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FC board discusses tennis court options

Fri, Mar 30th, 2007
Posted in Education

PRESTON - Preston City Council member Heath Mensink and Preston City Administrator Joe Hoffman attended the Fillmore Central School Board meeting last Tuesday to discuss the possibility of purchasing land for a tennis court. At the February meeting, it was brought up that the city wanted to purchase half an acre of land from the school on the northwest corner of the property in Preston. Physical Education teachers were concerned about taking away green space where a 7/8 football field could be in the future.

Mensink stated at the meeting that the Park Board was considering a new spot for the tennis courts, which would be just west of where the old ones were. This spot would not take away space near the football field, but there would have to be a lot of dirt cut away to make the ground level. He added that parking would be on the street.

Board members agreed that it would be in the best interest of the district to sell land rather than lease it, due to potential liability issues. The school does not want to have any financial responsibility for upkeep of the courts. They agreed to allow the city to consider this area for their project, among the other areas they are looking at.

The Preston Park Board has looked into several spots in town, and many options have a lot of added expenses, such as storm water and sewer main issues. They have also had difficulty finding level ground.

Dimensions for the entire court area are 122 feet by 112 feet. According to Hoffman, tennis courts must run north and south due to the position of the sun.

Physical Education teachers Diane Hadoff and Maggie Walsh were also in attendance, and were asked their opinions on the new location. They both expressed concerns about losing green space for P.E. and recess.

"We're limited with what we have right now," stated Walsh.

Hadoff added that cutting the dirt out could take away from the area where children go sledding in the winter.

"We have 16 sections of P.E. here every day," said K-8 Principal Brenda Lentz. She also asked if the board would be willing to support a tennis curriculum if the courts were placed on their land, since tennis equipment can be expensive. Chairman Ron Stevens answered that they would be one-time expenses, and the board would support that.

Lentz and the P.E. teachers understand where the city is coming from, and agree that tennis courts would be a benefit to the city and the school.

Mensink also mentioned that the school has $30,000 set aside from selling the old tennis courts to the Department of Transportation for the Highway 52 project. The board has agreed to use some of that money for new courts. The city would have to come to the board with their plan no matter where in town they decide to construct them.

Community Education Report

Director of Community Ed. Holly Kanengieter was hired last fall, and came to the board for the first time to give a report on how things are going. She has been working on the budget with staff members, trying to find ways to save money and bring more money in.

"I found that we have half the loss that we had last year," stated Kanengieter. "Our hope is to continue to improve, so we are no longer in the red."

For the Summer Rec. program, Ryan Scheevel has been hired as the director in both the Harmony and Preston areas. An assistant will be hired to help him. They are currently working on getting coaches and other staff hired.

Kanengieter stated that the SAC (School Age Care) program has been chosen to be part of a two-year national study. There are 60 other sites that are part of the study, and it will not cost the school anything. They are working on staff development, staff to student ratios, a 4-H after school program, and recruiting new students.

The daycare is under a new contract as of March 19, and according to Kanengieter, most families are happy with the changes. They have not lost any families due to the price increase.

Transportation fees will be reinstated next year for the school readiness program. The fees will cover some of the expenses of transporting kids to and from school. Students are bringing snacks to school, and some papers are being sent home to save on postage. It is hoped that by 2009 they will not be losing money each year.

The Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program hired a new coordinator last fall, Sara Wayne. She has been working at getting more families involved. They have not found a Parent Educator as of yet. They will be celebrating the Week of the Young Child with a carnival activity the week of April 22-27.

Community Ed. also includes the Youth Enrichment Services (YES), which has been coordinated by Heather Shupe. She works with students in various after-school activities throughout the year.

"We are also working on a community relations project together with the EDA and the Parent Teacher Committee," shared Kanengieter. "We're looking to find ways to promote the school and work with local businesses."

Maintenance Projects and Insurance

A bid was received from Building Restoration Corporation for the masonry repair project at the high school. The bid of $218,330 included two small areas that will be finished off as well. The board approved the bid on the contingency that the price will not be higher than what is bid. Superintendent Myrna Luehmann will be getting more information on what the bid covers.

Luehmann also updated the board on the capital improvement projects. There will be roof repairs made in the middle school, as well as some work done to the high school gym wall. Asbestos removal will be taking place this summer at the high school.

Luehmann stated that the replacement value of the high school building in their insurance policy was off, and they are only covered for $6.9 million. To increase the insurance coverage would cost 12 cents per $100. The board approved increasing the replacement coverage to $10 million for now, at a cost of $4,800.

Staff Changes

Custodians have been hired to start working April 1. The contract with Marsden will end at the end of March. Last month Blaine Moe was hired as the Building and Grounds Supervisor. He has helped in the hire of Bernie Hurley, Ron McCallister, Rita McConnell, Thomas Frederick, Alan Dungan, Glen Winslow and Mike Carlson as custodians at both Harmony and Preston sites. The board approved the hire of two high school students to do custodial work 32 hours per week for ten weeks in the summer.

The board approved the hire of a special tutor for four hours a week at the high school. They also approved the hire of Jodi Daniels and Danette Grimsrud in the after school Study Buddy Program for four hours a week at the middle school. Lentz explained that a change in Title I funds left them with money that needed to be spent by the end of the year.

Nicole Long was hired as a Lead Teacher Assistant in the toddler room of the daycare. Her resignation as a paraprofessional was accepted.

The resignation of Del Elston as a football coach was also accepted, with acknowledgment of his many years of excellent work for Fillmore Central.

Other business

• There was an adjustment in the contract for the support staff. A sentence was removed that stated the longevity pay would not apply in future contracts. The staff has always had these steps in pay raises that correspond with how long they have worked there. The contract is now being left as it was when the staff was a part of the union.

• The revised budget for 2006-2007 was approved, with a $30,000 difference.

• A Field Agreement with Luther College was approved for student teachers.

• It was determined that the Root River Ed. District will continue through the rest of the school year, and then be dissolved. Luehmann will continue to speak with Zumbro Valley Ed. District about joining them next year.

• The seniors are leaving for their trip to Washington, D.C. on March 29 and will return April 7.

• Lentz stated that 37 families attended kindergarten round-up on March 8.

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