NORTH CRAWFORD - A seemingly perennial debate came to an end at the Monday, Nov. 19 meeting of the North Crawford School Board. The board voted unanimously to transition to eight man football, starting with the 2020 season.
“All the states around us have gone to reduced player football, and Wisconsin is finally catching up,” Superintendent Brandon Munson told the board. “Kickapoo just voted to go to eight man, and we will also be able to play Weston-Wonewoc, Belmont and more.”
Munson explained to the board that participation in high school football is down at North Crawford and nationally.
“In order to have a sustainable football program that allows us to be competitive, I think we need to move in this direction,” Munson said. “Coach Dornick surveyed the athletes about their preferences for a co-op team like Wauzeka-Steuben-Seneca has or going to eight man, and the universal sentiment was that our players preferred to remain the Trojans and go to an eight man team.”
Munson said that he forsees other schools in the area making the same decision in the next two-to-four years.
“The number of schools, especially schools in our current conference, going to eight man will likely double in the next few years,” Munson said. “It’s kind of like dominoes.”
Munson said that Wauzeka-Steuben-Seneca intends to continue with their co-op program for the time being.
Board member Terry O’Donnell questioned Munson about whether the WIAA will hold playoffs for the eight man teams prior to the vote being taken.
“WIAA started playoffs for eight man teams this year,” Munson said. “This year they had eight teams, next year they’ll have 16, and if they can get to a threshold of 50 teams, then they’ll do a full playoff.”
Munson explained that the eight man playoffs won’t be held in Madison for the time being, but that eventually they probably would be.
Munson reported to the board that he had received letters of resignation from Rob Ghormley as North Crawford Playhouse Director, and Jared Powell as Transportation Director.
“Rob will still be involved in this year’s spring play, and his resignation will be effective for the 2019 school year,” Munson said. “Rob has made a great contribution and he will be hard to replace.”
Regarding Transportation Director Jared Powell, Munson reported that he is leaving to take an opportunity with another district. Munson reported that the district has started advertising to fill the position.
“I’m working with Jared on a gap plan to carry us through the winter break, and I’m hoping to have a new director in place after that,” Munson said. “I’m sure there will be a few hiccups, but we’ll deal with those as they arise.”
State report card
Munson shared some great news with the board about the ‘State Report Card’ for the district, which had just been released by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
“Overall our district received a score of 74.5 which falls into the ‘exceeds expectations’ category,” Munson explained. “I’m really proud of our district’s growth, and it speaks volumes about the hard work our staff has done. We’re really seeing the fruits of our labor.”
Munson reported that the district’s score in 2017 was overall 72.2, which was just on the cusp of the ‘exceeds expectations level.
Cross County runner Helen Carstens was recognized by Munson for her achievements in the 2018 cross country season, which included taking sixth place at the state meet.
“We were very excited to have her return to the state meet this year,” Coach Liz Bransky said. “By taking sixth place, she made it to the podium, and she ran a great race.”
Carstens thanked the school for supporting her and allowing her to run – “it was really fun.”
Munson observed that the conditions at the sectional and state meets had been very challenging and commended Carstens for persevering despite the bad weather.
“In Boscobel at the sectional meet there were ice pellets in the air, but temperatures at the state meet were actually warmer than in 2017,” board member Tanya Forkash said. “At the sectional meet, the winds were so strong they were literally blowing runners over.”
Chris Carstens, Helen’s father, attended the meeting.
“I’m really grateful for Helen having the opportunity to run,” he said.
In other business, the board:
• heard that Business Manager Demetri Andrews had begun preliminary work on the 2019-2020 budget;
• heard that the third grade and kindergarten classes are partnering in a reading program;
• heard Interim High School/Middle School Principal give a ‘shout out’ to Chuck Bolstad who has come out of retirement to fill in for a guidance employee on a leave of absence – “it’s like he never left the building;”
• heard that Karen Brandl had taken a group of students to an annual creative writing workshop held at UW-Whitewater, where Elyssa Erickson had taken a first place, and Gavin Forkash a second place;
• heard that the district had received a $750 donation from Bealis Gidding to create an anti-bullying campaign at the school;
• heard that four-time state wrestling champion Scott Hady and Ty Schaefer would be wrestling volunteer coaches.