School board: Kids can play 2 sports this fall

By Tara Brandl

With the reinstatement of the fall football and volleyball seasons Monday, the District No. 2904 School Board revisited its stance on only allowing one sport per student per season.

“I’d like to see that we allow those kids dual participation for this fall,” Activities Director Bill Tauer said. “It’s an unusual situation with it being reinstated. I know we haven’t allowed it in the past, but for those teams and those kids to be allowed to finish out those seasons and still be allowed to participate in football or volleyball, I think that would be the right thing to do.”

The board agreed, unanimously passing a resolution to allow students participating in two sports during the fall 2020 season due to the reinstatement of volleyball and football. Student athletes must choose a primary sport of participation.

“What I would ask is that they (the student athlete) along with me or the coaches identify what their priority sport would be,” Tauer said. “That way the coaches can work together as far as where and when they should be. If there is football practice and a cross country meet, they go to the cross country meet. But the practice side of it, that will be worked out between the kids and coaches for the remaining three to four weeks.”

In addition to the update on the fall seasons, the board looked at the fee increase for the Minnesota State High School League.

Tauer said 75% of the MSHSL’s income comes from state tournaments, sponsorships and program sales, and “when they lost that revenue source last year in the spring and the winter getting cut off and as of right now there is no state tournaments being projected, they were financially hurting. A $9 million budget down to a $5 million budget, and about $800,000 of that goes right off the top for insurance for all the kids involved to cover all the schools.”

The MSHSL put together a task force to create a plan to present to the board for fee increases. The plan, which was approved at the Aug. 4 meeting, broke the fees into four classes along the same lines that the sports are broke down. The fees have to be paid twice, once in November and once at the end of February. Schools that are 4A will have a $5,500 fee each time, 3A schools $4,500, 2A schools (which Tracy Area Public Schools falls into) is $3,500, 1A schools $2,500, schools with enrollment of 51-100 $1,500 and any schools with less than that $500.

Tauer said the increases will bring in a little over $3 million.

“For us it’s a $7,000 increase, $3,500 in November and $3,500 at the end of February,” said Tauer.

In other board news:

• Homecoming will be changed from this week to a later date with the reinstatement of football and volleyball.

• Elementary Principal Mike Munson reported that in the first 10 days of school, they had six staff out, ranging from three days to 14 days.

• The school received a SHIP mini-grant for $3,000 toward the purchase of hydration stations — two at TAHS and one at TAES.

• The board certified the Minnesota Department of Education Levy Limitation and Certification Report for 2020, payable in 2021 at the maximum level of funding allowed by state law at $1,757,846.58, a $29,828 increase over FY20 or 1.73%.

• The board approved the hiring of Alex Greenway as the 2020-21 TAPS strength and conditioning coach.

• The board will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 12:30 p.m. via Zoom to canvas election results. The regular school board meeting will still be on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.