A playground committee consisting of community members and school staff recently met with Midwest Playscapes to discuss upgrades to the elementary school playground areas. Their plans and proposals were presented at the June 26 Fillmore Central School Board meeting. The main K-6 playground is outdated and the surface along with some of the pieces do not meet current safety regulations. The committee’s proposal included new playground equipment with fewer tower structures than the current set to allow for more inclusive play. The surface would be redone with a 12” depth wood fiber material that would make it easy for wheelchair users to move about the playground.
The other playground area is the new fenced-in space at the end of the old football field that will have one space for kids between two and five years old and another for toddlers. The preschool age area would have a wood fiber surface just like the elementary playground and the toddler area would have a poured rubber surface with a concrete base to accommodate children who are still crawling.
The focus for both the elementary playground and the early childhood playground would be on maximizing movement, strength, and agility, as well as being inclusive for all children. A total of $200,000 has been budgeted for the playground upgrades. The board approved the plans.
A $500 donation from MiEnergy Cooperative’s Operation Round up Trust Board to be used for the early childhood playground was approved by the board with their thanks.
High school principal Heath Olstad reported that out of the 2018 Fillmore Central graduates, 29 are planning to attend a four-year college, 18 are planning to attend a two-year college, two are joining the military, and three are entering the workforce. With the high school’s dual credit program, 437 total college credits were earned by the juniors and seniors in the past year. “I want to thank the teachers who put in the work to teach dual credit courses,” Olstad commented. He estimated that at a cost of approximately $250 per credit at college, the program has saved Fillmore Central families around $110,000 in college costs.
Resignations from special education paraprofessional Heidi Brown, ninth grade boys basketball coach and varsity girls softball coach Tris Tollefson, and varsity baseball coach Keith Larson were approved by the board. A resignation from high school building secretary Jane Sagen was approved as well. “Thank you to her for all her wonderful years here,” board member Jim Love said on behalf of the whole board about her 23 years of service.
Special education service contracts were approved with Mary Kautto for Orientation and Mobility Services and the Southern Minnesota Consortium for emotional behavior disorder services for the 2018-19 school year.
Tenure status was approved for teachers Karn Friedges, Pam Jackson, and Duane Ledin.
The Title I Funds for the 2018-19 school year will be increased by approximately $80,000 and so the district would like to hire an additional full-time Title I teacher. Sara Neimeyer was suggested for the position which means that her spot as a third grade teacher in the coming year will be filled by Diane Keith instead. Daron Wiltgen will be hired as the new second grade teacher to replace Keith.
Heidi Brown was hired as a special education teacher in the high school, and Amy Means as a teacher assistant in the 3-4 year old daycare room.
Melissa Simonson was hired as the eighth grade volleyball coach, Tris Tollefson as the seventh grade football coach, and Corey Whalen as the volunteer football coach.
The community education and custodial wages were reviewed and approved for the 2018-29 school year.
Up to 30 hours of tech assistance was approved during the month of June for Aaron Janssen to assist with technology related issues.
Open enrollment requests from a Kingsland student and a Mabel-Canton student were approved by the board.
The #9 school van will reach the end of its use date in December. A quote from Nelson Auto for a new Ford Transit to replace the van was approved by the board.
A quote from Torgerson-Ostby was approved to replace the carpet in the elementary music room. Another quote was approved from Andy Yoder to remove the stage floor in Harmony and replace it with plywood which would then be painted black by school staff.
Music teacher Duane Ledin presented quotes for a percussion workstation, folio cabinet, and timpani set. The current timpani set is 50 years old and two of the four drums are broken. A new set would last about 40 years. The board approved the purchases.
Two quotes from Scheevel & Sons were approved for the Harmony baseball field grading project and the grading and installation of the new parking lot at the field. As the parking lot will be used by the City of Harmony as well, it is contributing $25,000 towards that project.
Memberships with the Minnesota Rural Education Association and the Minnesota School Board Association were renewed by the board.
The district is required by the government to increase food prices for breakfast and lunch by a minimum of $0.05 annually in an effort to reach the established federal per-meal prices. The prices for milk, milk break, and healthy snack cart will not increase. The student activity fees, admission fees, and sports season pass costs were also approved for the upcoming school year.
The pay for the 2018-19 school year was set for substitutes as well as the pay scale for van drivers.
A maintenance agreement with the City of Harmony was approved for the new parking lot next to the Harmony community center. The city will be responsible for snow removal and the school will take care of striping and sealcoating.
The next Fillmore Central School Board meeting will be held on July 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the elementary meeting room.