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Fillmore Central School Board: Parent-Teacher Committee hopes to be active in promoting district

Fri, May 25th, 2007
Posted in Education

PRESTON - Representatives from the Fillmore Central Parent-Teacher Committee (PTC) were at the Tuesday, May 22, school board meeting to speak about some of the issues they have been focusing on in their meetings. According to President Leslie Christensen, the committee, which was formed in November, has had six meetings so far, and they now have 20 members. The members of the group are hoping to learn more about and to participate in what goes on in the school, as well as to help make a difference in the community.

Christensen stated one of the things they have been talking about is how to better promote the school. Some of the ideas they came up with were to update the packet that is given to new parents, to create a new brochure for the school, and to create a mission statement for the school. She also mentioned contacting local newspapers and advertising upcoming events, the school calendar, student accomplishments and other school news. The members of the committee would also be willing to be phone representatives and answer questions that people have about the district.

Board members agreed that promoting the school more was an excellent idea, and decided that the Public Relations Committee would meet with the PTC soon to discuss some of these options.

Media Specialist Request

Jill Eerdmans has worked at Fillmore Central as the Media Specialist for five years now, and was a teacher before that. She came before the school board at the meeting to ask for more money in the budget for purchasing new library books.

Eerdmans explained to the board that her goal working in the school library is to help students become information literate and make the library as user-friendly and up to date as possible. She has recently spent a lot of time weeding old books out of the middle school library. The average copyright date of the books was 1984, and she has had to place warning stickers in old non-fiction books, warning students that some of the information may be outdated.

Federal Title V money usually received for new books has gone down drastically every year the past five years, and may be completely gone this next year. Right now, there is $1,000 budgeted for buying new books in each library every year, which according to Eerdmans can not buy a lot of books.

The proposal from Eerdmans was to add $5,000 to the middle school library budget for the 2007-2008 school year, then add $5,000 for the elementary school in 2008-2009 and the high school in 2009-2010. The one-time raise in funds could help replace many of the books that have been weeded out.

Eerdmans stressed the importance of kids learning to read and to enjoy books in their lives, and that print resources are still very important in the age of the internet.

"I think that the payoffs are many and in a lot of different directions," said Eerdmans.

There are fundraisers such as the Scholastic Book Fair and money is used from Cash Back for Schools program. Grants received have also paid for subscriptions to Grolier, an online encyclopedia, and the library has cut back on unnecessary periodicals to help get money for new books.

Several board members expressed their belief that the library is an important part of the school and the library deserved more money. Superintendent Myrna Luehmann said she was not sure that the district could afford that much of a jump in the budget. She said the budget would be ready for the board to look at for the June meeting, and they would take the request into account when they worked on it.

Custodial Substitute Wages

Blaine Moe, the Building and Grounds Supervisor, had some concerns about the wages of the substitute custodians that have been covering an open position. He had told them they would be receiving base pay, which is $11.00 per hour. Instead they received $7.75, which is what the district pays all support staff subs, which includes paraprofessionals, cooks, secretaries and custodians.

Moe believed that it would be difficult to find good help to work for $7.75 an hour. The issue of the subs wages had not been discussed before now.

Board members were concerned about paying $11 an hour for a sub as well as someone's wages if they took a sick day or paid leave. Moe explained that right now he has two subs filling in for an open position, and he has not yet decided which one he will hire. The board agreed to pay the long-term subs $11 an hour for the rest of the school year, and before the position is filled will have to discuss what the subs will be paid in the future. Luehmann said they may have to look at all sub positions and decide if they should be paid the base wage or if it should be changed.

Fall Coaches

Coaching positions for fall sports were approved at the meeting. The football head coach will be Chris Mensink, with Heath Olstad as the Assistant Head Coach. Darrin Ellsworth will coach B squad football, Tim Ostrom 9th grade, Nate Carlson 8th grade and Tris Tollefson 7th grade football. Heather Barth will be the football cheerleading coach.

Kristi O'Connor will be the Head Volleyball Coach. Jackie Whitacre will be coaching the B Squad and 9th grade, with Brenda Ryan coaching the 7/8 graders.

There was some question as to whether or not there is enough numbers for a ninth grade football team. Olstad stated that right now there is, but it is hard to predict what will happen in the fall. He added that another coach would definitely be useful either way.

Board member Deb Ristau mentioned that the Baseball Field Dedication ceremony held on May 19 was a huge success, and a lot of people and sponsors were there. She added that there is a group that would like to make a donation for a scoreboard, which would be dedicated to their former baseball coach Norm Larson. According to Ristau, this is a significant donation, as they will either pay for most of the cost or all of a nice scoreboard. The board approved naming the scoreboard in his honor.

Special Ed. Staff

Due to the dissolution of the Root River Education District (RRED), several Special Ed. staff members will be hired by Fillmore Central to do their previous jobs. The salaries that are paid by federal money will come to Fillmore Central instead of RRED. Some of the staff will only be needed a few times a year, and their time will be bought through another district. They will also be hiring teacher positions for the day treatment program. The board approved all hires.

Other business:

The district has asked lawyers to draw up a lease agreement for space that the City of Preston would like to use for tennis courts. The area is near the spot where the old courts were. There will be many stipulations in the lease, such as the city having responsibility and maintaining the area. Brenda Lentz, K-8 Principal, stated that some of the Phys. Ed. staff thought that they would be more involved in the decision, but were not asked to the meeting with the facilities committee and the city of Preston. Members of the committee stated that they would try to get them some information and possibly set up another meeting.

• High school graduation will be held Sunday, May 27 at 1:30 p.m. Kindergarten graduation is Wednesday, May 30 at 10 a.m. and eighth grade graduation will be May 30 at 2 p.m.

• The board approved the resignations of Kaynell Rindels, paraprofessional, and Hollie Clarke, EBD Teacher, and thanked them for their years of service.

• The insurance carrier has been switched from Union Insurance Co. through F&M Bank to Stanton Insurance Company, who had a better price. They will be the insurance carrier through 2010.

The board also approved the following:

• The two-year superintendent contract. The wages the first year will be $87,500 and the second year will be $90,000, an increase of about three percent.

• A child-care leave for the month of September for Erica Try.

• The naming of the football field after former coach Del Elston this fall.

• The staffing changes at all three schools for next year. In the K-8 buildings the FTE will remain the same, and there will be a slight increase in the high school.

Luehmann requested to have a special meeting in June for the board members to discuss the budget and other issues. No decisions will be made at the meeting, which will be Monday, June 18 at 5 p.m. in Preston. The regular board meeting was rescheduled for Monday June 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Harmony.

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