It’s not every day a school district accepts a $2.5 million donation.
On Monday, Feb. 22, Eastern Carver County Schools did, from the Rhonda Cottrell estate via a will.
The district was informed of the donation last fall after Cottrell, a former Chaska resident, passed away. The estate has since been liquidated, resulting in the monetary donation.
“The district is very grateful to receive this donation from the Cottrell estate. It is very exciting and we’re very thankful,” said Superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams.
“It is an honor to see the community support the schools at this level,” said Board Chair Dr. Jeff Ross.
Rhonda’s late husband, Myron, owned a Chaska business, Tuned Port Induction Specialties. He was an authority on aftermarket parts for hot rods.
Myron was an engine motor builder since he was a teenager in the 1960s. Up until his death in January 2018, he had a successful shop and manufacturing business as well as three books to his name.
“They both felt that the school district was their choice for leaving their estate to charity upon death of the survivor,” said DeeDee Kahring, director of finance and operation for Eastern Carver County Schools.
While accepting the donation, the District 112 School Board voted to allow a former employee of the company, Jim Hall, to use the TPIS name for his own company. Administration supported this wish, feeling that it is an opportunity to carry on the legacy of the Cottrell family.
The assets of the company were sold while Rhonda Cottrell was alive. The company does not own any real estate and a personal representative did not believe the company has any remaining value. Tax documents were provided to the district, supporting that belief.
Kahring, in laying out a financial package option to build a potential new bus garage, offered the suggestion of using the donation toward those costs, considering Myron Cottrell’s ties to transportation.