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After much debate, Hillsboro to join Marion for girls swimming

Staff writer

After much deliberation, Hillsboro school board voted 5 - 2 Monday to approve a cooperative girls’ swim team with Marion for spring.

Board president Mark Rooker introduced the item with a recommendation that it be revisited later.

He said an administrator would have to oversee all events Hillsboro participated in, and with other sports and activities in spring, there wouldn’t be enough staff.

Lack of a driver to take swimmers to practice and meets also was a concern.

“Right now, we cannot find bus drivers,” Rooker said. “We have one retiring and one is going to be out for a while for a surgery. Bus drivers are at a premium.”

Other board members were concerned about the speed at which the team was being established, wanting to wait and form a stronger plan instead.

They also thought a lot of effort was going into a team that only four to six students were interested in.

Two faculty members said two or three boys also were interested in swimming.

Marion offered to charge Hillsboro $1,000 per participating swimmer. Other schools such as Hesston and Canton-Galva would charge more than three times as much per swimmer.

Hillsboro’s budget has been overextended from unexpected energy bills, Rooker said, but could afford for the interested girls to swim with Marion.

Jim Paulus, father of one of the potential swimmers, argued for the team.

“We can’t offer it all,” Paulus said, “but this is someone offering it for us.”

Several students already participate in Newton swim clubs. If getting a bus driver would be an issue, Paulus suggested using a smaller vehicle instead or letting students drive themselves, as students have done for other sports practices in the past.

Marion’s team will pass through Hillsboro along the way to many meets this year, so Marion could pick up the girls at Hillsboro and eliminate the need for a driver. Marion also could provide an administrator at events.

“We’ll go to wrestling tournaments and be the only administrator there,” Rooker said.

Board member Kim Klein suggested it might be time to re-evaluate past practices.

“Instead of ‘we’ve always done it’, ask, ‘why have we always done it?’,” she said.

In the end, the board approved a joint girls swim team for spring and will look into both boys and girls swim teams for the 2022-2023 school year at a later date.

Other actions at the meeting included the approval of a new overhead door for the school kitchen, a new window, and a one-time incentive bonus of $150 for all kindergarten staff members.

Last modified Dec. 15, 2021

 

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