After learning about a legal issue, the Hills-Beaver Creek School Board voted to withdraw from their Farm Service Agency CRP land agreement.
Last spring the district entered into an agreement to help plant trees along the new high school building.
The agreement set up a cost-share program for purchasing the trees and annual lease payments.
The district teamed up with the Future Farmers of America program, which agreed to fund the district’s portion of the project. Thus far, approximately $800 has been collected in cost-sharing funds.
During the process of collecting the funds the local Farm Service Agency representatives learned the 2008 Farm Bill stated that school districts are not eligible for CRP benefits.
The local FSA board agreed to let the district keep the cost-share monies that have already been paid out because it was their error that allowed the district to enroll in the program.
Because the district is no longer collecting the benefits of having CRP land, the district also no longer has to adhere to the restrictions.
The original contract specified how often the district could mow, what type of grass they could plant, how they could control weeds and how close to the perimeter of the trees they could farm.
FFA looks to install fence
Esselink informed the board that the FFA program had submitted a building permit to the city of Hills to build a fence around the southeast corner of the school’s property.
He said the board would not take any action on the fence until the building permit has been approved.
The fence would be similar to the one that runs the perimeter of the football field. The purpose of the east to west fence is to border the unpaved parking lot.
Tim Baker questioned the funds being used to pay for the fence. He asked why the board has never seen a formal agreement regarding the income earned from crops planted on the 40 acres north of the high school building.
Esselink said those funds have nothing to do with the fence project, and the money could come from a number of other fundraising sources.
Baker agreed that he was assuming the cost of the fence was being paid with crop profits, but he still pressed for information regarding the revenue distribution agreement between the board and the FFA program.
Esselink, along with Ann Boeve and Lois Leuthold, stated that the program is responsible for maintaining the land and doing the work, therefore a cut of the revenues had been worked out.
He said he wanted the terms of the agreement clarified and has yet to see the specifics spelled out.
Baker asked that the board discuss the details regarding the farming agreement between the district and the FFA program in detail.
Esselink agreed that the matter should be discussed and asked to have it placed on the agenda at the next meeting.
In other board news:
•The board approved an agreement with the city to have two hours of open gym at the Hugo Goehle Gym on Sundays beginning Nov. 25.
The city pays for someone to supervise the activity.
Baker questioned how much it would cost to heat the gym for that amount of time.
Councilman Jim Kueter said the gym heat has to be maintained in order to prevent pipes from freezing and to accommodate H-BC basketball programs using it for practice.
Baker asked, “How much is too much?”
He asked to amend the motion to include language restricting any temperature increase during the two hours.
The amendment failed due to lack of a second.
The board approved the agreement, with Baker voting against the motion.
•The board accepted a $1,000 donation from the H-BC Education Association for the H-BC School Foundation.
•The football team will travel via chartered bus to their game on Friday. The district will pay an amount equal to what they would pay for fuel and a driver. The remainder of the cost will be paid by the football fund.
•The district has not received a response from the Minnesota Commissioner of Education regarding H-BC’s appeal to hold an operating referendum election.