Caledonia School Board members met Monday, August 21 from 6-7:34 p.m. at Crooked Creek Community Center, also known as Freeburg Community Center in Caledonia, Minn. Board members present included Derek Adamson, Tim Gunn, Leigh King, Melissa Marschall, Mike Peterson, Daniel Small, and Spencer Yohe. In addition, Elementary Principal Sue Link, Middle/High School Principal Nathan Boler, Business Manager/Finance Director Barb Meyer, Community Education Gretchen Juan and Superintendent Craig Ihrke attended.
Board member Yohe moved, second by Adamson to adopt the agenda, in turn motion carried.
The board gratefully approved a generous monetary donation from Brownsville Lions Club, the donation is to be applied towards Business Professionals of America (BPA).
Middle/high school junior, Addison Fruechte received a warm welcome as the new junior board member representative. Fruechte shared she wants to represent students in her class as the new junior board member. In addition, Fruechte also takes part in soccer, basketball, softball, and student council.
In regards to the consent agenda, Superintendent Ihrke brought to attention an error listed in the lease agreement between Caledonia Area Public Schools and Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED) in where an incorrect dollar figure had been included. In turn, the lease agreement was removed from the consent agenda. In addition, one maternity leave was added to the consent agenda. Once the two changes were made, board member Small moved, second by King to adopt the consent agenda, approve the minutes from the July 17 regular board meeting, minutes from the July 31 special board meeting, minutes from the August 7 special board meeting and the treasurer’s report.
The Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan received unanimous approval.
After discussion and careful consideration, the board voted no on resolution approving a joint powers agreement for the acquisition and betterment of an education facility in Winona, Minn.; and taking other actions with respect thereto. Board member Gunn stated Caledonia supports HVED and that “HVED is a great program and we need it!” He felt maintaining status quo is okay at the present time. Currently, five students are transported outside of Caledonia for services with four students being transported to Hokah, Minn., and one student being transported to Kellogg, Minn. If a joint powers agreement were to be approved, board member Peterson expressed concern in that the one student transported to Kellogg would benefit while the four students transported to Hokah would not, as Winona is a further drive from Caledonia compared to Hokah. Principal Link shared finding transportation for SPED students to be difficult and commented, “What we’re doing now is much easier.”
Principal Link shared her board report pertaining to the elementary school:
•The elementary school has a high number of special education students where paraprofessional support will be needed, especially in regards to preschool and the younger grades. There is a current need for additional paraprofessionals. Transportation for students who receive special education services is a difficulty due to limited options.
•Caledonia Elementary School welcomed many new students since the start of summer.
•The elementary school’s assessment days will be held Monday, August 21 and Tuesday, August 22. In addition to assessments, students will meet their teachers for the 2023-2024 school year.
•Both St. Mary’s and St. John’s schools in Caledonia consented to moving Title IV funds to Title I, which will allow additional instruction time from the public school’s Title 1 teacher, Trina Scanlan.
•American Reading Company (ARC) updated their K-2 materials to better align with the science of reading.
Principal Boler shared his board report pertaining to the middle/high school:
•Caledonia Middle/High School is fully staffed going into the 2023-2024 school year with all teaching and paraprofessional positions filled.
•Caledonia will continue partnership with Bluff Country Collaborative (BBC) to provide career exploration opportunities.
•The School Forest committee continues to work with the City of Caledonia to turn Sprague Woods into an outdoor classroom.
Community Education director Juan shared her board report.
•Surround Care is expected to have 11 students by the end of the school year.
•Community Ed. will mail out the fall catalog in next week’s edition of the Fillmore County Journal.
•CAPS (Caledonia Area Public Schools) Care celebrated their one-year anniversary!
The next regular board meeting of the Caledonia Public School board is scheduled for Monday, September 18 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at Caledonia Elementary School in the music room #162. The public is invited to attend.