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Softball addition gets approval

By Staff | Nov 16, 2018

With three members voting yes and one voting no, the Rugby Public School District No. 5 Board of Education approved a motion to support girls’ softball as an extracurricular offering.

In a regular meeting Tuesday morning in the Rugby High School conference room, RHS instructor Shannon Miller met with the board in the hope they would reconsider their previous vote on adding softball. In July the board voted 3-1 against adding softball primarily due to budgetary concerns.

“We’re gonna keep fighting for it,” said Miller.

Miller said there were 48 schools in Class B softball, which are consolidated into 27 teams, and Rugby was not one of them. Miller said 110 girls in the district were interested in joining the program and that she wished the board could see what it does for students not involved in spring activities.

Miller said so far the program has received $4,000 in pledged funds, but noted, “It’s virtually impossible to raise money for something that doesn’t exist.”

Board member Dustin Hager said the possibility of softball as a club sport was looked into. Miller said that if Rugby’s softball program were to play as a club it would not be allowed to play teams sanctioned by the North Dakota High School Activities Association.

“So we’re stuck,” Hager said.

Board president Kristi Blessum said budgets were a concern as well as any effect on spring sports participation. Miller said that Athletic Director Scott Grochow advocated for it and said the impact to other spring programs would be minimal.

Superintendent Mike McNeff said with the activities policy in place the board has the option to either fully fund, partially fund, approve without funding or deny, and that after five years the board can decide to continue funding levels.

Board member Brenda Heilman asked if the board was willing to consider partial funding, and board member Shane Livedalen asked if the board were to partial fund what cap amounts would be, if any. Heilman asked if the board could choose which aspects to fund.

Business Manager Dawn Hauck said three positions for extracurricular activities a junior high speech coach, an assistant cheerleading coach and an assistant for Future Business Leaders of America had not been filled despite being on the budget.

Heilman made a motion to support, which included funding transportation and partially funding a coach. In the vote, members Hager, Heilman and Carlie Johnson voted yes. Livedalen was the sole no vote.

McNeff said any additional costs would be left up to fundraising.

Other actions

– Clinical Mental Health Counselor Dori Lennert gave a presentation to the board on mental health services being offered within the school district to individuals, groups and soon to families. Lennert joined district staff this year and serves the district three days a week, also splitting time between Pierce County Social Services and the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center.

– The board approved the second reading of a food service procurement and conduct policy; the Fiscal Year 2019 audit report; superintendent’s evaluation; support for North Dakota State University School of Education’s Teacher Leader Academy; and the consent agenda (which included October meeting minutes, bills and financial reports).

– The board discussed the N.D. School Boards Association convention; forced choice exercises and an upcoming Citizens Committee meeting on Nov. 27.

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