Hockey gets go ahead from school board

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 03/18/97.

The Paynesville School Board approved an agreement with the Paynesville/New London/Spicer Hockey Association to pursue a cooperative with Cold Spring for varsity hockey next year.

The New London School Board did not approve the agreement at their meeting last week because of the time frame involved. The deadline for a cooperative agreement between districts must be completed by April 1 and submitted to the Minnesota State High School League. The association has been told they could get an extension until April 15 to complete the agreements needed.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell agreed with New London that the time frame was tight and asked the district to consider waiting another year. ďTake more time to hash out the agreement to make sure everything is in place. Iím not concerned with the local association but the next step with the Cold Spring District,Ē Caldwell said.

With New London out of the cooperative, board members were concerned if the local association could handle the increase in expenses. Mike Mackedanz, hockey parent, replied that until the association has the approval finalized with Cold Spring, the local hockey association will take things one step at a time.

Al Habben, hockey parent, informed the board they have been trying for 10 years to get associated with the high school league. ďThe Cold Spring School Board has approved adding hockey to their program and will absorb the administrative costs. They wonít have as successful a program without us,Ē Habben added. ďIíd hate to see them proceed without us. Financially, I feel we can handle it without New London.

ďWe would like to pursue the issue and see if we can get all the agreements in place for the next school year, 1997-98. If we canít, then it will be in place for the 1998-99 school year,Ē Habben said.

Bill Virant, PHS athletic director, said Rocori would be doing all the scheduling and hopes to have 10 to 12 games the first year. ďIím comfortable with the agreement. However, it will take a lot of communication between the schools to work.Ē

Staffing patterns
The board looked at a preliminary budget for the next school year and enrollment projections.

Caldwell proposed that two sections in the elementary school be eliminated next year, a second and fifth grade teacher, a savings of $70,000. The middle school projection stays about the same as does the high school. Because of a large class shift, a fifth teacher would be needed in the eighth grade and one less in the seventh grade.

Jane Lietzman, PEA officer, felt students are struggling with their present class sizes and donít need the added pressure of larger classes. ďThe district has enough of a fund balance that they wouldnít need to remove the two positions,Ē she added.

The projected enrollment in the elementary school consists of 17 less students overall than this year. Board member Debora Glenz voiced her concern about cutting teachers for only 17 kids.

Lowell Haagenson, board member, felt it was premature to think about cutting two positions in the elementary. The basics of learning starts at the lower grade levels.

Shelby Vaske, parent and teacher, informed the board she has 16 kids in her class this year and she does not have a minute to herself. ďFirst and second graders canít spell and they need so much attention. I donít know how I would get to help 22 students,Ē she added.

Caldwell urged the board to think about the proposals, think about the issues. A decision wasnít needed at this meeting. However, we do need to look at the impact on the staff at the next meeting, he added.

In other busines, the board accepted the resignation of Sharon Johnson, elementary physical education teacher, effective at the end of the school year. She has taught in the district 27 years.

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