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LP board to review sports pairing issues

June 23, 2008

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Sports pairing is back on next month’s agenda for the Lester Prairie School Board.

The board made its decision after hearing about numerous complaints made by Lester Prairie parents and students at a special June 16 meeting to review the LP/HT pairing for the 2007-08 school year.

A summary of the meeting was given by Secondary Principal Scott Fitzsimonds who told the board that a number of the 30 people attending had shared concerns regarding the school pairing.

The scheduling of games at both school facilities, and the inconsistency of the uniforms worn were two of the main complaints at the meeting.

In addition, those attending the pairing meeting requested the school board look at these issues and state its views on the subject.

As part of its July agenda, the board is asking anyone who wishes to comment or voice concerns regarding sports pairing to attend the Monday, July 21 meeting and address the board between 7 and 7:45 p.m.

“I don’t necessarily think this is a board decision,” School Board Member Jeff Hecksel said.

School Board Member Karla Heigl had attended the pairing meeting and did not agree.

Splitting up home games and not getting the home court advantage, and some LP/HT teams wearing Holy Trinity uniforms at Holy Trinity School for LP/HT games, were some of the complaints Heigl said the school board should give Fitzsimonds direction on.

Miller called the board’s involvement “micromanaging” and said the administration and coaches should be deciding how the pairing should be handled.

“If parents would like us to address it, we can look at it and address the issue. I am not going to necessarily agree,” School Board Chairperson Fred Blaser said. “My motion was not to play at one site. It is not fair to Winsted not to use their gym, nor does it make sense to me.”

Other complaints brought up at the meeting, Fitzsimonds said, have already been worked out for the 2008-09 school year including getting more games and playing time for junior high volleyball and boys’ basketball.

Fitzsimonds did receive some positive feedback about school pairing, and Heigl agreed, there are parents who said the kids got along well and were making good friendships. Others said pairing provided more competition at the high school level.

This was Miller’s last official board meeting as school superintendent. The new Lester Prairie Superintendent Greg East will be present for the next meeting.

However, Miller said he would be attending the July meeting.

School staffing news for the school year 2008-09

Fifth grade teacher Brian Korf has resigned his position with Lester Prairie and taken a new position as athletic director and assistant principal at Pelican Rapids.

Trent Grams will be replacing Korf as the fifth grade teacher.

The elementary staffing for this fall is:

• kindergarten - Jan Smith

• k+/preschool - Helen Koktan

• 1st grade - Connie Murphy

• 1st grade - Jen Brandel

• 2nd grade - Jane Roth

• 2nd grade - Kelly Kramer

• 3rd grade - open

• 3rd/4th grade - Chris Bayerl

• 4th grade - Melinda Anderberg

• 5th grade - Trent Grams

• 5th/6th grade - Cathy Houg

• 6th grade - Dave Klitzke

Interviewing for the third grade teacher position will be conducted today.

Principal Pam Lukens reported that there are a total of 42 kindergartners, of which 12 will be part of the kindergarten-plus program.

All high school staffing will be back in the fall.

Increase in activity fees

A student activity fee increase was proposed by Fitzsimonds for the school year 2008-09 and was approved unanimously by the board.

For seventh and eighth grades, the fee per sport will be $50. That is up $10 from 2007-08 fees.

The fee per sport for ninth through twelfth grade will be $80. That is up $10 from the 2007-08 sports fees.

For nonathletic activities, the fee will remain the same at $25 for the first activity and $10 for each additional one.

Fitzsimonds also gave a summary of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) testing of the seventh and eighth graders which he reported showed improvement in language usage and math.

NWEA test scores monitor student growth from year to year on a single cross-grade scale which NWEA calls the RIT scale. Normal growth is 3.0, Fitzsimonds said.

Lester Prairie seventh grade language was up 3.2 RIT and math was up 5.9 RIT. The eighth grade language was up 2.4 RIT and math was up 5.1 RIT, Fitzsimonds reported.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved an annual salary of $2,000 for a district assessment coordinator which requires about 10 hours of work a month. It is a position that Miller had been taking care of since 1990.

• learned the LP Advisory Committee and board members did a staff appreciation breakfast on June 4 to recognize Joe Miller, Gail Henning and Brian Korf who were recognized for their years of service to the school.

• Jan Smith was recognized for 35 years, Rob Weber and Kathy Klitzke for 20 years, Betty Williams for 15 years, Brian Korf, Julie Olson, Carol Kallenbach, Diane Pedersen for 10 years, and Cathy Scoblic for five years.

• Approved summer work contracts, to help the custodian, for Colin Fogarty and Missy Carrigan at $7.75 per hour.

• approved Kelly Elling as part-time manager for community education, a total of 3.5 hours per day at her current salary.

• approved a pay request for $6,500 to Miller for 20 unused days of vacation.

• approved the contract with National Insurance for the next two years for life insurance and long-term disability insurance. There is no rate increase for the next two years.

• approved an extension of the year’s contract for the special education coop for psychological services, deaf/hard of hearing (HOH) services, speech/language services, and LP’s share of the coordination of programs for $2,075.

• authorized the transfer of funds from the capital expenditures reserve in the amount of $25,500 to the general fund to give the district more flexibility in how the funds can be used.

• authorized the dates for filing affidavits of candidacy for the 2008 school district general election from Tuesday, Aug. 26 to Tuesday, Sept. 9.

School Board Members with terms up for election in November are Melissa Williams, Jeff Hecksel, and Karla Heigl.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com