Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Willow River School part of $1.5 million grant pool


February 27, 2020

Willow River School is one of nine districts that were awarded a Career and Technical Education (CTE) grant pool of $1.5 million over a two-year period, Superintendent Bill Peel announced at the regular board meeting on February 18.

“There’s three pools,” explained Superintendent Peel. “Pool A is based on just a one time, take some money and divide between the nine districts. Then Pool B is based on your ADM (average daily membership).”

He said it’s a non-competitive grant and if they do well with the grant by spending money wisely and showing a positive impact in their schools, they could qualify for it again.

“Pool C … is the competitive grant. It’s $76,000 divided among the nine districts and you have to collaborate to use it. So you have to collaborate with other districts and work together to try to bring in more CTE for your students. We’re going to be the first ones to apply.”

High School Principal Neil Schiller said that their CTE teachers were collaborating with the other districts on a proposed summer camp as their application for the Pool C grant money. The camp would be in July and offer career and technical experience to 5th through 9th graders from all nine participating grant schools. Students would need to apply to be considered, with a cap of 50 students.

A portion of that grant money will also be going towards qualifying after school enrichment classes for grades 2nd through 7th, which started last week.

The 2020-2021 school calendar was approved by the board. The first day of school will be September 8 after Labor Day, conferences in October, spring break the first week of March, and June 3, a half day, will mark the end of the school year for students. Presidents Day, April 1, and June 4 are designated snow make-up days if needed. Commencement will be held on May 28.

Board member Sue Grill questioned why the school year had been shortened one day from the previous year. “I don’t like cutting back on days.”

“I understand we’re one less school day, but we’re still way above the ... standard for student days,” said Superintendent Peel.

The revised FY20 budget was approved by the board. Business Manager Laura Carlson explained that the budget had been revised for the increase in the adjusted pupil unit (from 445 to 465) which affects the amount of funding the school receives.

“So before we had in our unassigned fund balance a $168,000 loss and now we’re seeing a $82,000 loss,” said Carlson.

The carpet in both libraries will be getting replaced over spring break using bond money leftover from the recent updates on the school building.

In other business, the board approved an out of state travel request by Beth Brophy for the high school band and choir’s trip to Orlando, Florida. The band will be performing at Disney World and the choir at Oaks Heights.

Gabriel Sorenson won the school Spelling Bee, and placed third in the Regional Spelling Bee. He will move onto the state competition.

The board accepted donations from First National Bank, Gateway Clinic, and Wells Fargo.

Superintendent Peel pointed out there is a new bench by the elementary office and TV that were provided by the PTO.

A motion passed approving a contract with Wildstar Properties Inc. for the softball field maintenance.

The board approved the revised 10 Year Long Term Facilities Maintenance Plan which was updated with the exact cost figures for updates the school recently had.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for March 17 at 6 p.m.


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