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BEA board says yes to fruits, veggies

By Staff | Jun 17, 2012

Elementary students in Blue Earth will continue to have healthy snacks in school if a recommendation from the Blue Earth Area School Board is followed through this coming fall.

This past year the elementary students in both the Winnebago and Blue Earth elementary schools had healthy snacks of fruits and vegetables thanks to a grant to the two schools.

“We applied again this year,” school finance officer Alan Wilhelmi says. “But we only received the grant for the Winnebago site and not the Blue Earth school.”

Wilhelmi says the federal grant is based on the percentage of students on the free and reduced lunch program.

“Putting the two schools together we qualify,” he says. “But they split it and then only Winnebago meets the threshold.”

The BEA school board members wouldn’t take the matter lying down.

“I think we need to have it at both, even if we have to fund it out of the food service account ourselves,” board member Jesse Haugh says. “We have the funds to do it.”

The food service account has a balance of over $100,000, BEA superintendent Dale Brandsoy says.

“You could revisit this at the July or even August meeting and decide to do it then,” Wilhelmi told the board.

But, several members were in favor of taking immediate action, saying they had heard many good comments about the program.

Students who didn’t know what cauliflower or broccoli were learned they liked the vegetables, Brandsoy says.

“Yes, we now have to buy kiwi fruit by the case at my house,” Haugh jokes.

“Let’s just do this now,” board member Terry Cahill said when making the motion to proceed with the program in Blue Earth.

The motion passed unanimously.

Wilhelmi says the grant covered the cost last year for the program which was about $18,000 in Blue Earth.

“I would expect the cost to be similar to that this year,” he told the board.

In other action at last Monday’s regular BEA meeting held in Elmore the board:

Voted to hold all of their meetings next year in Blue Earth, and not hold one in Delevan, Frost, Winnebago and Elmore, as has been done in past years.

The board plans on going to a paperless meeting and will need the internet access available at the meeting room in the middle school in order to accomplish that goal.

Approved the sale of two parcels of land next to the bus garage in Winnebago to Alliant Energy.

Brandsoy told the board the parcels were advertised as per their request and only one inquiry other than Alliant was received.

He says BEA keeping an access lane to the back of the garage was added to the agreement.

Approved a lease for playground space for Little Giants behind the AgCenter which will double the size of the current playground.

Funds are being raised for new equipment as well as grass and garden areas.

Approved a plan for ticket prices for next school year that includes a reduction in prices for music events from $4 to $2 for students and $6 down to $3 for adults.

The rest of the prices were kept the same as before, except meal prices were increased.

“We had to raise them due to federal mandates because of our free and reduced meal programs,” Brandsoy says. “These are as low as we can have the prices.”

Board member Haugh suggested a reduced event ticket price for college students and Brandsoy says the administration will look into it.

Approved a series of personnel requests and new hires except for one.

Teacher Jay Frederickson had requested a one year leave of absence for personal reasons and the board voted to deny the request.

“We have a policy in place that an employee needs to be employed for at least two years before we will grant a leave,” board member Vicki Hanson says.

Frederickson will not have been employed two years until this November.

One of the many contracts confirmed by the board at Monday’s meeting was for Al Cue as the new elementary/middle school assistant principal.

“We have also selected a candidate for the position of high school principal, but we have not received an acceptance from him yet,” Brandsoy told the board.

He says the candidate is Richard Schneider of Harrisburg, S.D.

“He is currently a middle school, junior high principal and wants to get back to being a high school principal,” Brandsoy says. “He has a strong technology background and is a former science and math teacher.”