$45,000 Donated to Casterlin School and Other Interesting Tidbits From the SoHum’s School Board Meeting

The Southern Humboldt Unified School District Board met April 12th at Casterlin School in Blocksburg. SHUSD celebrated many thousands of dollars in new donations and recent accomplishments of local students.

Community Fundraises/Donates $45,000 to Fund a Teaching Position:

Casterlin school

[Image from Casterlin School website]

The Casterlin School choir serenaded those in attendance at the Casterlin School gym. About $45,000 was collected from fundraisers or donated to Casterlin School by local families and individuals across the country. The donations came after a theft of fundraising money from the school last month. The fundraising is an ongoing effort to keep a third teacher after enrollment dropped several years ago.

Parents of the Casterlin School gave the Board of Trustees a check for $39,000 they collected. The money was gathered to fund an elementary teaching position to cover a District budget shortfall.

A Quick Look at the District:

Updates from the schools in the district were presented to the Board. Most schools are experiencing about 90% attendance rates. A few parents asked about repainting and repairing the Casterlin School, but Board Member Dennis O’Sullivan suggested painters wages have increased, so repairing Redway School has been the main focus of the District. Parents questioned the length of time these repairs have taken, but one audience member knew details about the project and suggested the Redway School repairs will be completed soon. One parent was persistent with questions about how her property taxes are spent, and what percentages are given to what schools, but Board Member Scotty McClure insisted, because of how funds are collected and allotted as a whole, it is hard to figure out where every dollar ends up in the District.

Cafeteria Food:

SHUSD Food Service Director Julie Lyon presented the newest edition of the “Eater’s Digest,” a new Food Service publication. Results of last month’s survey of Miranda Junior High School students show hot breakfasts are “selling like hot cakes” but vegetarian meals are not very popular. When students were asked what kind of meals they would like to see, the Junior Highers requested Shrimp Scampi, Steak, Crab Cakes and Milkshakes. When asked what would make the Cafeteria better, the students asked for more food, more tables, television, and a pool! SHUSD Food Services is “considering the possibility of having a TV in the cafeteria.” When asked if they feel fairly and respectfully treated by Cafeteria Staff, every student gave positive feedback, such as “I feel like royalty. Hell yeah!” One parent at the meeting expressed concern there was not enough food served to the children, and Lyon promised, “It will be fixed immediately.”

SHUSD Food Services welcomed a new Food Server, Ashley Lewis, who filled a five-month vacancy at Whitethorn School.

Agnes J. Johnson Elementary School:

At Agnes J. Johnson Elementary School, twelve students received perfect attendance for the second trimester, and were rewarded with an ice cream party! The number of enrolled kindergarten students have almost doubled since last summer.

Whitethorn School:

Students of the Whitethorn School were recognized for their success in recent competitions! At the County Science Fair at HSU, Trey Willner earned 2nd place for 6th grade! Also, Miss Liz’s class recently won first place in the 80th Annual Redwood Region Logging Conference Mural Contest in Ukiah. They were awarded $200 for the Whitethorn School. The class is now participating in the Global Art Project for Peace and exchanging letters with students in Beijing, China.

Casterlin School:

At Casterlin School, students are learning their parts in the play The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, to be performed in June. As a fundraiser, students are selling tickets for a drawing for four box seat tickets to the July 13th Giants and A’s game in San Francisco. The Prize includes Giants hats, a throw, cups, a tote bag, and a $500 gift card! The prize is valued at $1000 but tickets only cost $10. The money will be used for school field trips.

The Casterlin School seeks established vegetable farmers to assist the operations of their garden and greenhouse. So far they received $2000 in donations for the project from the Wonderland Nursery and the Roots 101 Nursery.

Redway School:

Staff of the Redway School participated in trainings in early April. Cyndi Aquiar and her staff organized and hosted trainings April 2nd on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support Classroom Management and dealing with an Active Shooter. At an April 4th district assessment collaboration,  “teachers from each and every elementary school shared tools and methods, and cooperated on solving some assessment issues.” More training will be offered on April 25th and May 9th by Tasha Howe, PhD, on the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences. Everyone at Redway School is looking forward to Spring Break!

Miranda Junior High School:

At Miranda Junior High School, the theme of April and June is Mental Health Awareness. Students learned about stigmas and received guest presentations. According to their report, “Gina Paine from Redwoods Rural Health Center spoke to students about nutrition, and Planned Parenthood was on campus educating the students on sex ed.”

South Fork High School:

South Fork High School will be receiving $75,000 in grants for College Readiness. The Board of Trustees initiated the discussion of how to allocate funds at the April 12th meeting. They are considering purchasing computers and laptops for “affording our students opportunities to explore junior colleges, universities and general offering of postsecondary educational institutions and its applicability to their lives.” Other grant funds will be used for subsidizing preparatory testing, professional development for teachers, field trips, remediation and prevention programs, and collaborating with statewide school systems. Students at South Fork are preparing for Advanced Placement and CAASPP testing in May, followed by SAT and ACT tests in June. With a couple months of school left, “students and staff are feeling the crush.”

The school seeks established vegetable farmers to assist the operations of their garden and greenhouse. So far they received $2000 in donations for the project from the Wonderland Nursery and the Roots 101 Nursery.

Ettersburg School:

The wording of one agreement was changed to ensure funding for the Telegraph Ridge Volunteer Fire Protection District. Because of Article 16, Section 18 of the California Constitution, public entities are prohibited from incurring long-term debt, and so the fire district would have to cease making payments. To avoid this shortfall, the Board approved a non-appropriate clause, so that the Fire Protection District can continue making payments under a lease-purchase option agreement. One vote was cast in complete opposition by Board member Scotty McClure, while all others were in favor. Thus, protection of the Ettersburg School property is ensured.

California School Employees Association:

The Board of Trustees approved a couple pertinent official agreements. Changes to the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with California School Employees Association were ratified. Now the District must inform the CSEA ten days prior to the appointment of any new employees and provide periodic updates of employee’s contact information. Also, the Board formally renewed its Standard Agreement with the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Appointment of New Board Member:

There will be a Special Board Meeting on April 26th at 3 p.m. at South Fork High School. Interviews and appointment of a new Board member will occur at the next Regular Board Meeting, after 4:30 p.m. May 3rd at Redway School.



  • Excellent news,these kids are tomorrow’s grownups,we got to take care of them.Casterlin keep up the great work, if there is stuff around that needs done, have a community work day, with barbecue,or contact eel river con camp, speak with cdf,explain what needs to be done,but too expensive and they may have a crew help out, they do things like that.I have seen them working at other schools.

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    Oh good! This is terrific news. I just hope they don’t keep it stored in cash on the premises. (Friendly jab)

  • I am completely, and totally against a T.V. in the cafeteria.
    I hope that suggestion from the SHUSD Food Services is a joke.

  • I too would like to see more shrimp scampi, crab cakes and steak coming from my kitchen!

  • Veterans friend

    I sent a check when I heard about the quarter theft.
    I actually thought I might get a thank you note. Shame on me I guess.

    • Seriously? 🙄 A lot of us donated I’d rather they saved the stamp money, I like just knowing I helped some kids not a friggin medal.

      • Veterans friend

        Yes seriously. Learning basic politeness is part of everyone’s education, or should be. As it is I do not know if the money I sent was even received.
        I did NOT expect a medal.
        I’m sure you are a saint😁

    • Casterlin Parent

      I’m sorry to hear you haven’t received a thank you note yet. I know we have been sending thank you notes and I hope you get yours soon. We really do appreciate your donation. Thank you!

    • Casterlin teacher

      Dear veterans friend, you will receive a thank you note, and I apologize it was not timely. We do appreciate your support.

  • Casterlin Parent

    I just want to clarify that we received about $6,000 in donations to replace the quarters that were stolen from our school. We are amazed at the generosity of everyone! Thank you so much!
    We have been working on thank you letters for the people who sent checks.

    The remaining $39,000 we fundraise for every year to keep our third teacher. We couldn’t do it without the help and support of our amazing community. Thank you for keeping our school going! These kids and their educations are our future.

    Also there seems to be a mistake about the gardening project/donations. Maybe that was about a different school?

    Thank you Kym for all you do too!

    • “The Casterlin School seeks established vegetable farmers to assist the operations of their garden and greenhouse. So far they received $2000 in donations for the project from the Wonderland Nursery and the Roots 101 Nursery.” This is incorrect?

      If so, I’ll check with Tanya who wrote the article. Or, if Hannah the treasurer can let me know, I’ll update it.

  • Casterlin parent too.

    I appreciate the board as well as a reporter coming out to Casterlin. Believe me! we know what a hassle driving Alderpoint Road is. A lot of this article is inaccurate as well as misleading. I was at this meeting. First of all the money that was donated replaced the stolen quarters from our quarter craze event. The third teacher fund is raised over the course of a year or more. We start fundraising a year in advance. We do our annual events ( Fall Festival, Catalog sales, Holiday Fair, Bake sales, To Go Dinners, Quarter Craze ) just to name a few. We have been doing this extensive fundraising for 10 years. There are a handful of dedicated parents that continue to make this happen. There is no knowledge of a garden project or donations for Casterlin for that project. Maybe it was a different school? Friends of Casterlin School FOCS would like to officially thank anyone who has donated money or precious time to our school and our children. That includes the School Board. Thank you!

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