Exeter-Milligan school board opened two hearings, for student fees and parental involvement, just prior to opening their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. There were no comments on the hearings, so the board moved on to open the regular meeting and approve the consensus agenda.
Next on the agenda, the board welcomed coaches from both Exeter-Milligan and Friend who were representing a committee of all the coaches from both districts. From Friend, Brian Arp and Exeter-Milligan, Brian Murphy. Friend Superintendent Derek Anderson was also present at the meeting.
Murphy and Arp used a power point slideshow to highlight the results of the April 8 meeting of all of the head coaches in both districts along with a May 13 subcommittee meeting with representatives of both schools.
The power point outlined a proposal for the two districts to coop all activities starting with the 2023-24 school year. They highlighted some of the benefits of the proposed coop including a higher level of competition, more athletes for practice, more opportunities to play opponents on the same level, students able to bond and make friends with more kids with similar interests and coaches able to focus on coaching fewer sports.
One concern they expressed was the increase in travel time for practices.
The presentation then outlined how the committee saw the activities would be distributed with each district being the primary listed with NSAA.
Girls Golf- Friend
Softball – No change FC/E-M/F coop to continue
Volleyball – Exeter-Milligan – home varsity matches played in Friend
One Act – Friend – performed in Exeter and Friend
Basketball – Friend – varsity games played in Friend
Wrestling - Friend
Speech – Exeter-Milligan
Boys golf -Friend
Track and Field – Friend
Murphy did note that with the coop Junior High sports practices would be held after school. They also explained that most junior varsity and junior high practices and game locations had been discussed but would either be decided based on the number of students participated from each district (to avoid the need for a bus for transportation) or by the coaches and administration.
Board member Eric Milton asked about scheduling. Murphy responded that even spring sports this year would not be possible, “We already have our contracts for our meet sent out to schools and they are signed. If we are going to do this it would be good for coaches and kids to have a little closure.”
“You are going to have a lot of logistics,” added Arp, “uniforms and gyms . . .and there are a lot of other things that we are not thinking of that will be logistically dogmatic.”
The question was raised as to the latest a decision could be made about cooping and still fall under NSAA cut off dates.
Anderson responded noting that football is already set, “If we got a start in November or December after fall sports were completed we would be ok.”
Exeter-Milligan School Board president Adam Erdkamp commented, “Sooner would not hurt.”
“We have gone through and tried to think of all the things we would need to do but I am sure things will come up,” added Sheffield.
It was asked how the decision would be made as to which coaches would be retained. Sheffield explained that anyone would be able to apply for the positions, “There would be an application process and as administrators we (Sheffield indicated himself and Anderson) would make that decisions.”
Erdkamp wanted to make sure that the audience understood that Friend and Exeter-Milligan have an upcoming area committee meeting at the end of July.
Arp and Murphy presented their power point to the Friend school board on Monday evening and Arp explained that most of the same questions were asked.
Murphy concluded with one more positive about the coop, “If you have a large school you are more likely to have a coach that wants to come and start their teacher career and stick around.”
The board opened the meeting to public comment. Jordan Marr, an Exeter-Milligan high school teacher expressed concern about the lack of proposed athletic events in Exeter. “Perceptually patrons might not like that aspect of it.”
He was also concerned with the lack of concessions at Exeter-Milligan. “As concessions manager we help kids get three-fifths of their funds from concessions. This could be a big hit to a lot of groups like band, cheerleading and FCCLA”.
Erdkamp responded, “Nothing has been decided the coaches just wanted to present their ideas.”
Sheffield added, “Derek and I have talked about it and we would work out a rotation for all classes and groups to benefit.”
As to the majority of the activities being held in Friend, Erdkamp commented, “The Friend site has benefits so that is why, logically, we would consider that. They just have the facilities.”
Another patron, Allison Petersen, asked why there were days in the upcoming school year where the elementary had no classes but the middle and high school is in session.
Principal Laura Kroll explained that the district is using a new curriculum and needed extra days for training.
The board briefly discussed the 2022-23 preliminary budget. Sheffield explained the challenges with recent legislation which requires a levy hearing if you ask for an increase of more than two percent.
He also noted that the district is supposed to begin receiving revenue stream from the Milligan wind project but currently the Fillmore County Treasurer doesn’t have any numbers on that yet.
“I think that legislature will cap the tax asking at three percent in future legislation. This will hamstring you down the line. If you reduce it you can’t make it up,” explained Sheffield.
The district noted that it will continue to offer free admission to home contests. The first home football game is at three p.m. in Friend because of the lack of officials. Sheffield added that it would cost $1000 to guarantee officials for a Friday night game.
The Board approved a new transportation contract with A & M, Inc. Sheffield briefly explained the changes in the updated contract before the board approved the updated contract.
The playground installation was started on Wednesday and should take three weeks to assemble. Sheffield’s only concern is the delay in the astro turf installation.
The board set the next meeting for Wednesday, August 10 at 8 p.m. in Milligan.