District 518 to co-op with Adrian for boys and girls hockey
“Either we’re good enough all the way around and you want to co-op with us all the way around, or you don’t."
WORTHINGTON — Discussion about costs, fairness and program sustainability all arose before the District 518 Board of Education voted 5-2 to authorize a cooperative agreement allowing Adrian Public School students to play hockey with the Trojans.
Adrian, which has students between kindergarten and ninth grade in its club hockey program, was previously partnered with Luverne for school-sponsored hockey, but has since ended that partnership, said John Landgaard, District 518 superintendent.
When District 518 makes cooperative agreements with other school districts, it considers the total cost of the program and number of students from that district, and then bills the other school district for that portion of the program. For example, if one student from Adrian were to play hockey along with 19 Worthington students and the program cost $20,000, the Adrian Public School district would be billed $1,000 for its student’s participation.
Some school districts in co-op agreements with District 518 send that bill on to the participant’s family, but that is up to those districts.
School Board member Adam Blume said he was concerned about the co-op agreement, particularly given that the city of Worthington and the Worthington Hockey Association are considering the possibility of building a new hockey arena.
“Maybe that’s something they’ve got to help pay for instead of it just being the taxpayers of District 518 helping,” Blume suggested.
He also expressed concern about District 518 students potentially open-enrolling into Adrian and then coming to play hockey with the Trojans.
“We’ve got plenty of numbers… and I feel it takes playing time away from our kids. I don’t think that’s fair,” Blume said. “We’ve got the program, as far as I’m concerned. Put your kid in the Worthington school district and come play hockey.”
Landgaard said one of the reasons the co-op agreement was considered is that while there are sufficient girls in the hockey program, it is somewhat short on boys, as he felt there should be at least three complete lines of students.
“I understand Adam’s frustration and I do share that same concept: I don’t want to be supplanting our players with players from other districts,” said Steve Schneider, school board member. “I don’t want to penalize the kids we have… it sounds like they could use the extra players.”
School board member Erin Schutte Wadzinski asked whether the hockey coaches had weighed in on the matter, and Landgaard said they hadn’t, but typically were in favor of co-op agreements.
Tom Prins, another school board member, also asked how facilities costs could be factored into the matter.
“The same discussion comes up every time that we do a cooperative agreement with a school, and so I’ve always felt in the past that if you’re gonna go for one sport, you have to do it for all, one way or another,” said longtime school board member Lori Dudley.
She noted there are gymnastics students from Adrian already, and that’s why she was for the co-op agreement.
District 518 also has a cooperative agreement with Fulda for boys and girls hockey.
“(Fulda) went to Adrian (for hockey) a few years back and I’ve actually shared with them, if they leave again, they’re not coming back,” Landgaard said. “And part of my frustration is, you can’t just pick and (say) ‘I’m going to go here for hockey, I’m going to go here for wrestling and here for track.’ Either we’re good enough all the way around and you want to co-op with us all the way around, or you don’t. And I made that clear to Adrian. That’s where I’m at.”
He said the gymnastics team has good numbers currently, but Adrian is part of getting those numbers, and there is space for Adrian students to participate in hockey.
The school board voted 5-2 in favor of the co-op agreement, with Prins and Blume dissenting.
In other news Tuesday, the school board:
- Accepted donations from First State Bank Southwest for the FFA program, First State Bank Southwest on behalf of Stephanie Sawyer (Ron Schaap) for the wellness room at Worthington High School, United Way of Nobles County for the Community Connectors program, Schwartz Farms for the prom, and Legacy Wall donations from Hayenga Realty, Adam Dahlquist, Doug Fiola, Anne Foley, First State Bank Southwest, Mike Traphagen, John Landgaard, Debra Manis, Noon Kiwanis, Doreen Grimmius, Heidi Meyer and American Bank & Trust.
- Approved two employees’ requests for sick leave due to pregnancy.
- Approved the second reading of a policy concerning opioid overdose medication in the schools.
- Approved resolutions for the termination and nonrenewal of teaching contracts for probationary teachers Chysil Christobal, Evan Stoesz, Hope DeNeui, Brian Arroyo, Andrea Duarte-Alonso, Mathias Johnson and Lisa Waldner due to licensing requirements. This resolution is done annually, and some of these teachers may be rehired, but because they are Tier 1 teachers, the district must nonrenew and then advertise for the positions.
- Approved a property tax abatement through the Nobles Home Initiative for Joseph and Angela Joswiak.
- Approved three out-of-state professional development travel requests. Anne Greenway will attend the JEA Advisers Institute Conference in Washington, D.C. in July; Jodi Hansen will attend the American Modeling Teachers Association Leadership Training in Tempe, Arizona, in June; and Penny Troe will attend the BPA National Spring Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, in April.
- Approved offering hiring incentives of up to $10,000 and a stipend for staff recruitment for difficult-to-fill positions, to help the district navigate the workforce shortage in education.
- Approved reducing calendar instructional days from 177 to 172 and extending teacher contract days to May 31 and June 1, except for Prairie Elementary School teachers, whose last day will be on May 31. May 26 will be the last school day for students.
- Agreed esports should remain a club activity rather than a fully-sponsored school activity, but noted it would likely make the jump to being fully-sponsored in the future.
- Approved a 2-year health insurance contract with Sanford Health for an increase of approximately 6.25% compared with the prior contract.