Breckenridge activities remain uncertain

Minnesota health officials are recommending a return to outdoor youth sports June 24, with indoor sports activities resuming July 1.

Minnesota’s Department of Education has instructed schools to prepare for three scenarios for how the 2020-21 school year will be constructed during the coronavirus pandemic. Each scenario presents a dilemma for activities at Breckenridge Public Schools.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the fall moving forward,” Superintendent Diane Cordes said during a Breckenridge school board activities committee meeting held Friday, June 26. “My hope is that we don’t open with distance learning.”

What’s even more up in the air is whether activities will be held in the fall and if so, which ones. With that conversation came the concern that if the school doesn’t hold activities, the board will need to address coaches and advisers.

Cordes said that the first concern involving hiring coaches and advisors for activities. The second concern was putting in place an agreement depending on the scenario such as prorating compensation if the activity is cut short.

“Is this something we want to work at with our local union as far as being on top of this that could confront us in the fall and not just the fall, the whole school year?” Cordes said. “We may open and then all of a sudden have to go to distance learning then all activities will be shut down.”

School board member Steve Arnhalt recommended that Cordes and Athletic Director Chad Fredericksen work on an agreement with the school’s union. School member Ty Mikkelson agreed with him.

“All coaches in general, they put so much into this and they get comparatively compensated nothing for the blood, sweat and tears,” Arnhalt said. “I don’t know what the number is. I’d like it to be 100 percent but we are short on funds.”

Fredericksen will be meeting with coaches to gain their perspective on this topic before he and Cordes take their recommendation to the union.

In other Breckenridge activity news, Cordes discussed a meeting that she had with St. Mary’s Schoool’s Principal Tom Haire about revisiting the co-op arrangement for hockey, gymnastics and swimming.

Cordes talked with Wahpeton Public School Superintendent Rick Jacobson about an opportunity to work together.

“What we identified was that St. Mary’s as an entity can enter into the co-op directly with Wahpeton for swimming and gymnastics because Wahpeton hosts those events,” Cordes said.

She explained that this would be a similar arrangement that schools in North Dakota have with smaller communities. The arrangement allows for 1-2 students to join the co-op for $500 rather than entering into a contract with Breckenridge for $1,200-1,500.

“Rick said ‘I don’t see why we can’t offer that to St. Mary’s.’ It seems like a win-win,” Cordes said.

“To me, it doesn’t matter how they get in the co-op. What matters is they can pay and they can for the most reasonable amount to that family and Breckenridge schools don’t get stuck with the bill,” Cordes said. “Although this issue is not eliminated for hockey.”

Mikkelson added that he has heard very positive feedback for the work that Cordes and Haire have made to adjusting the current activity co-op.

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