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Thorp resigns from Frazee Community Ed.

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Thorp resigns from Frazee Community Ed.
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

After getting her position reduced at last month’s Frazee-Vergas School Board meeting, Community Education Director Lori Thorp resigned the position this month.

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Last month the board approved reducing Thorp’s position from 260 days to 190 days. During the May meeting, there was some discussion held on the matter, with board member Jim Nelson saying that he felt a reduction to 161 days was doable.

For years Nelson and Thorp have been at odds with each other and Tuesday morning, Nelson argued whether or not Thorp should be paid out her personal time off that she had accrued during time as community education director.

In 2010, the two wrote letters to the editor regarding Thorp’s position. Nelson was running for school board at the time.

He started with letters regarding the pay and benefits for all the administrative positions at the district, but it turned more personal, insinuating that Thorp was hired because her husband was on the school board.

She had previously worked for the district before her husband was on the board though and earned her community education licensure for the position.

On Tuesday, though Nelson argued that it was his understanding that the PTO payout was to be denied, the other members of the school board and Superintendent Terry Karger said that they were not aware of that. Instead, they all said it was their understanding that the PTO had to be paid out legally according to Thorp’s contract but that would have been changed for a future contract.

“Administration has that extra benefit and it’s a contractual benefit and we have no say in that,” board member Rich Ziegler said.

The board approved accepting Thorp’s resignation effective June 30, with the clarification of the PTO having to be paid out or not.

Karger also asked for direction from the board as to what they want to do to fill the position.

He said that Morris School District Superintendent Scott Monson is doing some research into what other districts are doing with staffing their community education program. Karger said he’d like to wait until Monson is done with his research in the next couple weeks to have more information and ideas.

“It might generate what we can do also,” he said.

Some ideas he threw out include consolidating with neighboring districts or combining the position with a part-time position already established at the school.

Board member Tammie Nunn said that she liked “the possibility of combining with Detroit Lakes because that program is outstanding and it would be nice to get anywhere close to that.”

Board member Ken Fett said he liked the idea of having someone already in the district who is part-time take on the position.

The board will look at the matter in the near future after Karger hears back from the Morris superintendent.

Gymnastics update

Last month the board talked about possibly eliminating the gymnastics program because of space reasons. But, the district gave Amie Erickson, coach of the sport, a couple months to see if she could find off-site space or other options in order to keep the program.

She updated the board Tuesday morning to let them know that she had talked to the Minnesota Flyers in Detroit Lakes, and there is space there to rent out. She said Detroit Lakes District pays for facility rental and coaching staff, but Frazee would only pay for the facility rental since she would continue as coach and the Frazee District pays for that.

Their practice time would be 6:30 to 9 p.m., five days a week from November to February.

Though the price would need to be negotiated if the district goes forward with the rental space, she estimated it to be around $2,000 for the season.

She said the school would have to also look into transporting about 12 students from Frazee to Detroit Lakes. She said she talked to Ted Anderson at Anderson Bus Service and he said it would work out fine at those hours because drivers are back from their regular routes by then.

Erickson said she hadn’t gotten a cost on the transportation piece though.

She questioned the possibility of being able to set up the equipment in the Frazee gymnasium for a couple weeks to be able to squeeze a couple home meets in so the girls could “truly have home meets.”

She also asked that the equipment be set up for three weeks in the fall for the elementary gymnastics camp.

The matter will come before the board in August, where a decision will likely be made.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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