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Dance line gets full sport status at ACGC after vote by school officials

GROVE CITY -- Female students will now have as many winter sports available as male students in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District.

After an intense, 45-minute discussion Monday, the ACGC School Board agreed on a 6-1 vote to fully support dance line as a winter sport. The move will provide equal opportunities for boys and girls for winter activities.

The vote followed an administrative recommendation not to fund the request and warnings by Interim Superintendent Roger Rueckert that new expenditures should not be approved unless they are offset by budget reductions.

Given unknown state funding for education, Rueckert urged the board to be "very cautious" so that the district doesn't slide back into statutory operating debt.

Rueckert said the dance line request wasn't a "huge expense, but it is an increase."

There was some confusion about how much adding the sport would actually cost the district. In revised figures provided Tuesday morning by Rueckert, the added net expense is $4,500.

Even at the $7,625 that Rueckert initially had listed as the net cost, board member Janell Johnson said it was a small price for the district to pay to have at least 20 young girls involved in a positive after-school activity.

"How many were in golf last year? Four?" asked Johnson.

Later that night the board approved spending $10,000 for a new wrestling mat and $10,000 for new wrestling uniforms.

Johnson said the dance line team increases attendance at sporting events where they perform a halftime show, such as basketball, which increases ticket sales that go to the district's general fund.

"The gym is packed when they dance," she said.

When the dance line team isn't doing a halftime show, the crowd is "fairly slim," she said.

The dance line team has done fundraisers to pay for the program while it was functioning as an activity and not an official sport. The board briefly considered making fundraising a requirement with revenue going to the district.

The board was informed that other sports are not required to that. It was quickly agreed that if the district was going to make the activity an official sport, it should be treated like all other sports.

Dance line coach Kristi Lilleberg said they will do fundraisers that will offset expenses the school cannot afford, which is similar to other sports.

Dance line is an official sport under the Minnesota State High School League.

Board member Dan Tait cast the only no vote.

In other action:

- The board approved a final rental agreement with the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative to house a new special education and autism program at ACGC South Elementary School in Cosmos. The cooperative will pay ACGC $14,854 to use four classrooms, two offices and bathrooms in an unused wing of the school for the 2009-2010 school year.

- The board agreed to call for bids to make repairs on the roof at ACGC North Elementary.

- The board rejected a request by Donald G. Anderson to have his property moved from the ACGC School District and placed into the New London-Spicer School District for taxing purposes. According to his written petition, Anderson has land in both districts. He intends to develop his property for housing and potential residents have said they prefer to be part of NLS instead of ACGC, according to the petition.

- A capital budget of $284,804 for the 2009-2010 school year was approved. The expenditure is $46,837 less than what the district is projected to have in revenues by June of 2010.

- The ACGC board will meet in special session for a retreat at 6 p.m. Monday at the Grove City Community Center.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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