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School board proposes levy

FAIRMONT- The Fairmont school board held their second meeting for the month of October on Tuesday. During the meeting they voted to adopt the largest possible proposed levy and accepted the resignation from Business Manager Chris Muhvich.

The proposed levy would be an increase of approximately $430,879 or 7.34 percent compared to the previous year. Higher enrollment was cited as a primary factor for the larger levy; an increase of around 70 students was calculated based on a formula provided by the Minnesota Department of Education compared to the prior payable year. A smaller factor which contributed to the increase were debt payments for the bond used to construct the high school’s new career and technical education (CTE) center. While the district could decide to reduce the size of the proposed levy before it’s adopted, they cannot increase it after it’s been proposed.

As required by state law, the district must hold a hearing later this year to review the proposed levy with the public before it’s adopted. The board scheduled this hearing for 6 p.m. on December 13 after their regular meeting.

Immediately after the board approved the size of the proposed levy, they voted to accept the resignation of Chris Muhvich; the district’s business manager. Muhvich has worked with the district since 2019 and is outside of Fairmont. The resignation would take effect on October 19.

“We’ve had a great working relationship so it is with regrets that we are considering this tonight. He’s served our district very well in his nearly four years here in Fairmont and we wish he and his family all the best as they make this move and transition,” said Superintendent Andrew Traetow.

Immediately after the meeting began the board heard reports from the district’s principals and directors.

Elementary co-principals, Brian Grensteiner and Michelle Rosen, said the school year continued to progress smoothly and noted the first Parents and Educators Teaming Together (PETT) meeting would be held at 5 p.m. on October 6. The organization helps fundraise and find volunteers for school programs.

High school co-principals, Chad Brusky and Alex Schmidt, said the school’s new cellphone policy has been positively received by staff members and had promoted more interaction and participation among the student body. They also said the high school’s new digital hall pass software has proved to be popular among both students and staff, despite some initial apprehension.

In Superintendent Traetow’s report he noted the majority of the school’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) projects were completed and work on the high school’s CTE center was nearly finished. The superintendent did not have any new information to present concerning health and safety.

Financial business followed the superintendent’s report. The board voted to accept two donations of equipment and materials for the high school’s HVAC program. The first was from Daikin/Stevens Equipment Supply and was worth $5,091, the second came from Cress Refrigeration and was worth $8,150. The board also accepted a donation from Eric and Emily Weisser of four new ball carts for tennis programs. The carts had an estimated value of $850. The final donation the board approved was $2,500 for welding and automation programs from Easy Automation, Inc.

In addition to accepting Muhvich’s resignation, the board approved employment contracts for part-time early childhood teacher Megan Sukalski, and head track and field coach Jesse Walters.

The next meeting for the Fairmont school board will be held 5 p.m. October 11 at the high school’s new CTE center. The new facility has been operational since the beginning of the school year and a formal ribbon cutting and open house will be held immediately after the meeting.

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