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Hockey and budget on the school board agenda

A group of parents made a plea for a combined Two Harbors / Silver Bay hockey team at Monday’s school board meeting.

Hockey parents filled the room and two spoke for the possible change in front of the Lake Superior School District board. Casey Komarek is a parent and one of the coaches of the Silver Bay 12U girls’ hockey team and started the discussion.

“Girls’ hockey continues to grow in Two Harbors,” he told the board.

Though the team he coaches is a Silver Bay squad in name, Komarek said about half the girls are from Two Harbors and two are from Grand Marais. He asked the board to consider a cooperative high school team like the one the boys currently have.

The 12U girls’ team had a blockbuster year, bringing home a third-place trophy from the state tournament. Many of the girls are now too old to remain on the team and will be moving on to junior varsity and varsity. Komarek said Two Harbors girls and their parents would be more likely to take on that commitment if they felt some ownership of the upper-level team and didn’t have to travel to Silver Bay five days a week.

“When they have a program that’s at the next level, it gives them something to look forward to,” he said.

The biggest change would be splitting practices and games evenly between Two Harbors and Silver Bay. Currently, they are all held in Silver Bay.

Wade LeBlanc, the president of the Blue Line Club that supports youth hockey in Silver Bay, agreed with the switch to a cooperative team.

“They’ve played together. The natural progression is that,” he said.

Co-op teams are nothing new for the district and take many different forms. The Cook County cross country running team shares its name with a handful of Two Harbors kids, who practice on their own during the week and meet the Grand Marais squad on Saturdays for long runs. Individuals have long travelled between Two Harbors and Silver Bay to participate in sports available in just one of the schools.

The boys’ hockey team is the first in recent history to split practices and games between the two towns, however. The Silver Bay Mariners and Two Harbors Agates combined to become the North Shore Storm in 2012 and split home games and practices evenly.

There was no action taken at Monday’s meeting and a board member will have to propose the change at the next school board meeting.

Budget reductions on the table

Administrators put staff reductions in play in advance of upcoming budget discussions.

On the table is cutting a teacher at Minnehaha Elementary due to class numbers, not replacing a retiring family and consumer sciences teacher at William Kelley High School, and cutting a William Kelley Elementary teacher when the two current first-grade classes become one second-grade class.

Music reductions were also proposed by consolidating band programs in the Two Harbors junior high and music programs overall at William Kelley.

School board member Tom Burns asked his fellow board members to take a closer look at the budget before approving the recommendations for the cuts.

“I just don’t feel like I’m educated enough to make cuts,” he said. “We have a large, multimillion dollar budget and what I feel like I’ve seen is a small part of it.”

The board will meet on Monday to crunch the numbers. The meeting will be at 8 a.m. in the community room at Two Harbors High School.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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