School Board Hears Update on Proposed Fredrickson Memorial Garden

At Monday night’s meeting of the District #18 Board of Education, board members learned more about a memorial garden sought to be placed on school property by family members of deceased former superintendent Dr. Gayla Fredrickson.

Jim Fredrickson, her husband, spoke at length about what the family would like to honor her memory by creating a flower garden near the new pre-school/elementary building.

He said the family, after receiving approval from the board months ago to go ahead and design something for them to consider, has put together some ideas of what the garden could look like. He said the goal is to make it low maintenance — placing flowers and plants which require little attention.

Most of the discussion was not on the types of plants and flowers which would be placed there, but rather the type of sign the family would like to have placed there. Fredrickson said the family was wanting to place a sign made of granite that would be approximately 10 inches tall by three-foot long and four inches thick which would lean against some other rock. He said the cost would be over $400, but considerably less than a plaque which, he said, would cost over $1,000.

Board President Steve Heithoff said it was his understanding that, in August, a consensus was reached whereby nothing ‘big’ would be placed in the garden.

He said he and other board members have received calls from district patrons expressing concerns about something resembling a tombstone or a monument being placed in the garden. Currently, a plaque in the trophy case in the gymnasium is used to recognize significant gifts made to the school district by patrons.

Principal Jimmy Feeney III said the board needs to be consistent with the past in policy and to be cautious about setting a precedent for the future.

School policy on gifts, grants and bequests states they are to be approved by the school board and become the property of the school district.

Board member Mary Bauer said its her opinion that she would rather see a plaque in the trophy case saying the family did the garden and landscape.

“I’m not real sure I’m really hip on a lot of rocks over there with little kids,” she said.

Steve Heithoff said at this point he would say ‘no’ to a monument, but would support a separate plaque on the wall inside the building.

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