Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Parents favor renewing Wright's contract


April 26, 2018

Lois E. Johnson

Artwork by ECFE students was on display for Week of the Young Child.

Two parents spoke in favor of keeping Dustin Wright as a basketball coach at Moose Lake's school board meeting on Monday, April 16.

It was announced at the liaison meeting by Moose Lake Athletic Director Tony Andres that Wright's contract would not be renewed.

Mike Mikrot said his daughter, who is in the eighth grade, made all-conference.

"That was huge but I saw nothing from the school," he said. "I went around with a petition and got 70 signatures. He puts in more time than any coach that you have ever had."

Mikrot said he has seen the reasons why Wright was let go.

"You really have no reason to let him go," he said.

Another parent pointed out Wright as an example of a leader and he inspires and shows commitment as a coach. She said her daughter, who attends school in Willow River, has not always loved Wright as a teacher but loves him as a coach. She suggested the schools have a good outline for the coaches to follow.

Julie Duesler, Early Childhood coordinator, spoke to the board about the Week of the Young Child.

There are posters around town and place mats in celebrating young children, she said.

Superintendent Robert Indihar said that the school district will not have to pay an additional cost for the rubberized surface of the track.

"The company that will apply it has enough left over from another project," he said. "That will save us about $50,000."

Barney Hollis presented an idea to the board about building terraced viewing areas next to the track and placing portable bleachers on the terraces.

"The portable bleachers can be lined up going down the terraces," he said. "There could be a safety rail. And then the bleachers could be moved to the baseball field because that is not the at the same time as track. They could also be used by the community, such as at the snowmobile watercross."

Hollis presented rough cost estimates for 30 sections of bleachers at a total cost of $8,000, and suggested that fundraising in the community could finance the cost.

The board decided to ask him to attend a Facilities Committee meeting to discuss the proposal further. Requirements of the Minnesota State High School League and safety concerns will be explored.

Tony Andres presented a report about a sports survey that was formatted by Principal Greg Campbell of the Willow River school.

"This was done on a Google format and labels all of the athlete numbers," he said.

Andres showed the board on a TV screen the different pie and graph charts that showed how many students intended to play in the various sports next year, and how many students were interested in trying another sport. They would have to give up the sport that they had played in the past.

The purpose of the report was to determine if there was something that jumped out as a sport that the students wanted that could be added to the sports sanctioned by the MSHSL.

The Takedown Club for wrestling at Willow River was one that is popular, Andres told the board.

The response by the students was quite good. Only 12 students were required to state their preferences but there were 120 responses.

"Only nine people said that they would join wrestling out of the 116 responses," said Andres. "But that's how you justify adding a sport. You can add a sport for just males or females. You don't have to add the same sport for the boys and for girls teams."

There was interest in lacrosse, archery, racquetball, tennis, bowling, judo and karate but those would be teams where there was no award, such as state championships.

Andres spoke about the difficulty that he has had in finding the survey, and that the surveys are outdated. The latest survey format was from 2009.

He also said that the survey is required every three years but there was a benefit to conducting the survey every year.

"Once it is in a Google format, I can send it out every day," he said.

There was a question from a board member about the impact of the concussion testing.

Andres explained that every student should take an impact test, where they would answer questions on a computer, and then have a baseline test done at Mercy Hospital.

"A student can just trip and fall and hit their head," he said. "All parents should have the kids take the tests."

Andres told the board that all levels of coaches and officials are trained to see the symptoms of a concussion.

"The official always has the last say," he said. "The training for coaches has gotten better over the years. Every kid is different, and they handle it differently. The coaches have a five-day protocol in getting the kids back into the games after a concussion."

In other business, the board accepted a $2,500 donation from Al Henderson for artwork in the Early Childhood wing. Indihar said that the artwork will consist of a collage of baby animals.

The board also approved renewing the membership in the Northern Lights Special Education Cooperative, approved hiring a half time outside maintenance/housekeeper, and approved a resolution relating to the termination and nonrenewal of Priscilla Heimbruch, a probationary teacher.

The next meeting of the board was set for Monday, May 21, at 6 p.m.


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