Also, Washington, Highland schools might release students earlier than high school

    The Crookston School Board on Monday gladly accepted three financial donations, in the form of a scholarship, a grant and – the real headline grabber – a $100,000 contribution from an anonymous donor. How the $100,000 will be spent remains to be seen, Business Manager Laura Lyczewski said. The donor will have a say in that.   

    "We have the money," she said. "They just need to decide how they'd like to allocate it."   

    As for the other financial influxes, the board accepted $5,000 for the Bob and Ella Strand Scholarship, and a $25,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation for a Community Education early childhood education program for children from birth to age 5.   

    "This is all pretty good, to say the least," Board Chair Frank Fee said. "It's pretty generous."   

    Superintendent Chris Bates called the donations "humbling" and the $100,000 donation, specifically, "staggering."   

    "It's very much appreciated that people feel a connection to the school and want to give these kinds of amounts of money to benefit students both currently and in the future," Bates said.   

    "It's just a very, very generous gift," board member Tim Dufault said of the large, anonymous donation.

Elementary students to get out earlier?   

    With extensive building repairs and upgrades to commence immediately after students leave school for summer vacation later in the spring, Bates indicated Monday that it's looking more and more like the 2013-14 school year for students at Washington and Highland schools will end on the Friday prior to Memorial Day weekend, a couple days before the year is scheduled to end for Crookston High School students.   

    There is simply too much work to be done at the elementary schools - thanks  in large part to a voter-approved levy referendum last November – to waste a single minute of time over the summer. While Bates said the administrative team at this point is only "toying" with the idea of a pre-Memorial Day release for the elementary schools, he added that the elementary school principals, Denice Oliver and Lela Olson, are both in favor of the move. The team was scheduled to discuss the matter further on Tuesday.   

    "We need to get our stuff out of there so the workers can start as soon as possible," Bates said of Highland School. "The last thing we want is to delay the start of school next fall because things aren't done."

Personnel items   

    • The board accepted the retirement letter from Crookston Community Swimming Pool Manager Ken Stromberg, effective June 1. He'll likely be finished a couple weeks prior to that due to vacation, Bates said of Stromberg. The plan as of now, the superintendent added, would be to have some type of temporary management in place over the summer, with a Sept. 1 goal for having a permanent pool manager in place.
    • The board accepted the resignation of longtime Prom Coordinator Patty Dillabough. She submitted the resignation in late October, but it didn't get to Activities Director Don Donarski until Jan. 2. Asked by board member Dave Davidson if there is a plan in place to replace Dillabough, whom he said has done a "wonderful job" filling an important role for many years, Bates said three people have emerged with a plan to coordinate prom as a team, and a fourth individual has applied as well. "We'll be filling it as soon as possible," he said.
    • The board accepted Betsey McIntyre’s resignation as assistant girls’ track coach. The elementary teacher said she needs to focus all of her energies on her classroom and will also be pursuing her masters degree.