Prophetstown resident Gerry Halpin speaks to the PLT School Board and a large audience at the board meeting on Monday night.
Full Co-op Approved00:00 AM November 28, 2017
After many years of meetings and debates the Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico school board voted unanimously to co-op all athletic activities with Erie beginning next school year at their November meeting on Monday night. A vote on the final decision was set into motion months ago by Board President Ryan Inskeep who said prior to the vote, “It has been a long journey, but enough is enough, were going to quit talking about it and vote.” The actual motion by James Melton took some time to be constructed as the board discussed what should be included. It was finally decided to include boys’ and girls’ basketball, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ golf, basketball dance and cheerleading. Non-athletic activities will be discussed and voted on at a later time. The affirmative 7-0 vote was greeted with applause from the audience.
“I’m ecstatic,” was the reaction from Erie Athletic Director, Brian Howell. “I think this is a great opportunity for all the kids not just athletically but academically. It opens up a whole new era of opportunities for kids.” Howell also commented that he would be working on the EP volleyball schedule on Tuesday morning.
Prior to the vote board members heard from a few members of the public including district resident Pam Plautz. She asked the board to vote in favor of a full co-op based on the continuing trend of declining enrollment in the district, which she said is prevalent in several Whiteside County schools. The PLT district has lost 189 students in the last 15 years.
Former board president Gerry Halpin reiterated his stance that the board should not agree to a full co-op. Halpin pointed to the fact that both Erie and Prophetstown boys’ basketball programs have more than sufficient numbers and should remain separate. Saying he felt the new board of control was an excellent venue for overseeing the current co-op arrangement he suggested that the board vote on each sport separately. Halpin also commented that several board members at the October meeting expressed concerns about a lack of decision-making by the new co-op board of control.
Board member Wendy Schultz reported that the co-op board of control met twice since the last regular board meeting to try and address questions and concerns about the possible full co-op. She gave the board a list of topics that had been discussed in the meetings saying that several decisions would not be reached until the co-op vote was taken. Topics at the meetings included a vision statement, student code of conduct, splitting gate receipts, practice and game locations.
The group did decide If the co-op was to expand all current coaches in new co-op sports would need to reapply. The group reiterated there will be a no cut policy for all activities. It was also reported that the two district superintendents and high school principals met recently to begin talks on possibly sharing academic courses.
After the vote PLT superintendent Chad Colmone said, “I’m glad the vote is finally done I think it’s going to be a good thing in the end for our students. I’m excited about the opportunities academically for our students that we can look forward to now.”
Board member Kim Purvis commented, “I was expecting it I guess, I had no reservations about it passing at all.” Since her election to the board last spring Purvis has been a vocal proponent of the full co-op. She pushed the effort along by introducing a plan to form, what is now called the board of control to oversee the current co-op, which was adopted several months ago. She added “I felt someone needed to be bold enough to say let’s move forward or let’s cut strings, we’ve got to make a decision because we’re just dragging this out and it’s not helping anyone.”
Erie School Board President Chad Miner, who attended the meeting along with other members of his board, said, “At the end of the day it’s got to be about the kids. They’re going to be growing pains, but the board of control has worked very hard the last several months to get here and make sure it’s good moving forward.” Miner added that what excites him most is the opportunities that can now be explored.
The next co-op board of control meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 13th at the Erie High School Media Center.