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Fillmore Central School Board Report: District will end private custodial contract

Fri, Jan 26th, 2007
Posted in Education

A few employees of Marsden Building Maintenance were in attendance at the Fillmore Central School Board meeting Thursday evening as the board discussed their present custodial contract with the private firm.

When the board renewed Marsden's contract in June, they decided to make the contract good for one year, instead of two years, like the previous contract. Some problems had been noted with Marsden over the years, particularly in the area of supervision and maintenance. In approving the one year contract with Marsden, the district agreed to evaluate the contract with the custodial service in the middle of the school year.

The Vendor Committee, which includes Ron Stevens, Craig Britton and John Torgrimson, made their recommendation to the board.

"I think it's a good idea to go with a private group if it saves money," said Torgrimson. "But I think they're [Marsden] interests have been more in profits than what is in the best interests of the district. I think we should look into getting out of the contract."

Torgrimson added that with the district's aging facilities, staying on top of the maintenance needs is a top priority, and something that is not being done. He believes that the district should be able to stay on budget if they go back to working without a private company. It was noted that actual cleaning being done by the company in the two schools had improved somewhat in the past six months.

After some discussion, board members agreed unanimously to give Marsden a required 60 day notice to end their contract.

The district will create a position of Building and Grounds Supervisor that will oversee maintenance and custodial operations.

There are currently four full-time and two half-time Marsden custodial employees between the two sites. They will all be invited to apply to Fillmore Central for new positions with the district.

Facilities Maintenance

• Matt Miller from IEA, an engineering consulting group, was at the meeting to give board members an update of the maintenance and repair needs at all three schools. One thing that the board chose to have completed this year was masonry restoration in the high school of fifteen second floor classroom windows. The other priority for this year will be a west wall in a classroom at the high school in which the exterior wall has pulled away from the floor. There is a gap of approximately an inch. Miller explained that the wall will be stabilized with anchors, either from the outside or the inside. Apparently the problem has been there for several years.

"There is approximately $300,000 of the bond revenue remaining," said Miller. "It should come really close to what you will need."

No Child Left Behind

Each year the district tests the students to check the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) status for the state as part of the No Child Left Behind law. In order to qualify, 95 percent of the students must take the test. According to Luehmann, the test is written by the state and determines whether students are proficient according to the standards set, which are different for each state. When looked at separately, the elementary, middle and high schools each made three stars, which qualifies for AYP. However, when the schools were combined, they fell short of the three stars, specifically in math scores for special education students. Luehmann added that special education students must all take the same test as everyone else, despite their abilities.

Board Organization

The board members organized for fiscal year 2007, including electing officers. All assignments will remain the same as last year: Ron Stevens was chosen chairperson; Deb Ristau Vice-Chairperson; Shelley Topness Clerk, John Torgrimson Vice-Clerk, and Sue Sikkink Treasurer.

There were a few changes made in the committee assignments. A Facility Committee was formed made up of John Torgrimson, Craig Britton and Sue Ostrom to stay on top of the facilities needs.

Other business

• Coaching contracts for the spring sports were approved. In golf, Bonnie Piehn will coach girls varsity, Brad Holten will coach boys' varsity and Lane Powell will coach junior high. Darrin Ellsworth will coach varsity baseball, and JB Mathison will coach B-squad baseball. In softball, Jane Montgomery will coach varsity and Tris Tollefson will coach junior high.

• Mr. LaVerne Paulson and Mrs. Connie Lindstrom will continue to teach Driver's Education. The costs will be raised from $310 to $325 for students attending Fillmore Central. For students outside the district, the fee will be raised from $360-$375. For behind-the-wheel training only, the hourly price will go from $30-$35.

The February meeting has been moved to Monday, February 19 at 6:30 pm in Harmony.

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