District 508 News and Notes


Saint PETER PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT SAVES TAXPAYERS OVER $8 MILLION

Heather Deshayes
Mar 25 2022

Saint Peter, Minnesota - Saint Peter Public School Board enthusiastically voted to approve an $8 million saving to taxpayers at the March board meeting. The approval of the sale of bonds was actualized from months of work reconsolidating existing debt and taking advantage of the current lower interest rates.

Saint Peter Public Schools (SPPS) recently took action to restructure the debt associated with the new High School. Superintendent Bill Gronseth stated, β€œBy refinancing our current bonds, the district will save over $8,000,000. These are savings realized by taxpayers and result in a slower increase in tax rates over time”.

Gronseth worked with SPPS Business Manager, Tim Regner, the School Board Business Committee, and Michael Hoheisel from the Robert W. Baird Company to review the previous bond financials and loan details to determine if lower interest rates could benefit SPPS with substantial savings. The board unanimously voted to ratify the bond purchase agreement and lock in the savings of over $8 million by replacing a 4% interest rate with a 2.8% interest rate.

The savings will be realized over the next 17 years with the final savings totaling $8,027,000.Gronseth explained, β€œThe board approval was very excited to be able to save taxpayers such a substantial dollar amount. The yearly amount saved by the average taxpayer is greater than the referendum that was passed in November. The growth projected for the city of Saint Peter will also help to stabilize tax rates. That being said, education finance is an ever changing landscape from year to year. Changes in Federal and State funding and mandates directly affect us at the local level. Many changes have been proposed by legislators for the coming year and we are monitoring the legislative session.”






Saint Peter Public School District needs you to 'THINK SAINTS'!

Heather Deshayes

Saint Peter, Minnesota - The Superintendent of Saint Peter Public Schools, Bill Gronseth, is asking the community for your voice. In the upcoming weeks the district will be holding public meetings to ask our community for their input regarding a list of priorities to start long-term strategic planning.

COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges and obstacles to education. Mr. Gronseth explained the district will host public planning sessions for families of each age group. β€œWe want to hear about what has been going well and what has not been going as well. We want to know what people value and what they believe should be our priorities for the coming years. Our "Think Saints" meetings are an opportunity to do just that.”

Mr. Gronseth emphasized the importance of these meetings, "Education is the key to a successful future for our students. We are continuously working to improve our schools for students, families, and the community. Gathering input from stakeholders is an important part of developing goals for the future.”

The meetings will be held as follows:
February 22 - Families of 7th - 12th grade
March 1 - Spanish speaking families*
March 3 - Somali speaking families*
Location: Saint Peter High School Cultural Center
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

March 8 - Families of preschool - 6th grade
Location: Saint Peter Middle School Media Center
4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Childcare and interpreters will be provided. β€œWe are hopeful that everyone will attend a meeting to share their experience, and their vision for the future. Because we realize not everyone is able to attend, we have also created an on-line survey that will be available on our website soon.” Gronseth concluded.
More information and the survey can be found at: www.stpeterschools.org

Saint Peter Community & Family Education awarded for their unique programming
Heather Deshayes

The Minnesota Community Education Association (MCEA) recently recognized Saint Peter Community and Family Education with a 2021 project award for the creation of sPARK Mobile Arts Studio.

  April Malphurs, sPARK Mobile Arts
  Studio coordinator, and Tami Skinner,
  Saint Peter Community & Family
  Education Director, with the MCEA
  Award.

This free art program was offered to PreK-6th grade students throughout the summer months. Community and Family Ed Director Tami Skinner explained the reasoning for the creation of the program; “Many children struggled emotionally last year due to the pandemic. We believed that a focus on socio-emotional learning through the arts would allow children to develop an awareness of their feelings and provide a way to share and express those feelings through art.”

April Malphurs, licensed art educator that led the program, incorporated contemporary and historical artists from various cultures and ethnicities. “The children expanded their worldview, learning that people all over the world are artists and are creating art today” according to Malphurs.

The sPARK program had six locations that included community parks, manufactured home parks, and apartment complex playgrounds.

The program was supported through a grant from Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council. The City of Saint Peter Recreation and Leisure Services department provided the park shelters and youth volunteers. Community educators, district liaisons, social workers and leaders at the local mosque distributed flyers and information to families. Skinner said, “Our goal was to eliminate economic and transportation barriers by providing a free program in all the areas where children lived.” All children 2-12 were welcome.

MCEA project awards are presented to outstanding projects that have exemplified the concept of Community Education. A project may be either a one-time event or an ongoing activity that is associated with a Community Education program. Projects are judged on cooperation and teamwork, use of resources, achievement and community impact.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Saint Peter High School will once again host its Veterans Day program at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the SPHS gym. Local veterans are encouraged to attend this year’s event and it is also open to the general public.  A special reception for area veterans, with coffee and donuts, will be held starting at 9 a.m. that day in the SPHS Community Room (next to commons area).
 

   Jim Bixby LtCol (retired), MN
   Air National Guard, will be the 
   guest speaker at this year's 
   SPHS Veterans Day program.

This event is put on each year by the SPHS social studies department. The St. Peter American Legion Post #37 Color Guard will participate in the ceremony while the SPHS Concert Choir and Concert Bands will also take part by performing patriotic music.

This year’s guest speaker is Jim Bixby LtCol (retired), Minnesota Air National Guard. Bixby, who resides in St. Peter, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force through ROTC in December 1989.

“It is an honor to be asked to speak (at the Veterans Day program),” Bixby said. “I really appreciate that the school is recognizing Veterans Day with the students.”

He served on active duty as a tactical airlift pilot through 1999 flying C-27 and C-130 aircraft.  After separating from active duty, he continued his military service as a C130 pilot for the MN Air National Guard and simultaneously began a civilian flying career with Northwest Airlines.  Lieutenant Colonel Bixby retired from the Minnesota Air National Guard in July 2011 after 21 years of service and is currently employed at Delta Air Lines.

During his military career he participated in operations throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.  This included numerous deployments in direct support of conflicts in Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Other Veterans Day activites at SPPS

The other three buildings for Saint Peter Public Schools will not have any public events, but Saint Peter Middle School, North Elementary, and South Elementary will have activities with a Veterans Day theme.

South Elementary will have Veterans Day discussions in the classrooms and families were encouraged to write “Thank You” notes to veterans, while North Elementary will have its Veterans’ Day Picture Wall. Saint Peter Middle School will have Veterans Day lessons during advisory time and in social studies classes.

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Hello From the St. Peter Kitchen Staff!

We are so excited to see all the students back this year!  We in the kitchen wanted to send out a little information about your child's breakfast and lunch program.

We are thrilled that this year we are able to provide a free breakfast and free lunch to your student!

We are currently operating under the Offer vs Serve guidelines. But what does that actually mean...?

Offer Versus Serve allows students to choose the foods they want to eat!

School lunch offers students a choice of the 5 USDA required food groups: meats/meat alternatives, grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk. 

Offer Versus Serve means students don't have to take all 5; but they must choose at least 3 of the food groups including a fruit or vegetable to ensure they get all the nutritional benefits of a great meal. We offer multiple entrée options as well as multiple fresh fruit and vegetable options on a daily basis.

Students get to choose! Because every child deserves a great meal.

For more information about Offer Versus Serve visit the link to the USDA website:
https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/offer-vs-serve-lunch-program-tip-sheet

For more information about what's being served at your school visit the link to the Nutraslice menus: 
https://stpeterschools.nutrislice.com/menu/menus-eula

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Attention Saint Peter Public School District staff and families! Happy Last Day of SCHOOL!!

When you get a moment ... grab some popcorn and enjoy the show as we celebrate our staff for an outstanding year!

https://vimeo.com/555731976/ba43165dc9

This year, due to COVID restrictions we were unable to host an in-person ceremony for our staff recognition, so instead, we created a slideshow to have all of you help us celebrate them!

Congratulations to our 'Distinguished Service Award' and 'Excellence in Communication Award' recipients. A committee of your peers reviewed the outstanding number of nominations submitted and created a new award to be handed out this year in addition to the Distinguished Service Award.

Again, thank YOU to our staff for all you do each and every day! Our children are so blessed to have you in their lives!

The Saint Peter Public Schools Logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Saint Peter Public Schools’ Resource Officers Jon Hughes and Tom Winsell work with school administrators each school year to develop a safe and efficient plan for family members dropping off and picking up their students each school day.

“As the school year comes to a close and we are now again at full capacity, I'd like to thank everyone for driving safely during pick-up and drop-offs of students throughout the district,” Hughes said. “I’d also like to take the opportunity to provide a quick reminder of what routes are preferred.”

The preferred drop-off and pick-up locations, per SRO Hughes, for each of the SPPS buildings are:

South Elementary:
Use the loop to drop-off and pick-up.  The parking lot in front of the main entrance will have restricted access during pick-up, so please only use the loop.  

North Elementary:
We’d prefer all drop-off and pick-ups occur from the school side (not street side) on the passenger side of your vehicle to eliminate any students having to cross the road.  This would include the north side of Flandrau Street between N. 7th Street and N. 8th Street and on N. 7th Street between Traverse Road and Flandrau Street.  

Middle School:
The preferred drop-off and pick-up location is the football field parking lot.  Capitol Drive is becoming overly congested, resulting in a blockage of the staff parking lot, which inhibits the ability of staff to travel between buildings at the end of the day.

High School:
Parent drop off and pick ups are only on the west side of the high school.  The east side is designated for the buses only.   

“Our community does such an amazing job with pick-ups and drop-offs,” Hughes said. “Please continue to yield with care and be prepared for students to be near or around your vehicles at any time.  You as caregivers to St. Peter School District students have adapted to change with compliance and patience to the benefit of our student population, so thank you.”  

If you ever have any questions or concerns in regards to student pick up or drop offs, please email SRO Hughes at jhughes3@stpeterschools.org.