The Faribault Public School board voted 3-2 tonight to dissolve girls soccer, boys soccer, and girls gymnastics cooperative agreements with Bethlehem Academy.

Board members Casie Steeves and Richard Olson voted against the dissolution.  Board members Chad Wolff and Courtney Cavellier were not in attendance.

Outgoing Activities Director Keith Badger was very candid with the board about why the dissolution was happening.  Simply put there were no Bethlehem Academy students interested in those sports.

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At one point Badger stated, "We don't want these things to exist just to exist.  We want them to be put together to provide opportunities where opportunities did not exist. If there are no interested students then the cooperative doesn't need to be in place."

He added, "We want to be able to make a decision that is in our best interest."

Olson asked Badger how Bethlehem Academy parents viewed the dissolution.  His response,  "I don't know.  I couldn't speak on their behalf.  I just work for the Faribault Public Schools."

Board member Jerry Robicheau commented, "I know you say you only work for the Faribault Public Schools but there are students participating in co-curricular activities from all schools so you are representing them as well."

Badger told the School Board when there are interested students any school can approach Faribault Public Schools and request a cooperative agreement.  Not just Bethlehem Academy but Medford, Northfield, any district.

Badger said, "I just think it's important to note that any student who has not officially enrolled in 9th grade for the first time can participate in our programs by simply enrolling with us you know so they have that opportunity to participate in our programs if they're not a ninth-grader yet.  So seventh and eighth-grade students, if gymnastics is their thing or soccer or football, whatever it is they do have the opportunity without a cooperative sponsorship to be a student here."

Steeves stated her reason for voting against the dissolution, "I think that all these cooperative agreements benefit our community.  They benefit our community as a whole.  I voted against all of them because I don't agree with the decision as outlined here."

Olson addressed Badger by saying, "You're going to be gone.  We're going to be here.  And all the taxpayers matter.  If their kids go to Faribault or B.A. or whatever.  I think you said something very important, I think it's very disturbing.  We're almost trying to steal kids from B.A. saying if you want to enroll in sports you have to come to our school district.  I think that's wrong.  I represent the whole community."

The Faribault Public School Board also accepted the resignation of Badger and voted in favor of hiring Ryan Lueken to be the new Activities Director for the district.  Lueken has been at the elementary and middle school levels for 18 years in the district and is excited about the new job.

Lueken's salary was approved at $100,533.  Badger has become the Activities Director in the Farmington Public School District.  He started in Faribault on July 1, 2018.

The board also approved some other administrative hirings:

  • Cora Packard-Emery- Alternative Learning Center Coordinator- Salary-$98,442
  • Janet Muth- Mental Health Coordinator for the District- Salary- $91,150
  • Christine Bothun- District Online Learning Coordinator- Salary- $93,000

In addition to Badger, resignations were approved for longtime school district employees Sam Ouk and Brian Coleman.

The School Board also approved the contract for the 2021-22 school year with River Bend Nature Center to provide outdoor learning services.  The agreement has been in place since 1979.  The cost is $33,517.

River Bend is also providing the opportunity for students to be in a Field Biologist Internship Class with Peter Jacobson in the fall or spring semester.  The cost to the district is $5,500.

Included in the 2021-22 budget is a scoreboard update at Bruce Smith Field in the amount of $186,876.

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