Good news for Paton-Churdan school board

The Paton-Churdan school board received good news on several fronts at its regular meeting Aug. 10.

Principal Annie Smith reported that with the registration for the coming school year complete, there is an increase in enrollment for the sixth consecutive year. Six new families will have their students attend P-C schools.

She also reported good progress on the new Early Learning Center. The board at its July meeting approved using the portable building on the east side of the school for the childcare center. Already, 36 children are registered, with seven infants, seven 2-year-olds, five 3-year-olds, six 4-year-olds and 11 part-time and school-age children. Amy Minnehan has been hired as director of the Early Learning Center and Karibeth Baker and Morgan Fredrickson have been offered teaching positions.

Fundraisers for the Early Learning Center have brought in $1,000 to date, and many parents and community volunteers spent last week in the building cleaning and decorating. A fundraiser supper is planned for Aug. 20, and employees at the John Deere plant in Paton have committed to giving the Early Learning Center their empty beverage containers to return for the deposit as an ongoing fundraiser for field trips and materials.

Additionally, the Early Learning Center will offer a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Camp Wednesday afternoons when school dismisses early. Six children are already signed up for the camp, which will include activities to build skills and knowledge in the STEAM areas.

Superintendent Kreg Lensch reported that Paton-Churdan has been removed from the School In Need of Assistance (SINA) list. “There are not many schools left in the state of Iowa that can say they’re not identified as a school in need of assistance in some area. Kudos to the kids. Testing isn’t everything, but when you meet (the goals), you brag about it because it’s quite an accomplishment,” Lensch said.

He also reported meeting last week with Grow Greene, holders of the gaming license for Wild Rose Jefferson and distributors of the charitable funds distributed there. Lensch said that at this time, Grow Greene anticipates providing about $25,000 a year to the school with no strings attached except a request for an annual synopsis of how the money is used. “It was an impressive meeting. They really put a lot of thought into what they’re doing,” Lensch said.

A final piece of good news – in discussing fuel bids for the coming year, business manager Mitch Lewis said the district saved $10,000 in fuel costs with its purchase of a propane-fueled school bus.


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