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Breckenridge Superintendent contract renewed through 2022

Breckenridge Public Schools Superintendent Diane Cordes will continue to lead the district through 2022 after renewal of her contract by the school board Monday, April 15.

The average package increase per year, for the three-year contract, is 3.34 percent. Cordes has consistently rated high in the annual superintendent surveys given to staff and faculty members.

In other board action, the Activities Department requested for an amount not to exceed $2,900 to move the scoreboard that is now located at the varsity baseball field to the high school varsity softball field. Expenses include purchasing a new controller. The scoreboard is to replace the one that’s not working at the softball field. Justin Neppl made a motion to approve the request, seconded by Ty Mikkelson, which was approved.

The Migrant School Title 1 Program and the Tri Valley Migrant Head Start Program were approved separately. The Title 1 program runs June 5-July 12 and the Head Start program runs May 31-July 30. Both programs employ some district staff and the district is the fiscal agent for the Title 1 program.

The board approved administration’s recommendation to apply the governor’s Snow Day Legislation to the district’s inclement weather day on April 12.

Superintendent Cordes congratulated the speech students who competed at state. Nolan Lemna placed 11th in informative speaking and Gracie Hennen tied for 12th place in informative speaking.

Students who participated in the Concordia Honor Band were recognized. They were Caleb Ellingson, Emmaree Lauritsen and Rachel Anderson.

National Honor Society new inductees are Lauritsen, Isabel Friederichs, McKenzie R. Christensen, Dylan Pearson, Merrick Meyer and Emma Ihland.

Cordes also noted the district’s provision for a cooperative agreement with North Dakota State College of Science is included in both Senate and House Omnibus Education bills.

As part of the consent agenda, the board approved the hiring of the following individuals: elementary teacher Jordan Christensen, SACC assistant McKenzie Hendrickx, junior high track coach Anthony Bogenreif, Twin Town Baseball League game manager Toviao Hopkins, Driver Education coordinator Stacy Busta, Driver Education instructor Casey Lipp and FFA Adviser/Ag teacher Stephanie Hauger.

Resignations were accepted from band teacher Isaac McMahon, elementary teacher Emma Haux, Robotics Team adviser Bonnie Karels, assistance boys basketball coach Dick Cordes and eighth grade boys basketball coach Brady Heisler. The employees were thanked for their service to the district.

A resolution was approved to place teacher Brenda Romereim on unrequested leave of absence to the extent of .5 FTE.

A presentation was given by John Powers of Applied Insights North regarding student enrollment projection out to 20 years in the future. He covered enrollment decline due to decrease in the district population, open enrollment in and out of the district and review of the county population. He also provided the board with district enrollment projections.

The next school board meeting shifts back to the summer schedule. It is set for 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 21 at the elementary school conference room.


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Amazing Race returns to Blue Goose Days
Signature, family-friendly fundraiser for Kinship

Richland-Wilkin Kinship’s is bringing back one of its most popular events this spring.

The 13th Annual Amazing Race will be held Friday, May 31. Taking place on the first night of Blue Goose Days, the Amazing Race is designed to create lasting, fun memories for its participants.

“This is our signature fundraiser,” Director Rebekah Christensen said. “It’s really meaningful to us and we appreciate the people who do it.”

Starting at approximately 6 p.m., teams for 4-6 family members, friends and co-workers will take a unique journey. The Amazing Race is open to competitive and family racers.

The teams travel 3.5 miles total, occasionally on foot but mostly on bicycle. They stop for unique but not intimidating challenges.

“Some are more intellectual in nature and some are more physical in nature,” explained Assistant Director Jeff Bass. “Part off the fun is that they don’t know what the challenges are in advance.”

It helps level the playing field, Christensen continued.

“It’s not necessarily the people who are the most athletic that are going to win,” she said. “That’s what brings out the most fun stories.”

The preferred decline for team registration is Wednesday, May 15. Early registration allows team members to receive an official shirt, which helps race judges better identify leaders and winners.

Registering early also allows organizers to have medals for the participants. The minimum amount a team must provide for registration is $250, due on Friday, May 31.

“You can register without having your money raised yet,” Christensen said. “For a team of six people, that’s just over $40 each. Talk to your neighbors, talk to your grandparents — it can be done.”

Registrations can be made by visiting www.rwkinship.org/raceregistration, calling 701-672-0303 or e-mailing rwkinship@702com.net.

“All proceeds support local youth mentoring,” Kinship reminds anyone interested in racing.

The race often takes participants through Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota. Safety is always a priority.

“One of our great ways of keeping community engagement in the event is by having other organizations and businesses sponsor the challenges,” Bass said.

Kinship’s Amazing Race is sponsored by Bremer Bank, Cargill, Norby Krueger, Smith Motors, Essentia Health, Otter Tail Power Company and Minn-Kota Ag Products.

“How crazy is it that we’ve been doing this for 13 years?” a delighted and proud Christensen asked.

Newcomers are always encouraged to join the race.

“In our family division, we do need someone who is 12 and younger. In our competitive division, teams must have someone 16 or younger. We want to keep this a family-friendly event,” Christensen continued.

Amazing Race participants will enjoy a picnic in Chahinkapa Park and an assortment of prizes. Prize packages are not guaranteed, but in most years, there’s been enough packages for every team.

“It’s such a win-win,” Christensen said. “Everyone gets a t-shirt, medal, picnic meal and part of the prize package.”

Prize items are intended to lead to other fun experiences.

“We want things you can do together, having quality time,” Christensen added. “The biggest thing is the memories you’re creating.”

Look to Daily News Media, in print and online, for coverage of Kinship’s Amazing Race and other Blue Goose Days events.


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North Dakota state auditor surprised by legislative move to restrict authority
Governor could veto section of bill

BISMARCK (FNS) — North Dakota’s state auditor said he was surprised by the Legislature’s last-minute move to restrict his ability to launch audits Thursday, April 25.

The budget bill for State Auditor Josh Gallion’s office requires that he receive lawmakers’ blessing to launch performance audits, which are different than the regular examinations of a state agency’s books. In recent years, performance audits have discovered an “inappropriate” use of state planes by the governor’s office as well as ethical and bookkeeping concerns with the state Department of Trust Lands.

Gallion, a Republican first elected in 2016, said the amendment was added earlier this week during a House-Senate conference committee in the session’s final days.

“It was a surprise to me,” he said. “It all happened very quickly.”

Gallion said the new requirements will slow down the auditing process. The Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee, which would need to approve his request to launch performance audits, meets infrequently, he said.

Moreover, giving lawmakers the ability to block performance audits could allow political considerations into the process, Gallion said.

During a floor debate Thursday, some lawmakers argued the move was intended to ensure communication between the Legislature and the auditor. Republican Rep. Jeff Delzer, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the new language “really doesn’t change much” about current practice.

“The job of the auditor is to keep people out of trouble, not to go out there looking for trouble,” said Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley.

Bismarck Republican Rep. Rick Becker called the restrictions “very concerning” and said they could “solidify the good ol’ boys club concept.”

“What if the person or the agency ... that the auditor is looking into happens to be pretty chummy with whoever in the future may be on (the legislative committee)?” he said.

The bill was sent to Republican Gov. Doug Burgum Thursday, and he could veto the section restricting the auditor’s authority. A spokesman said the governor typically doesn’t comment on pending legislation.


Abby Hildebrand Daily News Media  

Breckenridge sends Haire off to international competition

Students, faculty and members of the Breckenridge High School community in Breckenridge, Minn., gathered to give Zach Haire an enthusiastic send off Friday, April 26. Haire, a senior, is competing in the DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla. He previously earned high honors as an emerging leader and entrepreneur during the DECA State Career Development Conference, held in March. Haire, seen with classmate Hunter Gowin, got the crowd roaring. Nearly 20,000 collegiate, high school students and professionals will vie for international honors from April 27-30.