Here are updates on the most recent discussions the Carlton School Board has had to address our long term facility needs. On August 28th, the School Board had in-depth discussions on seven options. Since that meeting, the Board has been exploring two options: pursuing significant facility repairs that could be done at South Terrace and/or at Carlton High School without voter approval and discussions with the Cloquet School Board about possible consolidation.
On October 2nd, the Board directed me to work with InGensa to develop a Project Agreement Contract for the possibility of pursuing possible non-voter approved bonding projects (air quality, fire suppression) at South Terrace in the summer of 2018. This potentially could also include parking lot improvements at both schools. I want to emphasize an InGensa contract has not been approved (the earliest would be November 20th for February 2018 bidding) and no decisions have been made about any significant facility improvement projects. It is also important to understand that the non-voter approved bonding projects are limited in scope and both buildings have other priority needs. We have begun putting together possible long term plan and budget scenarios using facility maintenance specific funds and/or general funds to address those needs. This is critical to this planning and decision making.
On October 13th, the Cloquet and Carlton sub-committees met a for a second time to discuss the possibility of consolidation. At this meeting, it was mutually agreed to not pursue consolidation at this time. However, we will continue to actively explore possible ways to to expand collaboration opportunities. All subcommittee members agreed there are several potential areas for collaboration that would mutually benefit our students and/or operating efficiency. These possibilities (academics, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, transportation, technology, staff trainings, etc) will be discussed in the next few months, and the sub-committees will continue to meet.
At the October 16th School Board meeting during public comments, four individuals spoke specifically about the long term facility planning discussions the Board has been having. Each of the four spoke strongly in encouraging the Board to pursue consolidation with Wrenshall with a high school in Wrenshall and a PK-5 at South Terrace. One of the speakers also strongly encouraged the Board to explore dissolving the school district. The Wrenshall and Carlton School Boards and superintendents have had no formal written or verbal communication or discussions with each other about consolidation under any scenarios or facility configurations since April 2016.
The Carlton School Board is planning a Public Meeting on Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30pm in the small gym at the high school. At this meeting, I will present background/summary information and then the Board will listen to public comments and answer questions that students, staff, current or future parents/guardians of students and community members may have. I strongly encourage all community members to attend this meeting and speak if you have input for the Board on the future of the district and/or our facilities.