmore Central policy, "The first such full work day lost will not be made up. All subsequent emergency closings would be made up at the end of the school year with up to five additional days scheduled into the calendar for that school year. If there are less than five days needed to cover the emergency days, the school board shall declare the school year to end according to the amount of days not used."
Currently Fillmore Central has declared five snow days, which the policy mandates four should be made up. The board considered a few possibilities for satisfying this policy or reducing the four days the policy dictates to be made up.
One of the options was to make up a couple days around Easter weekend. The board did not find this option very appealing since they believe some families have already made plans for that weekend.
Another option was extending the school year by four days. If this approach is taken, school would end on June 9, not June 3. This also depends on whether or not there will be any more snow days this year in response to the unusual winter.
The final option was to make up a couple of days and not bother about the remaining ones of the five days stated in the policy. This is again being considered due to possible family plans that have been already set.
The board will discuss the matter again at its March meeting.
Summer food program
Superintendent Richard Keith recently discovered the elementary school and the Root River Program qualify for a food service program due to low incomes in the area indicated by census data. As such, the elementary school and Root River Program could provide two free meals per day to any child in the school district, aged 18 and under.
The high school does not qualify for this food program, but because the Amish are considered in the elementary school and Root River Program area, the Preston school is qualified.
The food program typically consists of three different food items for breakfast and five different food items for lunch. No approval is necessary for those who come to eat, but they must be 18 or under, and the school must record the number of meals given out.
If the school chooses to do this program, the board must decide whether to use a food caterer or provide the food themselves. They also must determine the number of days per week the program would be available.
Superintendent Keith has spoken with Rushford-Peterson Public Schools to see how this program works for their school. They have said the program works well and some families drive ten miles into town to feed their children those two meals.
No decision has been made regarding this program as yet. But the school may need to send people in for training in March or April while they apply for it, if the school approves the program. They would also have to hire a director to handle it for the summer and Christmas, if they choose to supply food for the winter break.
Baseball field improvements
The board also approved the purchase of the fence and fence topper for the baseball field at the elementary school. Dean of Students Chris Mensink had received bids from two fencing companies to complete the baseball field. He also has received donations from Ag Star, the Fillmore Central Booster Club and the Preston Community Foundation for the baseball field renovations.
This year the food service contract and multi-coverage insurance expires. The board approved a resolution to seek bids for these services.
Several changes have been made in the personnel realm as well. Custodian Cheryl Tesch, working at the elementary school has resigned from the position, which the board accepted. As she leaves, the board discussed reducing the overall custodial time by 2.5 hours per day. Several members of the board expressed concern that reducing the overall hours would be taking a step in the wrong direction. Therefore, they suggested running an advertisement for the position opening in the paper. The advertisement was approved.
The spring coaches for the upcoming sports season were also approved. These coaches include Tim Ostrom for B-squad softball and Travis Malley for eighth grade softball, David Broadwater for B-squad baseball and Doc Schoepski and Jeff Dick for seventh grade baseball, Brad Holten for boys golf, Lane Powell for girls golf and Aaron Mensink for junior high golf.
The school board approved an extension to Jeanette Burns' maternity leave, beginning March 31. With her leave beginning, the board also approved extending the time for Terry Sinn as Mrs. Burns' long-term substitute.
Finally, the board approved the termination of services with ProCare for a school psychologist. They have secured the services of Brian Feight who will be working under a contract through Kingsland.