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District 518 school board talks hockey

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- During its regular meeting Tuesday, the District 518 school board spent more time on girls hockey than any other topic.

According to Superintendent John Landgaard, the girls varsity team will likely not have enough players to field a team this coming year. A proposed co-op with Windom has been proposed.

"I met with Windom and we had both hockey associations represented and both school districts," Landgaard said during his report. "Basically what it amounts to is the hockey association itself said they aren't in favor of moving forward with this. Currently, we have nine girls that potentially would be on the hockey team, which is not enough to operate a hockey program."

Landgaard said he has asked for information as far as future numbers.

"The bottom line, because the hockey association is in such opposition to any potential collaboration, I left it to them to get me numbers so we can decide," Landgaard said.

"Quite honestly, with the referendum for excess dollars and building, that's really the priority. Not to say these nine potential girls aren't a priority, but there's 2,700 kids to be concerned about."

An agreement is normally for a two-year period.

"I will tell you, if we go in with the attitude that it will only be two years, it will fail," Landgaard said. "I know the right thing to do and I'll tell you this, from what I see right now, the right thing to do is to co-op with Windom."

Landgaard said the intent of the hockey association is to recruit more players to fill the roster.

"We established Sept. 1 as a drop-dead date -- we have to have names and numbers," Landgaard said. "In order to have everything in place, the September board meeting, you as members would have to vote in favor of the co-op at that point. The deadline is the end of September for the Minnesota State High School League."

There has been a meeting with parents and players. Some of the concerns that arose were transportation, coaching and playing time.

The meeting began with Nate Hanson giving an update on the online learning program VIBE (Virtual Instruction By Excellence).

"We submitted everything to the state, so it's a 90-day window where they have to get back to us," Hanson said. "Usually, it's a shorter window than that. We're just on status of 'wait until we know."'

State officials will be coming for a site visit as part of the authorization process.

"I'm hoping that it happens before Aug. 19, but it's so difficult to know," Hanson said of the site visit. The goal is to have the school up and running before the fall semester begins.

In other news:

n The board approved a resolution to continue working with South Central and Southwest Conferences to develop a new conference.

"It does not commit the district, but it does put the emphasis on moving toward that direction," Landgaard said.

n The initial budget was also accepted. The total operating funds is $34.2 million for 2013-14, up from $32.8 million in 2012-13.

"Generally, we make one or two amendments during the year," Director of Management Services Dave Skog said.

The expenditures is $33.1 million for 2013-14, up from $29.7 million last year.

"We do have the expected spend-down on the bus garage facility, which we are estimating at just under $2 million at this point," Skog said. "We are planning to utilize some of our fund balance under that."

n The board approved an agreement to use Memorial Auditorium.

"We left the number of days the same -- we will be using it 62 days next year," Skog said. "The increase was about 13 percent from $18,600 to $21,000 for the year."

Skog explained that included the same events, including the musical, fall play and the middle school band and choir concerts.

n The tuition agreement with Round Lake-Brewster was also approved.

"Through this tuition agreement, is the funding we are going to receive greater or equal to what we've received through open enrollment?" board member Scott Rosenberg asked.

Landgaard explained that the rate would be the same as an open-enrollment student, which is a little more than $8,000. Currently, there are eight or nine students registered.

There had been an open house at the school for any students and parents who were interested.

"An effort was made to provide them all the information they needed to make a decision on whether they wanted to attend Worthington High School or not," board member Linden Olson said.

n A new half-time orchestra teacher was approved by the board. Board member Lori Dudley explained the number had grown from 90 students to 268 in a span of eight years.

"The need is there for another .5 position," she said.

n A bid from Doug Nau Construction was accepted for a restroom/concession/storage facility at the middle school at a cost of $129,450.