The EP Co-op Board of Control met for their bimonthly meeting in Prophetstown via Zoom on Wednesday, September 16th.
The majority of the meeting was spent listening to Panther varsity basketball coaches Ryan Winckler and Chris Brown as they presented initial thoughts on forming a co-op basketball program for 5th and 6th graders. Currently each district has 7th and 8th grade programs that compete in the Tri-County Conference.
Winckler said he would like to keep those programs in house instead of having kids in various programs. He noted that the co-op operates cross country and football programs for the fifth and sixth grade athletes.
Among the benefits of the program would be for coaches to build relationships with athletes at a younger age and build a cohesive program which would benefit everyone involved. Winckler said, “It is becoming more and more difficult to attract athletes to the sport.” He also noted there are several area districts that have established fifth and sixth grade programs. Many questions were asked about how such a program would work. Athletic Director Derick Cox said that the idea is only in the brainstorming phase at this point with no plans to begin a program this school year. He added that for now the seventh and eighth grade programs would remain as they are.
Discussion was held on a fall coaches’ summit. Topics would include working on a mission and vision statement. Co-op coaches will be asked for their input on the meeting and a date is TBD.
Several amendments to the Co-op agreement were reviewed and will be sent to each district’s school board for approval.
- Adding the superintendent of each district to the board. (Currently the Superintendents are not members.)
- The BOC will meet bimonthly. Meetings will be scheduled for July, Sept., Nov., Jan., March, and May. (Currently the BOC meets quarterly)
- Changing language involving the rescheduling of meetings if administrators are unavailable.
- Expenditures will be reported at each bi-monthly meeting. (currently there is no timetable for financial reporting)
- Making a review of the agreement a part of the annual Joint Board Meeting. (Currently there is no language on reviewing the agreement annually.
Athletic Director. Brian Howell gave an update on current and future sports schedules. Currently, golf and cross country are in season with regional competitions currently scheduled. Winter season starts November 16 and runs through February 13. Sports will include wrestling, basketball, and bowling. Spring sports start on February 15 and run through May 1. Sports include volleyball and football. The summer activities season has recently been changed and will run from April 19 through June 26. Summer season sports will include baseball, softball, and track. Howell also announced that the IHSA has added additional contact days that will run between now and October 31. Sports not in season are allowed 28 contact days. Coaches are working with each other to ensure that athletes are not being overworked.
The IHSA has also announced that the number of contests per week has been expanded and current Co-op schedules are being updated to reflect the change.
The volunteer coaches list was updated it was decided that the lead school in a sport that has volunteer coaches will ensure that all paperwork is completed by the volunteer. The names of all volunteer coaches will be vetted by both school districts boards.
Howell gave a budget expenses update saying currently the co-op is under budget due to the cancellation of many fall sports invitationals, which have entry fees. He added the trend could continue through winter sports if tournaments are canceled. Cox added that the co-op hosted additional cross country meets to make up for multiple invitationals being canceled so that the Panther runners were getting as many meets as possible. The two local golf courses Prophet Hills and Lake Erie have been very accommodating, but there will be discussions with both regarding charges to hold future meets. The co-op currently pays each course $3,000 per season in greens fees for hosting golf practices and meets.
During Executive Session, the board approved recommended hiring Emily Thorngren as an assistant softball coach.