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Split Colby board OK’s shared athletic director

A proposal to hire a shared athletic director with Abbotsford got just enough votes Monday night to ensure its passage by the Colby School Board, which was closely divided over whether or not to approve the new position.

With the district looking at having to pay between $31,000 and $42,000 toward the salary of a shared AD, board members were unsure if the position was worth the additional expense.

“We gain nothing except for the extra cost,” said board member Eric Elmhorst, who is also a teacher in the Abbotsford School District.

Board members said they are happy with the job being done by longtime AD Jim Hagen, who also serves as the Colby Middle School principal and varsity football coach.

Board member Jean Schmitt wondered why the Abbotsford district doesn’t just assign someone to do the AD duties in that district, and maybe Colby can just hire part-time help.

Superintendent Steve Kolden said Abbotsford’s AD has quit twice because of the workload and he doesn’t want Hagen to burn himself out.

Hagen said he will still be involved in helping out whoever is hired to do the shared AD position.

“It’s going to be a huge undertaking,” he said.

Kolden said the shared AD will be a Colby employee, with Abby reimbursing the district for half the wages and benefi ts, which are expected to be between $62,000 and $85,000, depending on the person’s experience and other factors.

Voting in favor of the shared AD position were Cheryl Ploeckelman, Todd Schmidt, Bill Tesmer and David Decker. Voting no were Elmhorst, Schmitt and Teri Hanson. The motion passed, 4-3.

Other business

_ The board accepted the resignation of Randy Rau as girls varsity basketball coach, and approved the hiring of Ben Bartelt as assistant golf coach, Erin Lindau as middle school assistant swim coach and Erin Hinker as a special education teacher aide.

_ Board members advised Kolden to start consulting local realtors about selling the red house on the corner of Second and Adam streets, which had formerly been used for special education.

_ The board approved a $24,400 contract with Neola for maintaining and updating the district’s bylaws and policies, to ensure they are in compliance with state and national laws.

_ The board approved a $6,000 annual contract, plus a one-time $1,000 fee, for BoardDocs to handle all of the board’s agenda packets and related files.

_ The board approved the first reading of a policy revision that will require students looking to graduate early to come before the school board after their junior year with a post-graduation plan. The board must approve all requests.