Cotter Schools to Manage All Catholic Education in Winona in 2021

Cotter Schools to Manage all Catholic Education in Winona New agreement takes effect July 1, 2021

Winona, Minn. — An official agreement aimed at providing affordable and sustainable Catholic PreK - 12th grade education in Winona through consolidated governance and management by Cotter Schools was signed on May 26, 2020. Representatives from Cotter Schools, Winona Area Catholic Schools, the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, pastors of Winona Catholic parishes, the Slaggie Family Foundation, and the Hiawatha Education Foundation signed the agreement.

The agreement describes the new school governance and management structure as: “a collaboration between the Diocese of Winona-Rochester (through the ministry of the Bishops and the Pastors), designated benefactors (Hiawatha Education Foundation and Slaggie Family Foundation), and Cotter Schools.

Each party plays an indispensable role in providing for faithful, effective, and enduring Catholic education in Winona now and into the future.” During the coming year, the administration of both Cotter and Winona Area Catholic Schools will work together to provide for a seamless transition for families. Students at all levels, except 5th and 6th grade (both grades are moving to the Cotter campus in August 2020), will remain in their current buildings until classrooms and other school facilities are available on or near the Cotter campus.

Tuition will remain the same at every level for 2020-2021. Bringing all Catholic school education in Winona into one education organization will improve efficiency, increase educational quality, reduce costs, and help provide for long-term sustainability of affordable Catholic education for area families now and into the future.

The collaborative agreement announced May 26 is the result of years of careful planning and is made possible by generous gifts from the Hiawatha Education Foundation and the Slaggie Family Foundation, both which are providing tuition assistance for eligible families and funding of facilities on the Cotter campus. Their generosity has created a strong foundation on which others can build. “Such a collaboration is possible primarily due to the generosity of the Hiawatha Education Foundation and the Slaggie Family Foundation,” said Sister Judith Schaefer, President of Cotter Schools. “Their generosity and commitment to Catholic education is unparalleled. Generations of young people present and to come will be the beneficiaries of this generosity.”

Participants in the signing agreement ceremony included:

(L to R top) Fr. Mike Cronin – St. Mary’s Parish, Bishop John Quinn – Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Fr. Mark McNea – Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Pat Arens – Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka

Mike Slaggie, Steve Slaggie, Barb Slaggie – Slaggie Family Foundation, Bob Kierlin – Hiawatha Education Foundation

Sr. Judith Schaefer – President of Cotter Schools, Sara Gabrick – Cotter Board Chair, Amy Donnenwerth – WACS Board Chair, Pat Bowlin – WACS Principal.