Feb. 26, 2007

Once arch-rivals, Lester Prairie and Holy Trinity pair in all sports

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

With the once arch-rivals sitting in the same room at Tuesday’s Lester Prairie School board meeting, a surprisingly tranquil discussion was followed by an agreement with Lester Prairie School and Holy Trinity of Winsted to pair in all sports for the next two years.

With both sides represented evenly in numbers, the group was about one-fourth the size of those attending the last pairing meeting Nov. 6 in the Lester Prairie School gym.

Lester Prairie Superintendent Joe Miller opened the school board meeting acknowledging Superintendent of Holy Trinity School Fr. Paul Wolf.

“There is no motion to be taken tonight,” Miller said. “We wanted Fr. Paul to come over tonight to just verify the fact that we have had a conversation on pairing. We wanted everyone to know what was happening and to move forward with the pairing.”

When Wolf had his turn to speak, he did not hesitate to say Holy Trinity still did not have all of the details worked out. One big concern was losing its identity in pairing with Lester Prairie.

“I am hoping we will work this as a partnership,” Wolf said.

For approximately an hour, pairing worries were shared. During the exchange, Lester Prairie parents asked three times if the original motion saying Holy Trinity would be Bulldogs and wear Lester Prairie colors had been agreed to, and were not content until Wolf said, “For the next two years, we will be Bulldogs.”

A second part of the original motion was that all games were to take place at Lester Prairie.

Wolf mentioned that was one sided and asked that both facilities be used for games and practice.

Miller, Athletic Director/Secondary Principal Ron Erpenbach, and most of the board agreed that it would be impossible to have all of the games and practices at one facility.

“It was my understanding that we would not change our mascot or colors, and my opinion on that has not changed,” Chairman Fred Blaser said. “But the facility end of it was miswording on my part. I never expected if we paired we were going to close the doors of your gym and do everything over here. That was not my intent.”

An amendment to the original motion was made, stating once again that Holy Trinity would be Bulldogs and wear Lester Prairie school colors for two years. However, the new motion left out the words, “all of the games will be played at Lester Prairie.”

It passed on a 5-1 vote, with Melissa Williams voting against it with no comment.

The next step in the pairing is for Erpenbach to let the state high school league and conference know that a pairing agreement between Holy Trinity and Lester Prairie has been reached.

Erpenbach thought that he could possibly hear back as soon as Monday, March 12, and might even have a schedule at that time.

He added, “They could wait for six weeks. What they will do, I don’t know.”

Odds and ends

In other business the board:

• received an award presented by Miller for School Board Recognition Week Monday, Feb. 26 through Friday, March 2, in appreciation for the job they do.

• recognized a substantial donation made by Devota and Devan Stoltenow through its foundation, to provide Saxon Math for second through sixth grades. The value is an estimated $2,000 per grade level.

• heard that the Head Start application is a go. Head Start will also provide a partial set of playground equipment for the preschool and kindergarten playground area. It will relieve some of the burden of expense in providing equipment that was originally planned for that age group.

• listened to a report from Erpenbach on suggested plans to improve the MCA II test scores, which will include purchasing a new set of junior high math text books, adding weekly reading prompts and math word problems, and staff in-service and training.

• approved the 2007-08 school calendar with 174 school days and seven workshop days.

• approved the school seniority list.

• approved spring coaching contracts.

• received a revised 2006-07 budget showing a positive budget balance at the end of the year, and a balance a little larger than what was previously expected.

• approved dissolving the Crow River Special Education program.

• approved 2007-08 Southwest/West Central Service Cooperatives contracts to provide technological services to Lester Prairie School District.

• approved G&K Supply contract for janitorial supplies.

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