Concerned parent, Joe Allen addressed the school board with concerns over the current cooperative agreement with Houston High School. Allen proposed to dissolve the cooperative agreement with Houston High School due to the slight increase in enrollment pushing the Caledonia/Houston wrestling team from class A into class AA.
Allen wants the wrestling team to remain in class A, as the team will face a significant disadvantage if moved to class AA. Unlike schools that participate in class A, schools that participate in class AA tend to hold a higher student enrollment, have more training options, and access to more available resources. Allen expressed, “We will not make it to state tournaments by going into class AA.” Allen specifies that the current Caledonia/Houston wrestling team has a 50% chance at a win when competing against other schools within class A, however, the team’s chances at a win turn to 0% if forced to compete against schools within class AA.
Allen wants consideration for the high school wrestlers, especially for Caledonia’s wrestlers as those make up a majority of the team’s enrollment.
Caledonia High School wrestler Isaac Blocker informed the board that only three classes are offered in the state of Minnesota when it comes to wrestling: class A, class AA, and class AAA. He states, “To stay in class A would keep a spark in our (the wrestling team) hearts. Competition in double A is far more competitive than class A. If we go up in class we may lose fans.” Blocker shared that only four wrestlers on the team are from Houston High School.
Both Allen and Blocker shared possible alternative solutions for Houston High School if the cooperative agreement were to dissolve. Allen suggested Houston High School could consider forming a cooperative agreement with La Crescent High School instead. Blocker believes Houston High School could form their own wrestling team, stating, “I feel Houston wrestling will grow.” Blocker used Spring Grove High School’s softball team as an example in that their current softball team once held a cooperative agreement with Caledonia High School but eventually formed their own team. Allen and Blocker thanked the board for their time.
Board member Peterson stated no decision will be made at the moment in regards to dissolving the wrestling cooperative agreement with Houston High School as such is not on the agenda. Board member Small questioned when a decision needed to be made, in turn Allen specified the sooner the better.
Caledonia School Board members met in Caledonia Elementary School’s music room #162 on Monday, May 15, from 6-7:17 p.m. Board members present included Derek Adamson, Leigh King, Melissa Marschall, Mike Peterson, Daniel Small, and Spencer Yohe. Also in attendance were Superintendent Craig Ihrke, middle/high school Principal Nathan Boler, elementary Principal Sue Link, Gretchen Juan, community education; and Business Manager/Finance Director Barb Meyer. Board member Tim Gunn was absent.
The board approved the agenda, minutes from the April 17 regular board meeting, and the treasurer’s report.
A generous donation from Loveless-Eikens American Legion Post 191 was graciously accepted. The donation is to be applied towards the Business Professionals of America Program.
The board bade farewell to student school board representative Emma Stemper and thanked her for her two years worth of valued service. Superintendent Ihrke stated, “Good luck, I wish you the best!”
A discussion took place on whether to include either a K-12 dean of students position or an assistant principal position for the 2023-2024 school year. Superintendent Ihrke favored either position. Board member Adamson pointed out that as assistant principal position will require certification(s) and recommended the dean of students position instead. The board leaned more favorably towards the dean of students position, thus unanimously approved said position to be included the following school year.
Caledonia Area School District currently employs two second grade teachers; with the current first grade class having a higher than usual enrollment rate the inclusion of a third second grade teacher for the 2023-2024 school year was addressed. Principal Link strongly recommended the inclusion of a third section to second grade the following school year, with a third teacher, class sizes would average roughly 17 students per class, whereas with only two second grade teachers class sizes would average 24-25 students per class. Ihrke recommended not to include additional sections beyond the second grade. The board unanimously approved the inclusion of a third section to second grade only for the 2023-2024 school year.
The next regular board meeting of the Caledonia Public School board is scheduled for Monday, June 19. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Eitzen Community Center located 202 E. Main St, Eitzen, Minn. The public is invited to attend.