More questions than answers remain after recent meetings regarding the future of the Central Prairie Fire Birds basketball coop.
In February, a public meeting was held to inform patrons of the Medina School Board’s discussions regarding a basketball coop that would include Pingree-Buchanan.
With projected numbers put together by Superintendent Brian Christopherson, patrons were told of coop options.
The options included staying the way it is, a coop with Pingree-Buchanan (or Pingree-Buchanan-Kensal), as well as traveling to Kidder County or Jamestown.
At the present time only 7-12 teams are being looked at, and a coop with Pingree-Buchanan is the favored option.
During Medina’s public meeting, it was also discussed if a new coop is formed, then team names, colors, mascots, and coaching staff would all need to be addressed in the future, but no changes were in the discussions as of the February meeting.
In early March, the Gackle-Streeter School Board also held a public meeting to discuss with their patrons the issue of the Central Prairie sports coop due to the Medina/Pingree-Buchanan talks of a sports coop.
Jeff Williams stated that the Gackle-Streeter Board feels the coop with Medina should “remain as it is currently.” However, the board wanted public input as to their feelings on what direction the coop should take, and to ” … discuss coop options in the event the Medina School District would drop out of our current coop agreement with the girls and boys basketball and form a new coop with the Pingree-Buchanan School District,” Williams stated.
Parents and patrons present at the Gackle-Streeter meeting expressed their frustration at the apparent lack of communication between the two boards (Medina/Gackle-Streeter) and questioned board members in regards to talks with Napoleon in the previous school year.
It was explained that the talks with Napoleon were to discuss a possible coop for all sports and that coop options with Napoleon were not pursued after initial discussions, by either Gackle-Streeter or Napoleon.
Williams stated that he feels the current Central Prairie coop can continue with present participation numbers for another three years, and that this was discussed with the Medina board at a recent meeting.
Board members and administration feel that the projected numbers presented by Medina’s board are not an accurate picture of the future enrollment or participation.
The current participation formula suggested by the Medina/Pingree-Buchanan talks show Gackle-Streeter hosting significantly fewer gumes with only one girls and one basketball game in Gackle. The remaining games would be held at Medina/Pingree-Buchanan schools.
Other options the Gackle-Streeter board discussed with patrons included pulling out of the Central Prairie coop and talking with another school district about a new sports coop.
Parents that were present at the meeting in Gackle also talked with the board about open enrolling their students to another district due to the longer traveling distances a new sports coop would create for their children.
At the time of the Gackle-Streeter public meeting, none of the involved school boards had officially decided on the coop question.
Since that time, and at the time of this article, the Pingree-Buchanan board passed a vote to coop with Medina, but the Medina board tabled their vote at last week’s board meeting. The Medina board will discuss it again during this week’s meeting.
The Gackle-Streeter board plans to hold another public meeting before making any decisions if Medina votes to coop with Pingree-Buchanan.