Girls hoops merger on the table

GRANADA – A proposal to add Martin Luther High School’s girls basketball team to the existing GHEC-Truman partnership was offered to the Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board on Thursday.

Paul Steinhaus, superintendent at Martin Luther, said combining the teams would “put forth a good strong program for kids, parents and families.”

Board members questioned Steinhaus about the number of potential players; game and practice venues; mascots; game schedules; and a timetable for the possible cooperation.

“We’re not trying to put you on the spot, but these are the questions we’re going to be asked,” said GHEC?Superintendent Steven Heyd. “Obviously, we’ll have to have parent meetings.”

Truman and GHEC are halfway through their two-year cooperative agreement, but another team could be added to it, according to Terry Bentele, GHEC activities director.

Steinhaus said the students who would play for Martin Luther have accepted that a cooperative agreement might happen. He estimated the school will have 15 girls in grades 9 through 12 in the basketball program.

Bentele said adding Martin Luther students to the existing cooperative would result in 14 juniors and seniors and 23 in the ninth and 10th grades.

Rick Uttech, coach for the existing cooperative, said only 12 girls – three from Truman and nine from GHEC – have signed up for the summer program, while only one B squad player expressed an interest. The shrinking numbers of potential players raises some concern.

“I’m probably in favor of putting everything together,” Uttech told the board.

Steinhaus said adding Martin Luther to the cooperative will “offer all our athletes a better program for success,” but it would be bittersweet.

“It comes with a little bit of melancholy that this was the last program we had by ourselves,” he said.

Martin Luther and GHEC already combine their girls volleyball teams.

The board will not take action on the proposal until a dialogue can take place between players, parents, board members and staff.

In other action, the GHEC?board:

o Hired Dale Brandsoy as an independent contractor to serve as part-time superintendent of schools.

o Hired Mandy Fletcher as full-time business education and technology teacher with dean of students responsibilities.

o Accepted the resignations of Scott Chirpich as boys basketball coach and Kirstyn Wegner as high school English teacher.

o Hired Bethany Flohrs and Keri Murphy as full-time elementary teachers.

o Heard a report on teacher evaluations from Erin Danner. The school was part of a pilot program to teach the different components and requirements of staff evaluations, which the state mandates starting in the 2014-15 school year.