school board

Many decisions still to come on co-op

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The Lake Preston Board of Education met at 12:30 p.m. Monday instead of the regular time of 5:30 p.m. because of a girls basketball game scheduled that evening against Iroquois-Doland. Although the two teams went up against each other Monday evening as rivals, most of the afternoon meeting was as an update from Athletic Director Jordan Solberg and Superintendent Dana Felderman regarding the new sports co-op planned between Lake Preston and Iroquois.

Felderman stated the furthest “away” game for Lake Preston will be Highmore-Harrold, about 90 miles, and the furthest away game for Iroquois would be against Dell Rapids St. Mary. The board discussed that the more distant games might be scheduled for Friday nights or Saturdays.

The co-op will not be able to participate in all the same tournaments Lake Preston presently does, such as the Border Bash, a girls basketball tournament at Colman that Lake Preston will play in for the last time this Saturday. Felderman said he wants to keep the Entringer Classic, a tournament that offers a $1,000 scholarship.

The students from Iroquois and Lake Preston will next decide on school colors, a mascot and which town’s name comes first in the co-op; Lake Preston-Iroquois or Iroquois-Lake Preston. Felderman said once they decide on colors and a mascot, they will get a store set up, and uniforms for the fall sports can be ordered right away. Suggestion boxes were discussed as well as a zoom meeting with Iroquois students. Solberg said that Iroquois Superintendent Mike Ruth does not anticipate their school board being involved in the decisions about mascot and colors, and he said if it was appropriate, the decision should be up to the students. He said Ruth also mentioned that whatever they do, it should be 50/50, a sentiment that seems to be shared by Lake Preston.

Felderman reported that Iroquois may not be able to host double-headers because they simply do not have a large enough facility. Because of this, Lake Preston might host all the home double-headers, but there might be more single home games played in Iroquois.

Although the sports co-op appears to be a “done deal,” Felderman said he didn’t want to jump the gun, as they were still waiting for final approval for the co-op from the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA.) That final approval is expected to come on Wednesday. Felderman said he has spoken with Dr. Dan Swartos, the executive director of the SDHSAA, once a week since negotiations began.

Solberg stated that once the co-op is confirmed, they would like to have an all-athlete meeting before the end of the school year with Lake Preston and Iroquois athletes.

They discussed transportation needs, and the possibility of dismissing early for practices.

“It’s not all going to be ready to roll the first of the year,” Felderman commented. “There are some things we are going to have to tweak.”

The board discussed the 2022-23 school calendar. The board members have different preferences about start and end dates, and dates will be finalized at the February meeting.

The board approved the only bid received for 21 new windows on the south side of the school. The west side has already been completed. The bid was $71,745, which was higher than anticipated, but it was the only bid received.

“It is what it is,” Board President Steve Carlson said.

Board member Travis Denison said that it’s hard to judge. “If we kick it out, is the price going to come down?” he queried, “or it could go up.”

Board member Amanda Wienk commented how nice the school looks with the new windows that are already in place.

“We have gotten a lot of compliments,” Felderman agreed.

Solberg, along with being athletic director, is also the high school and middle school principal. He reported that several Lake Preston graduates spoke last week with juniors and seniors to give them some practical advice on college life. He also said he wanted to give kudos to the elementary coaches for the number of games they have scheduled. He said Lake Preston is going to be hosting a wrestling event.

Because Felderman will be out of town and will not be able to attend the normally-scheduled meeting in February, that meeting has been moved up and will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wed., Feb. 9.

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