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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • The end of the Southwest Conference?

  • Leadership representing the 13 schools which make up the two southern Minnesota conferences, including the Redwood Area School District (RASD), have talked about joining together to create a new conference that would provide stability and maintain a strong competitive program.
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  • Extra-curricular conferences across the State of Minnesota are in turmoil.
    That, said Dennis Stoterau, Redwood Area School District activities director, is leading to new discussions among schools statewide, including those who are currently part of the Southwest and South Central conferences. Leadership representing the 13 schools which make up the two southern Minnesota conferences, including the Redwood Area School District (RASD), have talked about joining together to create a new conference that would provide stability and maintain a strong competitive program.
    Stoterau and Rick Elling-worth, RASD superintendent, talked about the concept with the Redwood Area Board of Education during its meeting Monday night.
    While no official decision regarding the merger has been made, the school board did adopt a resolution that could lead to the creation of a new conference for the 2014-15 school year.
    “With the exception of Marshall and Worthington, the schools in the two conferences are seeing their student population decline,” said Ellingworth.
    In the case of local schools, something is going to give, as some of the smaller schools have threatened to pull out of current conferences if they are forced to play schools that are well out of their league based on enrollment.
    The Southwest and South Central conferences did join together for a brief period of time in what was known as the Southern Alliance. That new conference focused on football, but for varied reasons it did not work out the way those who were in-volved had hoped.
    One of the issues that is going to have to be worked out to create the new conference would be the huge distance between schools, such as Waseca and Luverne.
    Ellingworth said the plan was to allow leadership from both conferences to get together to create a scheduling agreement by Jan-uary 2014, with the schools who are still interested in moving forward making a decision then.
    The new conference would involve all school activities, including, athletic, academic and fine arts.
    In other action during its meeting, the local school board:
    • Approved the creation of a new position that would include community education and community relations, with the plan to post internally for that role. At the same time the activities director position would be split off from the current job description allowing the current director in that position to focus on demands of that role.
    According to Elling-worth, the long-term plan for the district could be to save money by reducing the number of administrators to two principals and the creation of a dean of students and activities director position.
    • Approved the community education budget, health and safety budget and the preliminary 2013-14 budget for the school district.
    • Approved the school lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year, with prices for the elementary, secondary and adult lunches increasing by 10 cents over the prices from 2012-13.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Approved an agreement for mental health services for the 2013-14 school year through the Redwood County Collaborative at a cost of $70,590.
    • Accepted the resignations of Patrice Arfsten from her role as dance team coach, Rachel Karnitz from her role as RVMS/HS guidance counselor and Kyle Hicks from his role as varsity assistant football coach.
    • Approved a job description for a score/video board technician and subsequently approved the hire of Virgil Felt for that role at a stipend of $5,000.
    • Approved the hire of Amber Green as a 1.0 FTE guidance counselor at a salary of $39,000.
    • Approved the hire of Laura Miller as JV volleyball coach at a stipend of $2,814, Aaron Lindahl as junior high football coach at a stipend of $1,616 and Carrie Jo Hebrink as a ninth grade volleyball coach at a stipend of $2,017.
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