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Beaver Dam School Board approves keeping hockey coops

February 12, 2019

The Beaver Dam School Board unanimously approved remaining in both the boys and girls hockey co-ops after concerned parents and coaches addressed the school board on Monday night.

“Hockey is the only sport my son has ever cared about,” said Horicon resident Renee Barzano, whose son plays on the Beaver Dam co-op boys team.

A decision to pull out of the co-ops would impact a lot of people, Barzano said.

Beaver Dam fronts a boys hockey co-op that includes Wayland Academy, Dodgeland, Horicon and Hustisford. The Golden Beavers are part of a 12-school girls hockey co-op led by Fond du Lac that also includes Wayland, Dodgeland, Waupun, Campbellsport, Kewaskum, Oakfield, Oshkosh North, Oshkosh West and Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs.

Beaver Dam High School athletic director Melissa Gehring said there is a one-year obligation for the district to certify the co-ops for both sports.

“Right now, it is the view of our office to keep the co-ops as it is,” Gehring said.

A vocal group of supporters has contacted the school board via email and attended the meeting on Monday.

Girls hockey coach Paul Uttech asked the board to delay the decision. He said he believed other schools may want to join a co-op. Fond du Lac has not yet made a determination if it will continue its participation in the girls co-op, Gehring said.

Uttech noted the Golden Beavers girls program began in 2008 as a two-school co-op with Randolph, and the team went to the state tournament that year. Since then, the co-op added Wayland and Dodgeland to the mix until joining forces in 2017 with the co-op headed up by Fond du Lac.

“I’m not worried that we’d get enough to fill a team,” Uttech said. “We’ve done so in the past.”

Gehring said that Beaver Dam has enough boys to fill out a team on its own, but eliminating the boys co-op would end the hockey career of a Horicon athlete who has been on the team for three years.

“Are we looking out for Beaver Dam kids or kids in general?” Gehring asked.

In the future, Gehring said if the district would like to end one of the co-ops, they should give a two-year notice to the other schools.

The board also unanimously approved revamping the Beaver Dam Middle School schedule. The option chosen will allow for nine-period days at the school. Students would have 85-minute classes in English language arts and math. In science, social studies and electives, the students will have 41-minute classes. They will have a 14-minute advisory period that will be held after lunch and still be able to take three electives.

A committee of administration members, parents, teachers, board members and a support staff member have met since October investigating scheduling options. The new schedule will go into effect in the 2019-20 school year.

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