Written by John Plestina
Wolf Point School District trustees rebuffed a counter offer from the Frontier School District for an athletic co-op and gave the Frontier district two choices during a special board meeting, Monday, July 28.
The Wolf Point board voted to split costs down the middle with Frontier for several co-oped sports or adopt the proposal the WPSD offered in June to develop a co-op contract with Frontier for all junior high sports for an estimated savings to the WPSD of $8,500. That includes charging Frontier a $400 fee per sport [all sports] totaling $2,800 and splitting travel costs with Frontier to scheduled events for a cost savings of $5,200.
The original WPSD proposal included a statement that if Frontier did not accept the terms, the WPSD would discontinue allowing Frontier students to participate in Wolf Point Junior High athletics.
The WPSD board decision was part of nearly $300,000 in budget cuts approved Wednesday, May 28, that included athletic and extra-curricular spending cuts totaling $51,050 and more than $20,000 in fee increase.
The Frontier School Board determined in June that they wanted to retain as much of the Frontier Mustang identity as possible and would keep their own boys’ and girls’ basketball and volleyball programs, while agreeing to continue to co-op with Wolf Point for football, cross country, wrestling and track, with Frontier paying Wolf Point a $400 fee per co-oped sport, even if no students are participating from Frontier.
The Frontier board also responded to a Wolf Point request that Frontier pay half of transportation costs with a counter proposal that Frontier share its bus with Wolf Point for all volleyball and basketball jamborees. Both schools take buses to those events. The Frontier proposal was for the Frontier district to incur the transportation costs.
Some Wolf Point school board members said Monday, July 28, that $400 per team per co-oped sport plus each student’s pay-to-play fee would not be enough.
Wolf Point supplies uniforms, helmets and pads.
“How come we can’t split the cost down the middle?” WPSD trustee Brent Nygard asked.
“I think half is very fair,” superintendent Joe Paine said.
There have been concerns that if the existing co-op agreement was discontinued, Wolf Point might have difficulty fielding some teams.
Paine said Wolf Point Junior High might need to bring sixth-graders up from Northside Elementary School to participate on some teams.
The next Wolf Point school board meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 12. The Frontier board meets Monday, Aug. 11.