In its Monday, Oct. 19, meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board unanimously agreed to add Walker-Hackensack-Akeley to the Northern Lakes girls’ hockey co-op, but just for this year.

To do this, the board first had to vote to dissolve the current co-op of Pequot Lakes, Crosby-Ironton and Pine River-Backus before voting to approve a new co-op of those three schools along with Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.

W-H-A was only seeking a one-year co-op agreement for its small number of hockey players. After this season, it hopes to join a co-op with more nearby schools like Park Rapids.

“They have a couple of players that need a place to play for one year,” Superintendent Chris Lindholm said. “This is a one-year Band-Aid for them and for us, because our numbers are low and we could use those two players for a year before our younger grades with more numbers work their way up in the program.”

The board will have to take similar actions next year to allow W-H-A to leave the co-op.

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The board also agreed to suspend its remodeling project of the new STEM campus, which was formerly the Echo Journal building, for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. This action was done due to a loss in school funds stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other action Monday, the board:

  • Approved a hold harmless in an effort to stabilize funding for the fiscal year after seeing enrollment figures 60 students below projections, likely due to COVID-19.

“School districts statewide have lost significant enrollment due to COVID and strongly feel like enrollment will be back,” Lindholm said, “But for one year, there will be a big hit to revenue.”

  • Approved an “E-Learning Plan” that can be used to offer remote learning opportunities when the school must be closed due to inclement weather.

  • Approved a contract agreement between the district and noncertified employees effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2022.

  • Accepted four donations. Three are grants for various programs, and the fourth donation is a “large quantity” of school supplies for students in need.

  • Approved the resignation of assistant trap coach Chad Nelson.

  • Hired paraprofessionals Caleb Burggraff and Ashley Wendt.

  • Approved extended leaves for van driver Karen Johnson, paraprofessional Doris Young, speech pathologist Teri Kaminski-Peterson, van driver Lori Larson and teacher Ali Ross.

The board will conduct a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, to canvass election results, with its regular work session to immediately follow. Interim member Brandon Andersen will join the board at that time.

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.