This summer has seen a lot of renovations and updates performed at both the Fillmore Central Elementary School in Preston and the high school in Harmony. Principal Heath Olstad and Dean of Students Chris Mensink updated the school board of the progress being made in that regard at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 22.
"The sprinkler company is in working on putting it into place. Things are going in the right direction and we should be ready when school starts," Olstad stated.
Superintendent Richard Keith also notified the board of a recent incident regarding a running faucet. As he looked into programming the new sign in front of the high school, he heard running water. After further investigation, he found water running above the band storage room. It had been running for about four hours, but it was good to have caught it in that time frame before extensive damage was inflicted in the rooms.
The water damage was primarily to the band storage room and office spaces, the majority of which included ceiling tile. As yet, there is no confirmation of damage to instrument cases and a piano.
Service Master was called in right away with equipment to quickly dry the area and avoid mold issues. Keith anticipates the total cost of the damage to be under $5,000 with a $2,500 deductible from the school's insurance policy.
For the elementary school, Mensink conveyed the news the work in the rooms within the building is completed and work has started on the parking lot. He also noted that on Monday, July 21, contractors began tearing apart the lab to be converted into two Title I rooms.
With the work going on at the elementary school, concerns were discussed of people showing up late to work because the school doors were not opened at the right time. The board suggested programming the doors at earlier times so they would not have to wait for getting to work on time.
Walk-in freezer
Keith informed the board of the desire to buy a new walk-in freezer for the kitchen at the Harmony site. The current freezer was purchased second-hand and, over the past year, it proved to be rather unreliable. Much time and money has been put into fixing it, but the time has come to buy a new freezer, he said.
Keith received a bid from Kingsley Mercantile in Harmony as well as a company in Rochester. There was a minimal difference between the two bids of about $200, with Kingsley Mercantile having the higher bid. However, Keith recommended purchasing the freezer from Kingsley Mercantile, as it is a local business and would be servicing the freezer in the future, for $16,096.
The board approved the purchase with Keith's recommendation.
Changes for the 2014-2015 handbooks were read for a second time regarding e-cigarettes, consequences of bad choices thereof, the student use of the school's computers, prom and determining honors for students in high school. In the elementary school handbook, the vision and mission statement are to be updated. Furthermore, Mensink asked that the handbook include language encouraging parents to send healthy lunches and snacks to school, ensuring nutritional value.
Mensink commented the new athletic clock has been utilized for the first time and the teams thought it was outstanding. In addition, the new electronic sign is due to be erected soon, within the next few weeks. The gyms are now ready for the sports season to begin, and the new banners ordered for the gym have arrived. Football starts on Monday, Aug. 4.
Director of Special Education Micki Breitsprecher submitted her monthly report stating the first family picnic hosted by the Special Education Advisory Committee has changed venues. Originally it was to take place on Aug. 19 in Harmony. However, due to the construction, it has been transferred to the Harmony Community Center and will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. This picnic is to give families with students receiving special education services to network and hear new information regarding special education services and laws.
Breitsprecher also informed the board of a grant opportunity for schools in September or October. It is a one-time fund to spend down excess revenue. The grant must be spent by December.
The board approved several personnel changes for the school staff. The school's employment of Mary Breon in the day care program was terminated, effective immediately, and Brook Ruesink resigned as co-director of the summer recreational program.
The board also received a request from Janelle Thorman for an extension on her maternity leave through September.
Several coaches were hired as well. Kelsey Ristau will coach seventh grade volleyball. Kristi Bren and Tiffany Scheevel have volunteered to coach ninth grade volleyball. Ashley Case has been appointed to coach B-squad rather than ninth grade volleyball as the board had previously approved.
The board also granted a request for additional custodial hours due to the construction. They approved the allowance of 10 additional hours per week for Dustin Ferri, starting immediately and continuing through the end of August.
Other business
The board accepted and thanked Morem Electric for donating their employee time, materials and equipment use during the installation of the new electronic sign in Harmony.
The board approved renewing its membership in the Minnesota School Boards Association. The membership dues are based on the "average daily membership of students served" for the previous fiscal year. Fillmore Central's dues are $3,099 for the association dues and $595 for policy services.
Due to state laws, adult meal prices served at the school must be at least $3.40. Previously, the board had approved the cost of $3.35 per meal. However, with the new minimum requirement, the board raised the adult price to $3.50 to allow leeway for future increases.
Changes were also made for the kindergarten milk break. Because of state funding, the board approved reducing the milk break price from $35 per semester to $15 per semester.
The board preapproved issuance of checks to a new account to be opened with Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund for handling the funds associated with summer projects.
Finally, the board approved the adoption of revisions within nine of the board’s policies including bullying, public and private data, protection and privacy of pupil records, student medication, student disability nondiscrimination, use of peace officers and crisis teams to remove students with Independent Education Plans (IEPs) from school grounds, district curriculum and instruction goals, curriculum development and school district system accountability.