Rams may be switching activities conferences

The Greene County Rams may return to the Raccoon River Activities Conference, a conference Jefferson-Scranton left a dozen years ago.

Greene County activities director Mitch Moore reported to the board of education at its regular meeting June 20 a meeting he attended earlier this month with RRAC schools.

The Rams are now in the Heart of Iowa Activities Conference. According to Moore, Gilbert is leaving the HOIAC, taking the conference down to seven teams. North Polk is very likely leaving, also, starting a domino effect.

The RRAC will likely become a 12-member conference. The conference would be configured with two sides – Greene County, Carroll, Perry, Winterset, Boone and Nevada on one side, and Gilbert, Carlisle, North Polk, Ballard, ADM and Bondurant-Farrar on the other side, Moore said.

“I know we left the (Raccoon River) conference because of competitive reasons… and I understand that point,” Moore said.

He argued that given enrollment trends, Bondurant-Farrar, ADM, North Polk and Carlisle will likely outgrow the conference in another five years. That would leave room in the RRAC for schools like Woodward-Granger and Van Meter. “I do feel we can be competitive with Carroll, Perry, Winterset and Nevada for the next three to five years, but the other side of the conference with the big schools I don’t think will be there for the next 10 to 15 years. I don’t think that competitive disadvantage is going to be so big,” he said.

He said there is no other good option except the RRAC.

The RRAC will send invitations Sept. 15 to schools it intends to bring in. According to superintendent Tim Christensen, alignment would probably not change until the 2020-21 school year.

Moore added that the RRAC does some of the same things – a fine arts festival and a leadership conference, for example – that the Heart of Iowa does.

Changing activities conferences will be on the August board agenda.

The high school construction class will not build a house in the coming school year if the board follows Christensen’s recommendation. Christensen suggested that students continue working on the renovation of the upstairs space at the Prairie Lakes AEA building on the downtown square, and then do necessary projects on school facilities (concession stands, for example). Construction teacher Chad Morman has left the district. Not tackling an entire house would make an easier transition for a new staff member, Christensen said.

The board approved a rental fee schedule for the Ram Restaurant, which up until now has been free for community members. Private groups will be charged $20 an hour to rent the dining room and kitchen; rent for only the dining room will be $40 per day. There will be a $250 refundable deposit for use of the kitchen.

Brandon Gustoff, an associate in the Ram Restaurant, said the goal is to better protect the facility and equipment. He said last month an outside group using the kitchen resulted in a $400 repair job to the disposer and sink drain.

He said the rental fee will cover the cost of staff being there “to watch over the facility” while people are using it.

The board accepted a bid from 21st Century Rehab to provide athletic training services for the 2018-19 school year. That company bid $7,000; McFarland Clinic bid $15,000. The board also approved having two wrestling mats reconditioned at a total cost of $14,535, and purchasing underlayment for $8,460. The underlayment can be moved to a new wrestling facility in the future. The district owns the wrestling mats but they’re used at the Jefferson Fieldhouse, which is owned by the Greene County Youth Athletic Association (GCYAA).

The board approved a pair of agreements with Piper Jaffray related to the sale of general obligation bonds for the career academy/high school/middle school project.

The board discussed discontinuing the bi-monthly Q & A sessions it instituted a year ago due to low attendance. According to Christensen, at four Q & A sessions there have been a total of seven people in attendance. The board will continue the discussion at the July 18 meeting.

The board will continue discussion of a rental agreement with the Jefferson Fieldhouse. The district paid $15,000 this year to use the building for wrestling practices and other team training sessions. The GCYAA board is proposing an increase in rent.

The possibility of bag searches at activity events was discussed. Reducing the amount of outside food/drink being brought to events, and checking for alcohol and other contraband, were named as reasons. Board members were asked to think about it and gather input for further discussion in July.

The meeting began with a moment of silence for Wayne Hougham, director of buildings, grounds and transportation. Hougham passed away unexpectedly June 13.

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