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Crosslake School: Environmental grants could help with new school's solarium

Crosslake Community School has applied for two grants to help support the solarium planned for the new school facility set to open at the start of the next school year.

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Crosslake Community School has applied for two grants to help support the solarium planned for the new school facility set to open at the start of the next school year.

Director Todd Lyscio told the school board Monday, April 9, about the two grants through Crow Wing Energized and Master Gardeners.

"George Kohan and Ken Lueken, two local master gardeners, absolutely jumped all over this thing," Lyscio said, noting the grant could amount to $3,000. "It'll give us the opportunity to possibly purchase some supplies for some plant things in the solarium.

"There's also been contact made with someone ... who's a landscape designer and understands that we want to have a hydroponic component. And so George is going to be working with someone who designs these kinds of facilities."

Lyscio said Kohan told him he is confident the school will get the grant, and that means the school could easily get it again in the future. Additional grant dollars in the future could be used, Lyscio said, for not only the solarium but also outdoor gardening elements at the new school as well.

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"We want to do things outside," he said, "whether it's native plant things or raised gardens so that we can promote garden- or farm-to-table initiatives for our kids."

In other business Monday, the council:

• Heard there are 14 students interested in the pre-kindergarten program next year. Lyscio said his proposal to the Audubon Center of the Northwoods for the program's first year is a class of 15 students with one teacher and a paraprofessional. The proposal will go before the Audubon's board April 14.

• Heard from Board Chair Lori Scharenbroich that the newly formed policy committee met March 27 and discussed accelerating the review of 14 school policies in light of moving to a new school building and the plan to hire a dean of students.

• Reviewed a draft of the strategic plan for 2018-22 that lays out the school's proposed outline and goals.

• Heard that elementary teacher Patty Durham will represent CCS at the Excellence in Education banquet in May at the National Joint Powers Alliance along with other teachers from around the region. The board also heard that special education teacher Mara Powers recently received High Reliability Teacher certification and became the school's first ENVoY certified teacher.

• Agreed to switch accounting services from Skyward to SMART system, which is an easier system to use and would save the school more than $2,400 a year after the first year of buy-in fees, according Joe Aliperto, the school's business manager with Dieci School Finance.

The board also discussed changing auditors after learning Prudent Accountants - out of Minneapolis - could provide services at a lower cost than the school currently pays, but board member Jeremy Max suggested seeking bids and giving other local companies a chance to provide services.

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• Scheduled a special planning meeting for 5:15 p.m. Monday, April 30, in the high school lab conference room to discuss the 2019 budget. As this is not a formal board meeting, no public comment will be allowed.

Board members Mara Power and Lisa Steffen did not attend.

Related Topics: CROSSLAKE
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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