Latches, brackets installed so they can be secured from the inside

    Notes from this week's Crookston School Board meeting:   

    • Highland School Principal Lela Olson said measures have been taken to ensure that the gymnasium doors lock from the inside in the event of an emergency situation that requires a school lockdown.   

    During the first required lockdown drill of the school year this fall, she said it came to light that the gym doors cannot be secured from the inside. It meant that any kids and staff in the gym had to cross the hall and enter a classroom that could be locked from the inside. "We wouldn't want that kind of movement in a real emergency," Olson said.   

    So some metal latches and brackets were bought and installed on the doors, but within days they were either accidentally broken or vandalized, Olson said. They were repaired and are working again, but she said the word needs to get out on why the latches and brackets have been installed, how they work, and that they need to remain in good working order. "Coaches, the CYBA and other community groups that use the gym, we need to step up communications so they know the latches are there for safety reasons," Olson said.   

    • Food Services Director Anna Ogaard is pursuing a Farm to School grant totaling $16,500 that would purchase two steamers and youth-sized salad bars at Highland and Washington schools. If awarded, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture would fund up to half the cost and Blue Cross/Blue Shield would fund 40 percent, Superintendent Chris Bates said, leaving 10 percent for the school district to cover.   

    • The board approved a five-month extension of the service agreement with Johnson Controls, which will cost just under $29,000. It amounts to the same rate the district is paying the contractor now, Business Manager Laura Lyczewski said, and is meant to cover the time frame before all of the levy-approved work on the three school buildings and swimming pool commences next spring. "Then we'll have to decide after all the work is done if we need an agreement with them," Lyczewski added.   

    • On the heels of students in Fisher starting to utilize Crookston's driver's education courses and behind-the-wheel instruction, Bates said the Fertile-Beltrami School is also moving away from providing the program locally and is looking to utilize Crookston's program.   

    Board Chair Frank Fee expressed concern about the Crookston district being on the hook for any additional costs, noting specifically the fact that Rod Olson is the lone behind-the-wheel instructor, and that the driver's education minivan probably needs to be replaced soon. But Bates said the more student fees that are paid, the more revenue the local program will make.   

    "It looks like a win-win for us," Bates said.   

    • The board approved the hiring of Matt Bjorgo as assistant girls' basketball coach at CHS. Specifically, he'll coach the "C" team and be paid $2,769. The only applicant for the position, he replaces Brenda Slyt, who resigned.