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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Group urges Board to consider sports conference change

  • The regularly scheduled meeting of the St. James School Board featured a discussion before the formal meeting about whether St. James should remain in the South Central Conference or move to another athletic conference.
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  •     The regularly scheduled meeting of the St. James School Board featured a discussion before the formal meeting about whether St. James should remain in the South Central Conference or move to another athletic conference.
        This discussion was prompted by a group of parents, teachers and coaches who appeared before the Board during the Community Connection time period,  which happens before the formal meeting.
        Beliefs were expressed that St. James teams would likely be more competitive moving to another conference where the Saints would be facing schools that had student enrollments of similar size.
        As St. James is now sports paired with the Butterfield-Odin School District and playing under the St. James Area (SJA) banner a move to another conference would possibly affect that relationship. Butterfield-Odin  Superintendent Lisa Shellum was among the approximately 40 people attending this part of the Board meeting.  
        Landis Froehling, a St. James high school teacher and an assistant coach of multiple sports, spoke on behalf of the faction asking the Board to consider a conference change.
        Froehling was referencing a fact sheet prepared for the meeting.      
      It included varsity team sport conference records from 2005 to the present. In that time, football has gone 3-34 or has an 8% winning record. Boys basketball has gone 14-56 or has a 20% winning record.
        Girls softball has gone 20-59 or has a 25% winning record.  Girls basketball has gone 22-48 or has a 31% winning record. Volleyball has gone 56-54 or has a 51% winning record.
        The team results are not all bad. The fact sheet did not reference sports where the Saints traditionally field strong teams. The conference record for the Saints wrestling team in that time period is 30-5. That’s an 86% winning record with multiple conference championships.
        The boys and girls tennis teams have been competitive to dominant in this same time period.
        A coaches poll provided information that indicated most of the SJA varsity head coaches would be willing to look into other conference options.
        In the formal Board meeting, a motion was approved establishing a committee to look into the conference options for the Saints. It’s a large committee and includes all the varsity coaches, a parent of a player of each sport, three board members from each school district, the superintendents of each school district, the principals of the high schools, and the athletic director.  
        This committee will explore the options the SJA Saints have and report back to the St. James School Board and it will likely also report back to the Butterfield-Odin School Board.
    Page 2 of 2 -     In other actions, the Board approved the payment of bills in the amount of $1,198,919.10 presented by Business Manager Mary Richard.  
        The Board also approved a new curriculum policy that was presented by Kent Franklin.
        The Board formally approved the expulsion of a high school student. Privacy regulations prevented the name of the expelled student from being revealed.  
        The Board had a first reading of a new Internet policy for the district’s schools.
        The Board approved several personnel matters including the hiring of Jill Stark as the Data Coach at Northside High School.
    This is a position required by the Federal grant Northside won at the beginning of the school year and the position is funded by the grant money.  
        The Board also approved the hiring of many coaching positions for winter sports.    
        Superintendent Becky Cselovszki and Principals Karla Beck and Ted Simon delivered their reports to the Board. Beck updated the Board on the progress made under the Federal grant. This will be a regular Board report.  
        Simon talked about several topics including the Minnesota college application week that was happening at the high school this week. As of the meeting Tuesday night 45 seniors had applied to 78 colleges using the school’s computer lab.
        Cselovszki talked about the procedures needed for the District to dispose of some obsolete computers.
        The Board certified the results of the recent school board election.  

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