Blue Earth to fill empty board seat

BLUE EARTH – A vacancy has been declared on the Blue Earth Area School Board.

Board member Vickie Hanson died suddenly May 25. Since there were less than two years left on her term, the board can appoint a successor.

Board chairman Frankie Bly said applications will be available at the high school office, and must be returned by July 8.

In other action Monday, the school board approved an agreement with Youth Services International in regard to the operation of Elmore Academy.

In December, the board decided not to renew a contract with East Dakota Educational Cooperative to oversee educational programming at Elmore Academy, because Blue Earth Area is ultimately responsible for it anyway.

“This is a cleaner agreement, more simplified,” said Superintendent Evan Gough.

On an old topic, Ryan Hoffman of ICS Consulting gave an update on the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning renovations going on at the Blue Earth elementary and middle school.

“Doing well both schedule- and budget-wise,” he said.

With students out for the summer, work will commence in earnest.

“We had the movers in last week and have everything in storage trailers,” Hoffman said.

On another topic, activities director Rob Norman reported to the board on student participation in extracurricular activities.

“We’d love to have every kid involved in at least one activity,” he said.

There are 76 percent to 80 percent of eighth-, ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders participating in at least one activity. For seventh-graders, it is 69 percent, and for seniors it drops to 65 percent. Senior year is when kids get serious about looking ahead to the future and preparing for college, Norman noted.

Blue Earth Area had 17 students this year who participated in at least two varsity sports and maintained a minimum 3.5 grade-point average, he said. Ten athletes participated in three sports for all four years of their high school careers.

In action items, the board:

o Passed a resolution to enter into discussions with the Southwest Conference.

“The two conferences (Southwest and South Central) want to get together and discuss what we can do together,” Gough said.

Board member Mark Maher asked why Blue Earth would go west instead of east. Norman said the Southwest Conference matches better when it comes to enrollment. Plus, Blue Earth Area already attends invitationals to the west.

o Approved several personnel changes, including accepting retirements from school nurse Sharon Hoyt and custodian Paul Schavey.

“We will post for the school nurse position,” Gough said. “The goal is to fill it by mid-July.”