Co-op agreement approved by Carlton School Board

Pending approval by the Wrenshall School Board and the MSHSL, Carlton-Wrenshall will field co-op teams in boys and girls track and field, cross country and softball.

File: Carlton High School
Carlton High School.
Katie Rohman / 2019 file / Pine Journal
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CARLTON — A formalized cooperative agreement between the Carlton and Wrenshall school districts for athletics and co-curricular activities at the junior high and varsity levels was approved by the Carlton School Board during its Monday, July 18, meeting.

Board members present for the vote were Ann Gustafson, Sam Ojibway, Julianne Emerson and Sue Karp — all of whom voted in favor of the proposal.

Carlton Superintendent John Engstrom shared that two of the three original goals established by the two districts were met in the final cooperative agreement modeled after Moose Lake-Willow River. The goal of adding additional co-op athletic teams was unsuccessful, but may be revisited in the future.

“It definitely is an improved version of the language of the existing cooperative agreement and that was the most pressing goal, and that was achieved,” Engstrom said.

The final goal of adding additional co-curricular activities is still in the process of being met, according to Engstrom.


“We are recommending that some co-curricular activities get added,” Engstrom went on to say.

Pending final approval by the Minnesota State High School League, along with the Wrenshall School Board at its Monday, Aug. 8, meeting, the Carlton-Wrenshall Raptors will field cooperative teams in boys and girls cross-country, football, softball and boys and girls track and field, according to information provided in the agenda packet.

Under the conditions of the agreement, the Carlton School District will serve as the administrative host for softball, along with boys and girls track and field and cross country. Wrenshall will host football and Raptor Cheer Squad.

Additionally, co-curricular activities tentatively included in the co-op are one and three-act plays, knowledge Bowl, robotics, science fair, Business Professionals of America, math league and Genders-Sexualities Alliance Club. Host schools for each activity are yet to be determined.

Decision-making for the co-op will be aided by the formation of a Cooperative Committee, which will include three board members from each district. The committee will meet at least once every calendar year and will function as a review body, according to the packet. The two respective boards will officially act on all matters relative to the terms and conditions of the agreement, the packet later states.

Revenue generated by the two districts from admissions and passes will be split 50/50 according to the agreement. The first half of final net costs will also be split 50/50, while the second half will be shared based on the percentage of each district’s student enrollment (grades 7-12) of the total combined enrollment of both districts as determined on June 30 of the preceding participation year.

$202,000 fund transfer approved

Following the guidance of Carlton School District Business Manager Norman Nelis, the board unanimously approved the transfer of $202,000 from the district’s committed fund balance (transportation) to the unassigned general fund balance for the 2022-2023 school year budget.

The contents of the unassigned fund balance, unlike the committed fund balance, may be used at the discretion of the district.


According to Nelis, the decision to transfer the funds comes as a way to combat the decrease in the unassigned fund balance over the past few years. The money transferred to the unassigned fund balance was generated through the sale of the district’s buses upon signing a contract with 4.0 School Services for transportation.

“We sold our buses when 4.0 came in and started contracting with us. (We) used $100,000 dollars in 2019, and then we haven’t moved any of the other funds, so this is kind of reactionary to our unassigned fund balance continuing to decrease,” Nelis explained.

The former Lumberjack assistant hopes to carry the program's tradition of hard work and tenacious defensive effort into this season.

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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