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Ironwood board approves agreement with sports teams



Ironwood — The Ironwood Area Schools will continue to offer a variety of sports next year after the board of education approved agreements with four of the district’s self-funded sports teams Monday.

The agreements with the girls’ tennis team, cross country team, boys’ soccer team and ski team allow students to compete in the sports for another season.

While the agreements were approved, several board members expressed concern regarding the teams running deficits the district is forced to cover.

As the sports are some of the district’s self-funded sports, the programs are expected to raise enough revenue through fundraisers and other means to pay the district for transportation, coaching and other incurred costs.

Board Treasurer Marilyn Nezworski expressed concern with the prospect of approving the agreements for another year when the cross country, ski and tennis teams appeared to be carrying deficits over $2,000 each.

“Cross Country is (negative) $3,600, tennis is (negative) $3,300, soccer is even and skiing is (negative) $2,600,” Nezworski said. “I just don’t see how we can approve a contract on them if they still owe that much.”

Superintendent Tim Kolesar said most of the teams had either recently paid the owed money or had fundraisers coming up that should cover the debts.

Board President Steve Thomas said he would like to see the contracts include language that only allows a coach to be paid if there are funds in the teams’ account to cover the cost. No formal action was taken to add that stipulation, although several board members agreed with it.

One of the costs programs must cover is the district’s requirement the teams take school buses to competitions. The board instituted the requirement in September after a car carrying members of the girls’ tennis team was involved in an accident. The district covers a portion of the transportation costs.

There was also a discussion of ways the teams could improve fundraising efforts, and whether that was the root of the problem.

The board briefly debated the merits of allowing students to participating in sports compared to the need to balance the budget, before agreeing to approve the agreements with all four teams after stipulating the respective coaches be reminded the need to cover the program expenses.

In other board action:

—The board voted to increase school lunches for the next year, based on the formula used by the state of Michigan. According to information presented to the board, lunches increase by five cents to $2.60, $2.80 and adult meals will be $4. Food Service Director Mary Hampston Kusz said the district was still cheaper than some of the other schools in the area.

—The board approved what is expected to be the final version of the academic calendar of the upcoming year. According to information given to the board; the first day of school will be Sept. 5, the final day of school will be June 7 and there won’t be a holiday for deer season.

—The board approved one year contracts with Kolesar, K-12 Principal Denise Woodward, Special Education Supervisor Heidi Lauzon and Kusz.

—Prior to the start of the regular meeting, the board held an organizational meeting. Among the items dealt with during the meeting was the election of board officers — Thomas, President Pro Tem Ed Rickard, Nezworski and Secretary Carolyn Mieloszyk were all re-elected to their positions — the designation of Gogebic Range Bank as the district’s depository, the adoption of bylaws and meeting schedules, and committees were assigned. The board also agreed to continue the district’s membership in the Michigan Association of School Boards.

—The board hired David Andresen as a special education teacher and Trisha Winn as a 7-12 English teacher.

—Newly hired Gogebic Miners football coach Mark Mazzon met with the board, updating them on how strength training was going. Mazzon said he was relatively pleased with the turnout to the weight-lifting sessions so far.

—The board approved Bob Jacquart’s request of a school bus to transport a group of bicyclists from the Mackinac Bridge back to Ironwood. Jacquart said the bikers will be biking to the bridge to celebrate the Iron Belle Trail’s bike route, running along U.S. 2 from Ironwood to Belle Isle in Detroit.

—The board awarded the district’s bread contract to current contractor Bimbo Bakeries USA, the lowest of the two bids. It awarded the milk contract to current contractor, Dean Foods — the only bid received.

—The board approved renewing the district’s membership in the Ironwood Chamber of Commerce.

—The board also approved submitting a bid of up to $2,100 for a surplus Gogebic Community College car to be used for the district’s drivers training program.


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