Fairmont Area wins $10K grant

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont School Board on Tuesday accepted a $10,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Monsanto Fund.

The grant is from Monsanto, an agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation. Local farmers nominated the school district for the funds.

The grant has been used to purchase two virtual welders that the STEM 8 class at Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School will use.

Bob Bonin, a careers in technical education teacher at the high school, was present at the meeting to demonstrate the virtual welder and how it is able to give immediate results and feedback.

Two representatives from Monsanto — Daniel Lemmon and Paul Ibberson — attended the meeting to present a check to the district. Lemmon said Monsanto has given out about $4 million in grants since 2011. He thanked the local farmers who nominated the district and the school board for following through and applying for the grant.

“This is a good oppourtunity for the youth and we appreciate the efforts you’ve made,” Lemmon said.

In other business, the board heard an update from principals Kim Niss and Andy Traetow regarding Personalized Learning. It is an approach to learning and instruction designed around individual learner readiness, strengths, needs and interests. Niss reported how excited and nervous they have been about introducing Personalized Learning to the staff and students, but she said that, so far, only six days into the school year, it has been going well.

In another matter, the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 teachers contract was brought to the board and approved.

There will be a 3.287 percent increase for the 2017-18 school year and a 3.104 percent increase for the 2018-19 school year, including salary and fringe benefits.

There also will be an increase in district health insurance contributition, from $8,628 to $8,826.

A 5 percent increase in athletic/fine arts salary is scheduled for 2018-2019, and there will be an increase in 403B contributitions by 20 percent for 2018-2019.

In other business, the board:

o Approved a medical leave request for Superintendent Joe Brown effective Sept. 13 and lasting through Oct. 27. Brown is having triple bypass surgery.

o Heard an update on enrollment numbers for the current school year from Brown. He reported the district is up 48 students this year.