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Fillmore Central approves attempt for $300,000 referendum

Fri, Jul 30th, 2010
Posted in Education

At the regular meeting on July 27, the Fillmore Central School Board approved trying for a referendum levy during the election this fall. Superintendent Myrna Luehmann explained there is a current referendum of $400 per pupil unit that will be sunsetting in the next year. She recommended they ask to replace that $400, and add another $100 to make up for money that will be cut from the state.

Board member Craig Britton said there will be a five percent cut in funding from the state, and that is not money that is being pushed back until later, it is just being cut. This comes to about $300,000 that the district will not be receiving.

Britton said the Estimated Tax Impact at $500 per pupil unit for a $100,000 home would be an extra $28 a year. For a $200,000 house, it would be an increase of $56 a year. The committee decided they should just ask on the ballot whether or not people approve of the $500 referendum.

Board member Sue Ostrom commented that the extra $100 would still not go very far in a district with about 700 students. Britton said they thought the extra $100 was a reasonable request with those tax impacts.

Luehmann said they are still under the state average for referendums. She said the cap is $1,567, and Fillmore Central would still be under $1,000. This referendum would affect residential or houses, not agricultural land.

Luehmann noted that referendums used to be used for special projects once in a while, and these days most districts have them, basically just to keep the doors opened.

Testing Results

K-12 Principal Heath Olstad spoke to the board about testing results from MCS tests taken during the spring. Olstad said these results are preliminary, and they won't receive the final report for a couple of weeks yet.

Students in grades 3-8 and 10 took a reading test, and the results show they are right at the state average. Olstad said the math results were a little below state average. Grades 3-8 and 11 took the math tests.

Olstad said the math results at the high school level were concerning. Of the juniors that took the test, only 19 percent of them were proficient. Olstad said there is a higher number that passed the graduation portion of the test.

"We need to work together as a team to improve," said Olstad.

Students in grades 5-8 had 71-72 percent proficiency, which Olstad said is right at the state level. Those grades also did well on the math test. The elementary students did well on both reading and math.

Luehmann said the good news is that the test results mean the district is no longer on AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) probation, as they made their goals.

Middle School Project

Construction project manager Greg Fogarty updated the school board on the HVAC project that has been going on at the middle school building all summer. According to Fogarty, things have been moving along really well, and there won't be any problem to have things completed by the time school starts again September 7.

Fogarty said the boiler room looks a lot different now, as the new boilers are very small and very high-tech compared to the old one. He said they have received good inspections from the state. The completion date is August 15. There will be cleaning crews doing a lot of clean-up during August to get the building ready for students. New ceilings were put in all of the rooms. Staff will be moving back to the regular district office in the next week.

Special Ed. Report

Special education director Michelle Breitsprecher spoke to the board about the Compliance Review that was held during the last school year and went over the final report. She said Fillmore Central's special ed. department did very well. They sent out surveys to parents and received some of them back with good information. The special ed. teachers and paraprofessionals also filled out surveys.

The state went through every file in special ed. to look for compliance issues. According to Breitsprecher, they received 50 citations, which she was happy about. If they corrected those citations in 60 days, they did not show up on the final report. The final report showed only 22 violations.

"I was really impressed with how hard the staff worked," said Breitsprecher. She added that they did a site visit and toured all of the district's buildings. They received a lot of positive comments about the rooms and special ed. facilities.

Breitsprecher said the next step is to make all of the corrections, which are due in April.

"There are definitely things to work on, but we know there are definitely things we are doing well."

Other Business

At a special meeting on July 21, the board accepted the resignation of custodial supervisor Blaine Moe. The facility committee said they received 15 applications for the position, interviewed six people, and have one person they are planning to hire.

The board approved the transportation contract with Harmony Transit for 2010-2012. Board member John Torgrimson said there will be no changes in the bus routes this year, but they are going to evaluate the routes and possibly make changes the second year. He said there is a one percent increase this year and another one percent the second year.

Luehmann said there is an MSBA summer seminar that she will be attending, as they are having a session on referendums. This will be on August 5-6. There will also be an MREA (Minnesota Rural Education Association) meeting at Dover-Eyota School on August 26 from 1-3 p.m.

The school board approved the lease with the city of Harmony for the Root River Program. The program rents rooms at the Community Center to use for classrooms. Breitsprecher said they will need one less room this year, and the contract is for three years instead of one. She added there is a $250 a month increase in rent.

The board approved the recommendations from the Policy Committee for several policies that have been either added or revised.

The board also approved the following items:

-An open enrollment request from a family in Cherry Grove

-An early kindergarten admit for a child who will turn five the day after school starts;

-Membership in the MSBA (Minnesota School Board Association);

-The second reading of the school handbooks;

-The agreement for the custodians for 2010-2012. They will have a two percent increase the first year and a freeze the second year, like other employees.

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