School board accepts bid for old bus garage, still seeking bus drivers

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    The Crookston School Board accepted a bid this week for $31,700 from Advanced Tire to purchase the old bus garage downtown which includes a building that has been condemned by the city. The district had to go back to the original bidders after hearing of the city’s decision to condemn the white wooden building and let them know of the new information.

    Superintendent Jeremy Olson mentioned that some board members first asked to appeal the city’s decision but had since pulled back.

    “Originally this was bid out as “AS-IS” without any tear down but now the city has come back and said the white wooden portion would need to be torn down, and we had two bids that reflected that nature,” he explained.

    One of the bids was approximately $26,450 less than the Advanced’s bid and the board accepted Advanced’s bid.  

    On the subject of the bus garage it was mentioned more than once that the district is still in dire need of bus drivers. Transportation Director Rick Niemela said the district is willing to tutor and help with behind-the-wheel training for new drivers, plus the starting wage is around $23 per hour.

    “If you are interested in driving bus, we are interested in you,” added Superintendent Olson.

Mentorship Program

    The School Board also approved the district’s new mentorship program this week which will pair new teachers with selected veteran teachers to help guide them through their first year. The three program focuses include the Logistics Phase (how to and where things are located), What to Teach (content and lesson planning), and How To Teach or the Art of Teaching (what and how to convey lessons to students.)

    “We are constantly perfecting how to teach and the hope for growth does not stop,” explained Olson. “We’ve identified some very gifted teachers and put mentees in place, too.”

    With the program there will be a monthly checklist so they can gauge the growth throughout the year.

    Veteran teacher and board member Dave Davidson told the group he’s been “waiting for this a long time” as this is his 10th year on the board and he hopes this will be a fixture of their academic life as a school district “forever.”

    “It’s the key to help make young people successful,” he said. “It will help people coming into the district with their career and to make wise decisions.”

    Board member Mike Theis added that there would be an open communication line between the mentors and mentees, and that it would be shared between the two and not with administration.