By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
With the help of COVID-19 relief funding, the Caledonia School District can avoid asking voters to fund technology on the next election.
At the board’s regular meeting on April 19, Superintendent Craig Ihrke announced the district is expecting just over $1 million in ESSER and GEAR funding relief in the next couple of years. This is good news, as the incentive aid stopped in 2020 (this funding helped with the boiler project).
Without this new funding, the board would have likely placed a referendum on the next election ballot to ask voters to fund technology needs in the district.
A referendum is not out of the question in the future, however. It will likely come before voters and ask the above question, unless there is a significant increase on the general formula.
“I bring it up now, so people know that there will be a need, there has to be a plan in place to fund that,” Ihrke said. “We’ve seen this year how important technology is.”
Ihrke said it was a little over a year ago since Covid took over and commended principals, teachers, students and parents for their efforts.
“Everyone is to be commended for doing their best,” he said.
Student school board member report
Sam Privet and Emma Ideker reported the Spring Fever fun at the high school went well. Kids from the elementary school came over as well and had fun with the carnival, bean bags, four square and destroying a car. High schoolers especially enjoyed taping their teachers to the wall, playing games during lunch, a free throw contest and water balloon toss.
Elementary principal Susan Link said the high schoolers did a good job with the little ones.
Students helping with the spring fever event were
Student Council - Advisor Teri Larson, Grace Denstad - Officer, Lillian Doyle - Vice President, Kennedy Hansen, Kerrigan Hansen - President, Lexie Hoscheit, Lyza Hoscheit - Secretary, Ashly Ideker - Treasurer, Emily Ideker, Maggie Ideker, Emme Kittelson, Paige Klug, Logan Koepke, Taylor Kohlmeier, Andrew Kunelius, Braelyn Lange, Teagan Lange, Thane Meiners, Ava Privet, Grace Privet, Alexis Schroeder, Alicia Schroeder, Brianna Stemper, Devin Vonderohe and Hannah Zaiger. Honor society advisor Advisor Stacey Meyer and members Jenna Weibke, Austin Klug, Dominick Konkel, Jacob Staggemeyer, Sam Privet, Madison WInjum, Eliza Welscher and Elise Weinbener. Assisting with Face Painting was Jackie Studenski and Harlie Tostenson.
The board approved the resignaion/retirement of David Meyer with thanks for his 23 years of service to the district.
The board also approved the retirement of Ross Martin at the end of semester one of the 2021-22 school year. Martin would like to continue his duties through first semester, host the Three Rivers Festival and have a final winter concert with students before he retires.
The board will need to hire someone for second semester and then open it again for a full year.
The board also hired Tyler Scharlau as special education paraprofessional, Angela TenKley as a media paraprofessional, Alex Lange as high school social studies teacher and Mitchel Bechtel as middle school social studies teacher.
The board will also hire another junior high baseball coach, as 25 kids to one coach was not sufficient.
Community education director Gretchen Juan said preschool classes were filling up, along with summer school-age care (SAC). ACT testing was complete and MCA testing would be continuing for several weeks.
Firearm safety classes were scheduled for this spring and driver’s ed was filling up.
Link reported the elementary school is preparing for end of the year events. The fifth grade promotion will be limited to two guests for each student. This event will be held on the last day of school.
Current fourth graders will be designing T-shirts for grades K-5 to wear on “Kindness Thursdays.”
Link also thanked Priscilla Johnson for 33 years of service and said, “She can do it all, and make it look so effortless.”
She also thanked Pam Schieber for five years of service.
MS/HS Principal Nathan Boler said he was thankful to remain in-person over the last month and said the school continues to follow protocols. He reminded people it is important not to let their guard down.
Presently, graduation plans are in progress and they would follow the 50% occupancy. The ceremony will start at 6 p.m. in order to allow the senior send off to start at about 7:15-7:30 p.m.
Summer school will take place June 7-17 for high school students and will be held in-person.
Boler also gave a congratulations to Brandon Ross and the boys basketball team on their success.
It was a short meeting for the Caledonia School Board, but new members did enjoy a tour of the elementary building at the board’s regular meeting on April 19.
Around the building, specifics like the new boiler system and Hiawatha Valley Education District’s (HVED) rented space were pointed out. Superintendent Craig Ihrke also pointed where tile needed to be replaced in an entryway.
The board accepted a monetary donation from the family of Ardyce Esch that was designated for the sports department.
Board members handing out diplomas during the ceremony will be Matt Blocker, Leigh King and Spencer Yohe.