Firth School Board hears of cemetery's land needs

FIRTH — The proposal of the Firth Cemetery District highlighted the October Firth School Board meeting last Thursday.
School trustees met in executive session to discuss the cemetery proposal. Coming out of executive session, no motion was made.
"The trustees are still thinking about," said Superintendent Sid Tubbs.
Board member Cheryse Hooste said the Firth Cemetery needs to expand.
"There are no more plots available to be purchased," Hooste said.
The cemetery board proposes purchasing 0.667 acres at the back northeast corner of the A.W. Johnson Elementary playground. The proposed purchase would take up the area from the cemetery fence to the backstop on the school grounds.
"Kids rarely use that area except in the summer," Hooste said.
"A.W. Johnson sits on 19 acres of land," she said. "In a recent study, recommendations for school grounds is five acres and one additional for every 100 students. Firth's elementary student population is 291.
"The maximum land we would purchase is two-thirds of one acre," she said. This amount of land would allow 207 plots.
"People want to be buried where they lived," Hooste said.
The cemetery board would offer to pay between $3,000 to $5,000 per acre.
"We would negotiate," Hooste said.
Hooste volunteered that the school board might consider selling one-third of an acre instead of the entire request.
"It does not make financial sense for us to start a new cemetery," she said. "The sale of plats helps the upkeep of the cemetery."
[If the school board would sell this property,] "it avoids the process of eminent domain," Hooste said.
The cemetery has also tried to purchase land east of the cemetery.
Board members proposed goals that included:
° Providing educational opportunities for students and athletics.
° Keeping the physical facility clean and well maintained.
° Replacing the bleachers at the high school.
° Mailing a newsletter once a quarter.
° Monitoring all reports from the superintendent's committees.
These goals will be discussed during the November board meeting.
The trustees approved the audit report.
Patrons Paul Jensen and Neal Yancey enthusiastically spoke of their daughters' participation with the Aberdeen soccer team this fall. Firth does not have a girls' soccer team. Firth and Aberdeen agreed on a cooperative agreement that allowed Jacee Jensen and Addison Yancey to play for Aberdeen.
Both fathers encouraged the trustees to include girls' soccer as a fall sport in Firth.
No proposal was put forward.