Fairmont considering new league

FAIRMONT – Activities director Mat Mahoney told the Fairmont School Board on Tuesday that a proposed conference merger “makes a lot of sense for Fairmont.”

Mahoney recapped the journey that activities directors, coaches and superintendents have taken since August to see whether the 13 schools in the South Central and Southwestern conferences can work out a plan to merge.

Mahoney said they studied the schedules and mileage and did a lot of homework.

“We were able to get a lot of stuff done,” he said. “A lot of positives to this and not many negatives. This will provide stability for us, for our school.”

He has been questioned about how much travel will increase, and how much more time students will be out of school. He says it will be about the same, especially since Fairmont is centrally located among the schools that stretch from the western state border to Waseca on the east end.

Mahoney explained to the board how schedules for the different sports will work, and how the big and small schools will compete.

“Twenty different sports at Fairmont and we can do a lot of great things with it,” Mahoney said.

The arrangement will provide flexibility if one school decides to drop out and another decides to join, he said.

Board member Dan Brookens asked about the timeline.

The board will consider two resolutions on Nov. 12, said Superintendent Joe Brown.

“One to dissolve the South Central Conference and the other to join the Big South [Conference],” he said.

Turning to other business, Brown reported that the state owed the district $561,000 and began paying it back Oct. 15.

“This is not additional money,” Brown stressed to the board. “This is money that is owed to us. Now we’re getting paid on time.”

Brown praised Sue Nelson, the district’s business manager, for overseeing the cash in reserve to keep the district going. Other schools had to borrow money, but Fairmont did not, he said.

“She does a great job managing the fiscal things,” he said.