The Crookston School Board met on Monday evening with four members attending through video conferencing and two members and Superintendent Jeremy Olson physically present in the Crookston High School Choir/Orchestra room.
The school board approved putting a committee together to look at possibly having prom in late July, pending the slim chance the Governor allows large groups to gather. The board also approved reducing second grade from four classes to three classes next year. The news from the meeting is below.
Crookston High School Principal Eric Bubna was asked what graduation might look like this year. He said they are trying to get options out to seniors and their parents this week to get input on what they want to see. “We would still like to do something on May 22. Under current guidelines we would not be able to have a ceremony,” said Bubna. “At this point our option A is having it at the arena where families can be properly spaced, and each graduate can have a limited number of guests, three or four people. Plan B would be maybe a parade through town or something, and we are committed to having something on May 22. If it isn’t a ceremony, we will postpone it to a later date.” Parents should be getting communication from the school district by the end of the week.
“We will want to have a ceremony as soon as possible if we can do it in the summer that would be great,” said Bubna. “If this gets into August, September, October, which I certainly hope it doesn’t, where are the seniors at that point? I hope we can do something this summer.”
SLIGHT CHANCE PROM COULD BE IN LATE JULY –
The Crookston School Board heard from Crookston High School Principal Eric Bubna about prom. Bubna recommended they cancel the prom. “I recommended canceling prom, which is in line with what other area school districts are doing,” said Bubna. The board voted to “look” at having prom in late July, and Bubna said that Linda Morgan is in charge of prom, so they will have to talk to her first. The board directed Bubna to set up a committee at his discretion and come up with a drop-dead date to notify people if it won’t be happening. “The board wanted to see it postponed rather than canceled, so we will move forward with that and will look at doing something in July and schedule something tentatively and have a decision date of July 1 or July 5 or whatever the date might be. We will make a determination based on the state’s guidelines if we can have it at that time,” said Bubna. “I will start working with our prom coordinator Linda Morgan, she does a great job, and we will figure out a tentative date in late July and when a decision date has to be and communicate that back to the board.”
Everybody is an agreement that a chance of prom in late July doesn’t look likely at this time with all the state guidelines in place because of COVID-19. “I am done trying to predict what the guidelines will be,” said Bubna. “It seems like we will be doing the social distancing for a while.”
Bubna also noted that the school does NOT run blast to Bede, and that is a parent group that runs the event, and the school doesn’t have anything to do with it.
SECOND GRADE DOWN TO THREE CLASSES
The Crookston School Board approved cutting second grade from four sections to three sections for the 2020-21 school year because a projected 69 students will be at Highland School. That would make three sections of 23 kids per class. Superintendent Jeremy Olson said anything below 25 students is acceptable. “This isn’t a decision that is made on the overall enrollment because even though we had an increase in overall enrollment, next year’s second graders are only around 69 students,” said Superintendent Jeremy Olson. “We didn’t think it would be responsible to have four sections, so we recommended three sections next year. The 23 kids per class are right around our average for our elementary classes outside of kindergarten.”
The board approved the move unanimously.
The board also approved the termination and non-renewal of Danielle (Larson) Johnson as a probationary teacher. Johnson is currently a second-grade teacher. The board approved the move by a 5-1 vote with Dave Davidson voting no.
FUTURE OF ALTERNATIVE LEARNING CENTER
The board discussed the future of the school board. Superintendent Olson said due to state guidelines, they will have to make some changes, including offering the same hours as the high school. “They want us to make changes for compliance before next year,” said Olson. “We will have to look at hours of service, which will increase expenses. We are having some discussion on what the future of the ALC is. Financially it doesn’t make sense to the district, but there is the student service component, and we want to serve our students.” Olson added they would explore many options, including looking at an Alternative Learning Program.
Joan Darco, who works at the ALC, said they would like to meet in a conference to discuss the future of the ALC.
The consent agenda was passed unanimously. The agenda included the following personnel items, approving the bus driver agreement for 2019-2022, approving an agreement with Kevin Weber as district technology director, approving the employments of Whitney Rupprecht as an industrial technology teacher, and Daniel Rooney as a special education instructor.
Also accepted was the resignation letters of Jill Dalzell as a music instructor at Highland Elementary School (HES), and Cindy Fahser as the family and consumer science instructor at Crookston High School. The remaining items on the consent agenda were the approval of the March 23 meeting minutes, current bills, and accepting donations to the kid’s meal program fund including $250 from VFW Auxiliary Post 1902 and $300 from the Nels T Would Unit 20 Auxiliary, and a donation to the PATCH program of $1,000 from the Crookston United Way.
The main agenda had the first reading of the 300 and 400 series policies, including updates recommended by the Minnesota School Boards Association to policies 303, 307, 413, 414, 419, and 421. The board approved the removal of policy 424, requesting the superintendent to review teacher’s licenses annually, from the policy manual as the district has a licensing committee that performs that operation.
The Crookston School District has done better than the administration thought it would, thanks to the staff, parents, and students. While everyone admits it isn’t perfect, all things considered, it is going better than they expected. “We need to adjust some things, but overall it is going well all things considered,” said Olson. “I have had some parents say they are getting to much work, and some parents are saying there isn’t enough work. Our staff has been great, and we are trying to balance this out the best we can and considering the situation we are in, I am really proud of the area we are in.”
The next Crookston School Board meeting will be Tuesday, May 26, at 5:00 p.m. in the Crookston High School Choir/Orchestra room.