Michael Johnson presents a check for $2,300 to Fillmore Central School Board member Emily Ellis for the Elementary School’s Milk Fund.   ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS GROUP
Michael Johnson presents a check for $2,300 to Fillmore Central School Board member Emily Ellis for the Elementary School’s Milk Fund. ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS GROUP
Michael Johnson from Trailside Farms was present at the June 17 meeting of the Fillmore Central School Board where he presented a summary of the Milk Fun[d] Run he organized during Fountain Trail Days on June 8.

He explained he had been surprised to discover some kids weren't able to afford the milk given at the elementary school's milk break. He said it was important to him as a dairy farmer that everyone get milk. He coupled that cause with a desire he had to do something on the Fountain to Preston segment of the Root River bike trail. His farm is located just off of the trail.

Johnson explained that he decided to organize a run to fundraise money for the milk fund. At this year's inaugural event, around 100 people participated in the run that also included farm tours and an awards presentation.

Johnson said he planned on holding the event next year and is looking forward to seeing how the event could be expanded and improved. He then presented a check to go toward the Fillmore Central Elementary School Milk Break Fund for $2,300.

Members of the school board voiced their congratulations and thanks for the contribution.

Credit requirements adjusted

A process for gradual reduction in the number of credits required to graduate was explained by Principal Heath Olstad, which is a result of the school switching to the eight-period day next fall. With the four-period block schedule, the school required 30 credits to graduate and students had the potential to earn 32 if they weren't in band or choir.

With the schedule change and subsequent reduction of certain classes to half or quarter credit, a student will only be able to earn seven credits per year. Olstad said next year's seniors will be required to reach 29 credits; juniors, 28; sophomores, 27; and freshman, 26. Incoming freshman will be able to get a maximum of 28 credits by the time they graduate.

Olstad said it was a numbers game that did not reflect changes in seat-time in those classes. He said physical education and health classes will have less seat time.

Board members asked why Olstad chose to go with this credit system. Olstad said some schools go with a different number of credits based on what they assign for each class.

Board chair Ross Kiehne said there wasn't a standard credit system for high schools.

Olstad reassured the board that the school is still above and beyond meeting the requirements for the number minutes spent in class.

"On paper it looks like we are requiring less, but we aren't," he shared.

Superintendent Richard Keith reminded the board that the reason why they went with the eight-period day was to increase the amount of time students have in subjects like English, math and science.

Principal and dean's reports

Dean of Students Chris Mensink told the board that the annual mini-grant meetings with the local banks had concluded and staff would again be awarded $500 each to spend on field trips and equipment for the classroom. A total of $10,500 was awarded. The mini grants are funded by First Southeast Bank of Harmony, F&M Community Bank of Preston and the First State Bank of Fountain.

As athletic director, Mensink updated the board on the conclusion of the spring sports. He had spoken with the Lanesboro School Board and interested families of those students interested in participating in cross country next fall. The plan to offer the sport next year will move forward.

The athletic/fine arts eligibility meeting will be held on July 30 at the Harmony building at 7 p.m. Mensink said a sports medicine professional will be speaking briefly on head injuries at the meeting.

He mentioned that around 40 students are taking advantage of the summer weight training and agility program.

K-12 Principal Heath Olstad presented the board members a list of future plans for each 2013 graduate. He said a larger percentage of students than in years past will be attending a two-year technical or community college immediately after high school.

He also briefly summarized the school year and said he was looking forward to the next year with the changes in the scheduling and one-to-one computer program.

He commended the mini-grant program and said it was amazing what the banks were doing for the school.

Handbook changes

First readings were approved for several school handbooks.

Mensink presented changes to the K-6 handbook. A new section specified the free will admission charge for music concerts.

Mensink also said class requests from teachers for the following school year will need to be submitted by May 15 of the previous year.

Additions reflecting changes in the milk break and lunch prices were made.

A refined policy on electronic equipment use during the day was also made.

Mensink also said coaches meeting with their players during June and July will need to sign a summer waiver starting in the summer of 2014. All coaches will need to undergo CPR and AED certification training and create emergency protocol. Coaching certification will be required through a Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) online-based class.

Olstad presented the 7-12 student handbook, which saw ticket pricing for future musicals increase to $5 to defray the copyright costs.

The school will be discontinuing the use of the library loaning system through SELCO and will be using another system called Destiny.

Olstad also mentioned some proposed changes to the Senior Class Trip policy to clarify what would disqualify a student from going on the trip. He proposed the change reflect the code of conduct set forward by the MSHSL, which would not allow a student to travel if they are found guilty of alcohol, tobacco or drug use.

"If something takes them out of school activities, it should take them out of the school trip," he said.

Ellis asked how the policy would cover offenses such as burglary. Back and forth discussion was had on how far the district should reach to say what would disqualify a student.

Board member Jim Love said the code of conduct has been vague for a long time.

Board member Shelly Topness said if the school reaches farther than the MSHSL, they could find themselves in unwanted legal trouble.

Olstad recommended the board come back after the first reading of the policy and handbook with their questions and concerns.

Personnel

Under the personnel portion of the meeting, the board approved the elimination of the assistant technology director position. Kiehne explained the school would be creating a full-time technology director position. Minutes later, the hire of Neil Lundgren was approved to be the new full-time technology director. Due to the hire, the school terminated their one-year agreement with Spring Grove to share a technology director.

The Director of Buildings and Grounds position was also eliminated with the understanding that lead custodians would be hired for each building in the district.

The board approved the hire of Angi Kaase as the community education director and Andrew Pederson as the new physical education instructor at the high school.

The following coaches for fall 2013 sports were approved: Travis Malley, B-squad volleyball; Ashley Case, ninth grade volleyball; Kelsey Ristau, eighth grade volleyball; Melissa Simonson, seventh grade volleyball; Kyle Rundquist, assistant varsity football; Andrew Pederson, B-squad football; David Broadwater, ninth grade football; Tim Ostrom, eighth grade football; Tris Tollefson, seventh grade football; and Jim Love, volunteer assistant football.

The board approved Jolene Nelson and Mary Beth Ostrom as teachers and Nancy Broadwater as a paraprofessional for the Title I summer school program.

The board approved three-year contracts for Olstad as the K-12 principal and Richard Keith as the superintendent.

A few changes were also made to the Root River Student Handbook.

Other business

In other business, the school board discussed the following issues.

• The board approved an open-enrollment request for a Mabel-Canton student in kindergarten.

• The board approved the 2013-2014 operating and food service budgets.

• A 10-month lease agreement was made with Head Start for 2013-2014.

• The board approved a renewal contract for the Editure program teaching staff use for professional development.

• Football gate fees were approved to be increased to $6 for adults and $4 for students. This increase is because Fillmore Central will be a part of the new Southern Alliance Football Conference next year and these are standard gate fees. All other fees stayed the same.

• The next school board meeting will be July 23 at 6:30 p.m.