School hires business managers

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont School Board approved the hire of a new business manager Tuesday.

Superintendent Joe Brown recommended the board contract with Bradley Carlton for a fee of $60,000, beginning Oct. 1 and running through June 30. Carlton is familiar with the district as he has performed the school’s audit for the past several years. Carlton will work on site two days per week and be available via email the rest of the time.

He replaces Sue Nelson, who is retiring after 32 years with the district.

The board also approved hiring Christopher Muhvich as the business manager beginning April 1 at an annual salary of $75,000. Muhvich has a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance with a minor in business administration from Minnesota State-Mankato. Muhvich previously worked for the Albert Lea School District for two years and currently is employed as the business manager for the Hiawatha Valley Education District in Winona.

From April to May, Carlton will serve as a mentor to Muhvich.

“We have a good team with Brad and Chris,” said board member Del Ellis, pointing out that the district will save $21,000 by hiring Carlton, then Muhvich.

Turning to another matter, the board heard the 2017-2018 Student Achievement Report from Jodi Kristenson.

“The goal of our assessment system is really threefold,” said Kristenson, explaining that these are proficiency, growth and curriculum effectiveness.

She went through the district’s MCA test scores in math, reading and science. Kristenson pointed out that over the past four years, in comparison to the state, the Fairmont district’s math scores have increased by 4 percent and reading scores by 8 percent.

“Science might be an area where we want to look at the curriculum in terms of alignment because there’s not improvement like the others,” Kristenson said.

She has been comparing Fairmont’s scores with those of neighboring districts, as well as with districts that have a good reputation, and has been pleased with her findings.

“I have found only one that can exceed our rates of growth,” Kristenson said.

She wrapped up her report by saying, “We do have a lot to celebrate. We have seen steady increases, which across the state is not common.”

The board also heard the 2018-2019 Educational Improvement Plan from Kaleen Schultz.

She started by saying the district goal is, “by May 2019 student achievement of free and reduced subgroup will increase by 3 percent on the MCA assessment in reading and math.”

Schultz then explained that action steps have been set that will help the district reach the goal.

In other news:

o It was reported that the school board candidate forum will be held at 8 p.m. tonight at City Hall. There are four candidates running to fill three seats. They are: Rufus Rodriguez, Mike Edman, John Gibeau and Martha Myren. The public is welcome to attend.

o It was reported that the staff welfare committee has decided that all students in grades K-12 will be able to get in free to all sporting and school events, including the fall musical.

“We want kids coming to the school activities and enjoying them,” Ellis said.

“For anyone worried about the loss of revenue, we’re confident that this will boost the concession purchases,” Rodriguez said.

“I’m not aware of any other school in the country that’s making this available,” Brown said.