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Fillmore Central School Board discusses land owned by school

Fri, Jan 31st, 2014
Posted in Fountain Education

The Fillmore Central School Board recently hashed out the confusing details of a one-acre parcel of land apparently legally owned by the school. The land is wooded, and located two miles south of Preston. A country school was once located there, and then the Preston School District. There is some confusion and no records as to the change in ownership after that time, but the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce has been paying the taxes. They are now questioning why they are doing so, when the parcel technically belongs to the school.

The subject came to the school board in 2008, and it was decided at that time to take no action.

Board member Deb Ristau had looked back on meeting records. She remembered the board deciding at that time that the legal fees and other costs associated with selling the land or giving it away would be significant. Also, there is some discrepancy in the description of the land and some confusion as to the exact location.

At the time, the board considered giving that land to the Boy Scouts, but Ristau found the Boy Scouts organization cannot own land. There was also some discussion about giving the land to the Game Havens, as they can own land and have used it before.

The board did not take any action at this time. They will be getting more information and finding out if anyone wants the property or if anyone is using it. They will speak with the owner of the adjacent land as well, and working with Scott Springer, the attorney that approached the district on behalf of the chamber, to see about getting the legal details worked out.


The board went over organizational items for 2014. Chairperson will remain Ross Kiehne, and Vice Chairperson Craig Britton. The clerk will now be Jim Love, with Shelly Topness as Vice Clerk and Sue Sikkink as Treasurer.

Board salaries for 2014 will remain the same.

Committee assignments will stay the same, with the exception of Emily Ellis taking Special Education Advisory Council, and trading with Sue Sikkink, who will be on the Meet and Confer Committee.

Official depositories are First SE Bank in Harmony, F&M Community Bank in Preston, First State Bank in Fountain, and MSDLAF (Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund).

Official newspapers are the Republican-Leader, News Record, and the Fillmore County Journal.

Official stations for school closings are KQYB, KFIL, KROC, KNXR, KTTC, and Harmony and Preston Local Cable Channels.

The official school district legal counsel is Knutson, Flynn, and Deans.


The board approved the hire of Marsha Dowe as a homebound instructor for five hours a week. It was also approved to increase the hours of a high school paraprofessional by two hours a day due to increased student needs.

Maternity leave was approved for Carrie Mathison, high school art teacher. Liisa Wand was hired as a long-term substitute to take her place.

Spring coaches were approved. Tris Tollefson is the head softball coach, Keith Larson head baseball, Lane Powell head girls golf, and Brad Holten head boys golf.

Jackie Whitacre was approved the director of the spring play.

It was approved to allow a student studying Special Education at Minnesota State Moorhead, Brian Feight, shadow Special Ed Director Micki Breitsprecher for 160 hours this winter and spring.

Vehicle Purchase

The district’s 22-year-old truck used for custodial purposes needs to be replaced. The board approved the purchase of a 2003 Chevy Silverado from McKean’s in Harmony. With the trade-in of the old truck, the total cost will be $9,500.

City of Harmony easement

The street behind the high school, 1st Ave SW in Harmony, will be undergoing reconstruction this summer that will involve the sidewalks at the school. The engineer for the project determined the easement falls a few feet short of where the sidewalk actually is, and they need to have it updated before funding can be put in place for the project. The board approved.

Other Business

The board approved keeping the driver’s training fees the same for 2014, at $330 for Fillmore Central students, $380 for students outside the district, and $40 per hour for behind the wheel time.

The February meeting was changed to Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m. at the Preston Elementary.

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