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Fillmore Central approves 2010/2011 budget


Fri, Jun 25th, 2010
Posted in Education

Fillmore Central Superintendent Myrna Luehmann spoke to the school board recently about a referendum in the fall. Luehmann said the last levy, which was for an extra $400 per pupil unit, will be sunsetting this year. It was a ten-year levy, and even if they don't want to make any changes, the levy has to go to the voters. She recommended they ask to keep the levy as is for another ten years. She also recommended they form a committee to help with the decision as to what to ask for during the voting process.

Luehmann said they could ask for it to continue for another ten years, which will mean no changes to tax payers. They could also ask for an extra amount of money if desired. According to Luehmann, the maximum levy is for $1,567, so their $400 is "not exorbitant by any means." The average levy in Minnesota is for $995.

"We have tried really hard not to raise property taxes," said Luehmann.

The board needs to make a decision on what they will be asking for by July. A committee consisting of Jim Love, Sue Ostrom, and Craig Britton was formed, and they will report at the next meeting.

Operating Budget

The budget committee presented the operating budget for 2010-2011 to the board, and it was approved. Board member John Torgrimson said the expenditures were down, but the revenues were down as well. He also mentioned that the unreserved funds in the general fund are at 10 percent of the total expenditures. The auditor had said this was not bad, but recommended they shoot for 16 percent.

Torgrimson said they would be staying at ten percent. He added that it wasn't too bad, considering the fiscal climate and the fact that the school is down 25 students next year, which means a loss of $125,000.

"It's a fair budget given our circumstances," said Torgrimson. "We're not moving forward, but we're not moving backward, either."

Ag Course

High school ag/shop teacher Lisa Sackreiter presented a summer agriculture course to the board. according to state regulations, a student must have an ag course to be involved in FFA. Luehmann said this is not a new regulation, but one that has not been enforced before. Sackreiter said some of her students have a very full schedule and have a hard time getting an Ag class during the year. This summer traveling course would fill those requirements.

Sackreiter has been working on this plan with two other Ag teachers from Fillmore County. There are already 41 students signed up for a trip to South Dakota for five days in July. Five of these students are from Fillmore Central. From July 26-30, students will ride a bus to South Dakota, where they will visit many different sites. They will also have laptops and assignments to go along with those sites. They will be visiting places such as the Cleghorn Springs Fish Hatchery, the Sertoma Butterfly House, McCrory Gardens, Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, and Custer State Park.

The total cost of the trip, including transportation and lodging, is $4,800. Sackreiter said they received a grant from MAELC (Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council) that will cover half the cost of the coach bus, plus a partial stipend for three teachers. The cost to students is $200, plus the cost of meals. However, Sackreiter said the FFA budget is paying for everything except the cost of meals.

Sackreiter asked the board for approval of the trip, and also for them to allow for the course to be one-half a credit for the students.

High school Principal Heath Olstad said he believes it will be a great opportunity for the students who want to go, and it would be great to offer them a half credit. However, he felt they needed a bit more information and details before deciding if the course would be worth any credits. His concern was for future years, if they choose to do this sort of thing again.

Luehmann mentioned seeing a syllabus for the trip. Olstad said they didn't need to decide on the credits right away, since the students who are going will not be going for the credit, but for the chance to be in FFA.

The board was very supportive of the trip and appreciative of all of Sackreiter's work. They will be deciding on the credits at a later date.

Sackreiter said most of her FFA officers are high achieving students who are very busy, and she would hate to lose them because of the regulation.

There are other opportunities for students to get an ag course that would qualify them for FFA. Sackreiter mentioned an independent study. This year, she will also be the Youth Services and School to Work Coordinator, which will allow her to help the students qualify as well.

Staff and Coaches

Five teachers were approved to receive tenure this year. Marsha Dowe teaches at the Root River Program, Becky Mueller teaches high school math, Lisa Sackreiter is the high school ag teacher, Aaron Janssen a high school social studies teacher, and Jolene Nelson teaches fourth grade.

The board approved the resignation of Terry Willford, a full-time custodian. They also approved the increase in hours for Cheryl Tesch. She will be taking Willford's place, and going from four hours a day to eight. Luehmann said they will need to hire a part-time custodian.

The board also approved the hire of Tom Siebenaler for the second grade teaching position. Luehmann said he has subbed for the district before and done a very good job.

Tara Shanks has been hired for the district office administrative assistant position. She will be working five hours a day during the school year and five hours a week during the summer months.

The board approved Montgomery's recommendations for fall coaching positions. According to Montgomery, there are larger numbers of students going out for football than last year. The head coach will be Chris Mensink, with Siebenaler being the assistant coach. Darrin Ellsworth will coach tenth graders, Aaron Janssen the ninth graders, and Tim Ostrom and Tris Tollefson coaching junior high.

In volleyball, there are about 43 students signed up. Denise Case will be the head coach, with Travis Malley coaching B-squad. Erin Becker and Brenda Ryan will coach Junior High volleyball.

Fees and Salaries

The board looked at the hot lunch, breakfast and milk fees for 2010-2011 and decided to keep them the same. They also kept student fees, admission fees, and sports season pass fees the same.

The pay for substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, custodians, and van drivers were all kept the same as last year.

Other Business

Mensink presented Montgomery with a $2,000 check for the athletic department. This money was raised during a recent fundraiser. Mensink said the money will go toward the ninth grade football uniforms.

The board members will have a quick special meeting on July 21 at 7 a.m. to approve the Aid Anticipation certificates, due to the deadline being July 23.

The board approved the Athletic Committee's recommendation that Jane Montgomery get paid mileage one way for driving between the two buildings. This is the same pay that teachers get.

Mensink informed the board that the project at the middle school is moving along as scheduled.

Daniel Beck declined the position for the .33 FTE high school physical education position. They will continue to look for someone to fill the spot.

The board also approved the following items:

•Contracts for administrative assistant, business manager, and bookkeeper;

•The calendars for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, with adjustments;

•Membership in the Minnesota Rural Education Association for the next year;

•The first readings of the high school student and staff handbooks, as well as the elementary and Root River Program handbooks;

•A resolution for Aid Anticipation certificates for indebtedness.

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