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Board looks at more events in Lake Park

A special meeting of the Lake Park-Audubon School Board has been called for 5 p.m. Thursday in Lake Park.

The purpose of the meeting will be twofold: To review an incident of “wrongdoing by a staff member” that will most likely require a closed session, and to discuss the possibility of relocating some of the district’s varsity sports practice sessions and games from the elementary site in Audubon to the high school.

The closed session was originally set to take place at the end of the board’s regular meeting on Monday. However, that item was taken off the agenda at the request of Superintendent Dale Hogie.

Hogie, who declined to name the employee or give any other specifics due to data privacy concerns, said that the staff member does have the option of opening Thursday’s meeting to the public.

Also at Monday night’s board meeting, the possibility of relocating some varsity sports which currently hold practice sessions in Audubon was discussed at length.

The discussion was initiated as the result of a letter from the district’s athletic trainer, who said that when two varsity events are being held at the same time in both the Lake Park and Audubon sites — six miles apart — it creates difficulties with being able to provide athletic training services to both sites.

“It may be time to look at this,” said board member Bryan Anderson. “We do have space here now (to run sports practices for grades 9-12 simultaneously). Before, we didn’t.”

The tradition of having some varsity sports based at the Audubon site dates back to when Audubon and Lake Park originally entered into a “pairing and sharing” agreement in the early 1990s.

Board member Jeff Swetland objected to the proposal, saying he felt the need to speak up on behalf of Audubon residents.

“If we have a varsity sport over there (in Audubon), let’s keep it there,” he said, noting that he didn’t feel it was right to “turn their backs” on the original agreement.

“We had a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that took place at the time of pairing and sharing,” said Board Chair Vicky Grondahl. “That’s a long time ago. There have been a lot of things that have changed, and this is a discussion that needs to take place.”

One concern that was brought up was the idea of holding more sports practices in the high school theater, which does have the capacity to be used as a backup gymnasium when needed.

LP-A High School Principal Kevin Ricke pointed out that the drama department also holds practices for the junior high play in the theater during the fall months, and the play itself takes place in mid-November.

“That’s the biggest (theater) production we do each year,” Ricke said.

“We don’t want to cheat the arts out of ‘their’ space,” Grondahl said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board passed a resolution to shift $300 of its current $750-per-student operating levy from being voter-approved to board-approved.

The resolution to approve the change passed on a 6-1 roll call vote, with Swetland casting the lone dissenting vote. The board-approved levy must be renewed every five years, Hogie noted.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454