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Coaches' resignations accepted by board
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The resignation of two longtime athletic coaches was announced at the North Crawford School Board meeting last Thursday.

Volleyball coach Shelly Biggin and boys basketball coach Gary Hines have both decided to not coach next year, district administrator Dan Davies told the board. Both coaches have about 25 years of coaching experience at the school.

Hines, who played for North Crawford as a high school student, began his career at the school coaching girls basketball for a couple of years before becoming the varsity boys basketball coach for the last 24 years.

Biggin attended high school in Seneca, but began teaching elementary school and coaching track at North Crawford in the late 80s. After some major successes with the track team, which she coached for 16 years, she started coaching volleyball, which she has coached for the last 11 years.

“I know kids were waiting to be coached by each of these coaches,” Davies told the board. “Dedication like that (of Biggin and Hines) doesn’t come along all of the time.”

The board approved accepting the resignations of the veteran coaches.

The board meeting began with a PEP Grant update from the grant coordinator Tarrasa Lown. The Pep Grant is federal wellness initiative aimed at improving the school’s physical education programs and nutritional offerings.

One PEP Grant project that is about to begin is the construction of a raised-bed vegetable garden in a greenhouse at North Crawford, Lown told the board. She said she’s hoping the greenhouse garden project will be completed by Saturday, April 27 when the district will host a celebration of the Pep Grant Health and Wellness Initiative.

Lown told the board the event would emphasize the school’s partnerships with the community around wellness issues.

A 5K family run/walk is meant to be a relaxing event for those who attend. Vernon Memorial Healthcare will provide 250 t-shirts to be given away to run/walk participants.

The Pep Grant plans to showcase some of the fitness equipment purchased with the funding. A demonstration in the large gym with phy ed teachers Judd Eastman and Gary Hines supervising students in fitness activities with assistance from VMH Wellness Center staff. In addition to showcasing the fitness equipment and the garden, Lown said information on healthy lifestyles would be featured in the small gym with exhibits by Organic Valley, local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and the Kickapoo Exchange Natural Foods Co-op among others. There will also be a Badger Care representative on hand to explain the program to those in attendance. Chef Monique Hooker will cook a healthy lunch with food provided by Organic Valley and Driftless Organics, a local vegetable farm.

Lown, who has attended training on behalf of the school’s wellness initiative, noted the local program is getting attention from others she meets at conferences and events.

A measure to approve a five-year loan bid from one of two local banks was tabled because two of the four board members present indicated they planned to abstain due to personal ties to the lending institutions. School board member Tina Volden is an employee of Peoples State Bank in Soldiers Grove and board member Aaron Fortney is married to Nicole Fortney, an employee of the Royal Bank in Gays Mills.

Attorney Eileen Brownlee, who was attending the meeting to advise the board in closed session during a review of complaints, informed the board that with two board members abstaining they lost quorum on the matter and could not vote on the proposed loan. No action was taken. The board had hoped to use a low-interest loan from one of the banks to pay for the air conditioning update, while assuring their cash flow options would not be impacted.

In other business, the North Crawford School Board:

• converted two vacation days, April 1 and 26, into student attendance days and additional teacher make-up days

• approved additional teacher-only makeup days to include June 10, 11 and 12, but teachers who removed materials from long-term storage and were ready to leave would be given an option to leave anytime after June 10

• decided to allow teachers to get a half day credit for attending the district’s Pep Grant Wellness Day on April 27

• approved co-operative sports teams with Seneca for wrestling and Viroqua for girls gymnastics

• modified school-sponsored summer food service program with a location switch from the Gays Mills Pool to the Lions Park Shelter in Soldiers Grove

• agreed to an audiology contract for 2013-14

• approved a self-financed overnight senior class trip to the Wisconsin Dells

 • added the co-curricular position of strength and conditioning coach for the remainder of the school year

• approved Melissa Fradette as assistant girls track coach and Ben Bergum as assistant boys baseball coach

After meeting in closed session, the board reconvened in open session and approved giving preliminary notice of non-renewal to a teacher acting as a long-term substitute in the district.

The board also consulted with their contracted attorney Eileen Brownlee in closed session on the agenda item listed as “Review of Complaints.” No action was taken in the open session that followed.