When the wrestling season begins this year, the Quad County wrestlers will be taking to the mat to represent Yellow Medicine East, MACCRAY and Renville County West.
The school boards of the respective schools approved the agreement for cooperative sponsorship of wrestling at Monday nights' meetings. The concept of a cooperative wrestling program has been on the drawing board since last wrestling season. Last spring YME head coach Dave Wingert told the school board that declining enrollment was going to make a negative impact on the sport within the next couple of years.
He explained that districts were beginning to enter into cooperative agreements and there was interest from MACCRAY and RCW to enter into an agreement with YME. He indicated that if YME waited to make an agreement, "we could be left out in the cold."
The agreement itself identifies YME as the host district for the cooperative. The majority of expenses for the program will be split three ways except transportation to practice and costs of "home" matches. Transportation expenses to and from practices will be the responsibility of MACCRAY and RCW districts, with each district responsible for transporting their student athletes to YME for practices.
When MACCRAY, RCW, or YME host a “home” match, the host district is responsible for payment of referees and other personnel necessary to stage the event. The host district is also responsible for the provision of concessions. The host will keep the gate for the event and concession revenues are not covered under the provision of the agreement. Host districts are responsible for any shortages of “home” events.
At Monday night’s YME school board meeting YME Mat Club President Rob Ator addressed the board to impress on the members that it is important that team unity is built across the board this first year. While the districts have agreed to fund new singlets for the wrestlers, there is a need for team warm-up gear.
Ator shared that the Mat Club is not in the position to provide new warm-ups again this year. The Mat Club purchased 20 new black and white warm-ups last year. “We want this [program] to go 20 years. We need to get past the first one.”
He went on to share that when wrestlers were on the floor prior to a match, wearing their home school warm-ups would be counterproductive to building team unity.
YME Athletic Director Tim Knapper told the board that Rambo Sports has a warm-up from last year and is looking at ways to redesign the warm-up rather than replace them. “It would be a lot more cost effective to have the warm-ups redesigned than buying new warm-ups.”
Page 2 of 3 - Grievance filed
A disagreement on EM-YME (teacher’s union) contract language for deferred compensation was brought before the board on Monday night. When any member of the EM-YME believes that the district is not adhering to contract language, the member can file a grievance. There is a grievance procedure that must be followed. YME Spanish teacher Sue Vetsch filed a grievance over deferred compensation when she retired from YME last spring. When Vetsch retired the district paid her $4,000 in deferred compensation.
The amount of the compensation was determined based on contract language. Vetch contends that she should have received $8,500 based on contract language. Vetsch requested an additional $4,500 in deferred compensation based on the union’s interpretation of the language of the contract. YME Superintendent Al Stoeckman refused the request for the additional $4,500 based on the school attorney’s interpretation of the contract language.
In the grievance procedure, after his refusal the issue must be brought before the school board. Education Minnesota Representative Tami Barnes appeared before the board to present the grievance to the board.
During an amiable discussion Barnes presented the union’s interpretation and board member Tim Opdahl presented the district’s interpretation. A question was asked what the next step in the process would be if the board voted to deny Vetsch’s request. Barnes indicated that the issue would go to arbitration. Board member Steve Zumhofe asked, “Do we have to pay for the arbitration?” Barnes answered that the district would be responsible for paying for half of the costs. Zumhofe then indicated that the board believes their interpretation is correct and EM-YME believes their interpretation is correct and that he didn’t know who is correct. “I think we need to let this go to arbitration.”
Board member Tim Opdahl made a motion to refuse the additional $4,500 in deferred compensation. The vote was unanimous to refuse the deferred compensation.
The September enrollment report shows that 816 students are enrolled in YME. “We’re up 25 students from what we expected last spring,” Stoeckman told the board. He indicated that about half of those were students who open enrolled at YME. “Most of them came from the east,” shared Stoeckman.
With the increase in numbers and redistribution of duties several changes were required in staff.
•The board approved Kristie Anderson as a .05 FTE high school English teacher and a .05 FTE success coach;
Page 3 of 3 - •Increased Robin Speh to a .333 FTE success coach;
• Approved a contact for Roxanne Tanner for a .4 FTE elementary math success coach and .6 Title I;
•The board also approved contracts with: Claudia Juarez as a Hispanic liaison and Angie Anderson as an elementary paraprofessional.
•The board approved Ben Lecy as a junior high football coach, and Jeff Iverson as an advisor for both the drama club and knowledge bowl.
•The board accepted the resignations of Katie Kvam, Eriann Faris as success coaches and Kristie Klassen as softball coach.
•The board approved a two year contract for Community Education and Activities Director Tim Knapper. The contract calls for a 2.5 percent increase in 2013, bringing his salary to $79,247 for 230 work days and a 2.5 percent increase for 2014 as well as insurance coverage equal to the school principals’ coverage.