At their July 25 meeting, the Fillmore Central School Board approved putting to the voters a vote on revoking the current referendum revenue authorization of $292.15 per pupil and replacing it with a new authorization of $783.86 per pupil. The new authorization would be subject to an annual increase at the rate of inflation. The current referendum is set to expire in one more year. The new referendum, if passed, would be first levied in 2023 for taxes payable in 2024 and be applicable for 10 years.
There will be informational meetings regarding the proposed referendum held at Fountain, Preston, and Harmony at the end of September and beginning of October. The polling location for the referendum will be at the Preston district office; voting will take place between 5 and 8 p.m. Absentee ballots will be available for voters. Flyers will be created to be distributed to the citizens to further explain the referendum and the need for an increase.
Another referendum is in effect for Fillmore Central and is set to expire in five years. Increased expenses, the end of COVID funding, and a declining enrollment have all played a role in the need for the new referendum.
Election judges hourly pay rate was set at the accustomed rate for judges; the judges are trained by the county.
The board has been consulting with Baker Tilly; a representative will be available at the informational meetings for specific questions.
An estimated example of the property tax increase was shared. For a $300,000 home, the authorization of the new referendum would increase the additional taxes from $130.24 with the current referendum to $349.46, an increase of $219.21 per year. Commercial/Industrial property worth $500,000 would see an increase of $365.56 per year, from $217.07 to $582.43 yearly with the new referendum.
In other business, the board approved resignations from Coy Pederson from his high school English position and Nicholas Woelfel from his 4⁄5 lead teaching position.
Contracts were renewed with a three-year contract with Melissa Simonson in Mental Health; a change to a 0.4 FTE, two-year contract with SPED Director Micki Breitsprecher to provide more time in the building; a three-year contract was approved with Superintendent Heath Olstad.
Courtney Sivesend was hired as lead teacher in the One Block at a Time area.
Two MOUs (memorandum of understandings) were approved. The first has Juneteenth replacing New Year’s Eve as paid holiday, keeping the number of paid holidays for full-time employees at 10.
The second MOU gives retired teachers who return to teach college level courses a salary of step one on the master’s lane. Teachers who teach a dual enrollment class which gives college credits must have a master’s degree.
The board approved the mandatory in-person learning plan; this will be revisited in six months. Policies for Fillmore Central were approved; the policies are in line with the MSBA suggestions. Handbooks for K-6, 7-12, faculty, paraprofessionals, and coaches were approved after their second readings.
The Long Term Facilities Maintenance Plan was approved by the board. This 10-year plan must be submitted to the state by July 3.
A credit card for BP fuel purchases was approved; the credit card will be used for a 15 cent a gallon discount on fuel purchases at BP gas station in Preston.
Adult meal prices for the coming year were set at $5 for lunch and $3 for breakfast. Computer usage fees were set the same as last year – 9-12 graders will pay $45, 7-8 graders will pay $25, and K-6 graders and families who qualify for free and reduced lunches will pay no fees.
Elementary supply fees will remain at $25 per student. Supply lists for other students as well as class list assignments will be coming out in August.
With fall approaching quickly, fall sports organization is beginning. The three-day youth football camp will be canceled due to the hot weather conditions. The sports eligibility meeting will be held online again this year; this must be completed before practice begins for fall sports. A baseline concussion test will be held on August 11.
The board accepted very generous donations of $24,651.34. A heartfelt thank you was given to all the donors.
The next Fillmore Central School Board meeting will be held August 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Fillmore Central Elementary School in Preston; the public is welcome to attend.