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R-P sees conflict with Junior Olympic volleyball


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, May 24th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Sports

The R-P school district has no connection with JO volleyball, which runs for several months in the spring, and has not hindered the formation of a league in the community. As a non-school sponsored activity, Superintendent Chuck Ehler acknowledges however, he has concerns with the program.

“Personally, I’m of the old school belief that sports should not be held on a Sunday,” noted Ehler. “I do not support it.” Ehler also highlighted his concerns of students beyond grades 3-6 in the program, noting that it causes competition for choice of spring sport. “We have to look at the big picture of what effect this program will have over another.”

Board member Julie Koop disagreed with Ehler, citing her belief that it provides an opportunity for girls to continue with the sport. She also pointed out that the district has benefited from the program with equipment.

At the May 20 board meeting, three R-P volleyball coaches handed in a letter of resignation including, Tori Lind. “It has become clear the countless hours being spent on building a program and molding players on and off the floor will not be appreciated by this school district,” said Lind in her resignation letter. “I truly hope this school district is able to find a coaching staff that is willing to dedicate their time and energy into this program above contract requirements. The female athletics in this school district deserve that commitment and support.”

“We’ve seen the writing on the wall. We’ve seen what it does in other schools. We need to not let it get out of balance,” stressed Ehler. “We’re hands off. We have no say in it, but I have concerns over the long-term impact.”

Chairwoman Angela Colbenson questioned whether the issue could create a problem with Title 9, offering a fair balance of sports for both boys and girls. Athletic Director Luke Lutterman affirmed that the district is offering and encouraging a fair and balanced program. “We’re collectively trying to maintain a balance,” concluded Ehler. “I feel I have a sound foundation.”

In other news, Athletic Director and Middle School Principal Luke Lutterman has also tendered his resignation per the conclusion of his employment agreement for the current school year. Lutterman has accepted the Athletic Direction position at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids, Minn.

“I am making this transition because I feel it is what is best for me professionally and also for my family,” noted Lutterman in his resignation. Before coming to the district, Lutterman spent a decade going to college and working in the St. Cloud, Minn. area and has many connections there. “I know that I will not be able to find another administrative team that worked as well together as we did,” he added.

Also noted by Lutterman was the ongoing district facility issue. “I have to be honest in saying that the current inability to secure funding to improve our current school facilities did have an impact in this decision for me and my family. I am hopeful and confident that the community will be able to unite to create an atmosphere that promotes learning in a safe, up to date facility.”

The district is attempting to move forward with the facility issue by following up on a recommendation by firm ATS&R to form a Steering Task Force. Essentially 30 to 40 members, the task force should represent a well-rounded sampling of the taxpayer base. It is proposed to include board members, district staff, teachers, Rushford and Peterson business and agricultural community, parents, and high school students. Several meetings would be held to discuss what’s been done, options and configurations available, small group workshops, and “Dots” sessions.

“I think we need all the options at the table and not be limited to what’s been presented,” said board member John Linder. “Let’s keep an open-mind and hopefully get a community consensus.”

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, June 17, at 6:30pm, in the high school biology room. The public is encouraged to attend.

The public is also reminded to attend a joint fiscal impact study meeting between R-P and the communities of Rushford, Rushford Village, and Peterson. The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 29, at 6:30pm, at the Village Hall in Rushford Village. Consultant Mike Bubany will be on hand to present information related to the study.

Comments:







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2671

12:13:39, May 28th 2013

Girl Power says:
I was happy to see the title about Junior Olympic volleyball. My smile disappeared soon after. I would like to start by saying, "THANK YOU TO ALL THE COACHES, AND VOLUNTEERS".
I have lived all my life in this area. I believe that old school way to handle this would be to again cancel a girls sporting activity. This is 2013, not 1977. But, the attitudes, and behaviors remains the same. I have seen time, and time again adults shutting down activities that involve girls sports. I wonder how this continues to happen. Low numbers? I doubt that. Lack of support? No. Oh, I get it they are girls, not boys. The story is right there is black, and white. Old school belief that sports should not be held on Sunday". The bars are open on Sunday does anyone care? No. FYI the food is good.


2685

9:05:32, May 28th 2013

mom who's been there says:
The program under discussion was costly and took up a lot of valuable family time. The girls involved had to choose church attendance or volleyball. This was a program that not all families could afford. Girls who choose not to be a part of it seemed to get their playing time cut during the regular volleyball season. I did not see it promoting team work. It was used as a vehicle to move very young girls up in the playing ranks. The school district offers many opportunities to both boys and girls. The extra curricular offerings are top notch with many dedicated coaches and great parent involvement.


2686

9:14:38, May 28th 2013

SportsFan123 says:
First and foremost I would like to commend the Fillmore County Journal for unbiased reporting. Secondly, it concerns me as a tax payer of Rushford that our superintendent is engaging himself with youth volleyball that is not even a school activity. Financial spending and building a new school would be a better way to spend our tax dollars. Lastly, from the large amounts of female athletes, parents, and community members involved that are extremely supportive of this program...why is it under attack? I fail to see the difference between Junior Olympic volleyball and AAU basketball, Morri MIller footaball, etc. In conclusion I would hope that these students and their parents would stand up for the benefit that this activity is providing for them.


2687

9:15:50, May 28th 2013

SportsFan123 says:
First and foremost I would like to commend the Fillmore County Journal for unbiased reporting. Secondly, it concerns me as a tax payer of Rushford that our superintendent is engaging himself with youth volleyball that is not even a school activity. Financial spending and building a new school would be a better way to spend our tax dollars. Lastly, from the large amounts of female athletes, parents, and community members involved that are extremely supportive of this program...why is it under attack? I fail to see the difference between Junior Olympic volleyball and AAU basketball, Morri MIller footaball, etc. In conclusion I would hope that these students and their parents would stand up for the benefit that this activity is providing for them.


2689

9:29:25, May 28th 2013

Also Been There says:
I have also been there as a parent when financial means were tight. My daughter was not turned away. I also remember some of her teammates coming late to tournaments so that they were able to attend church first. The coaches were extremely accommodating to any conflicts or needs. I can't find a negative aspect to my daughter or anyones for that matter participating in this program. Working hard and playing as a team was always promoted and I have seen great improvement in my daughters skills whether its socially, physically, or learning to be a teammate. Isn't that what it is about??


2698

10:24:41, May 29th 2013

Change says:
I feel our spring boys sports teams would benefit if some of the basektball players didnt play AAU...Wonder why Mr.Ehler does not complain about that. Sounds likes a witch hunt.


2707

8:25:34, May 29th 2013

RP says:
Why is Mr. Ehler involving himself with non-school activities? Is he going after Girl Scouts next? Wednesday is also a church night yet we still have drivers training. Where is the complaints about that?


2738

11:32:18, May 31st 2013

JO PLAYER says:
This is unfair to us girls. Morrie Miller is not getting canceled but Jo is. But honestly we can just change the date of our practices and tournaments if it's that big of a deal. The girls on the Jo team have not had a problem with religious reasons on Sunday practices. Our coaches are understanding if we have to miss practices for religious purposes .I also want to know were the money from consessions is going. And I think it is ridiculous that us students miss school for the boys state tournament but Ehler doesn't agree with practices on Sundays when it is outside of school. We deserve better.


2817

9:06:21, Jun 6th 2013

hello says:
Hello, it's time you wake up. There isn't a community nearby that doesn't offer a JO program! Some schools are so close to either Rochester or Winona that they join the community teams there. If you don't offer it, the girls can just go a short distance to Winona and join WAV (Winona Area Volleyball). The girls can also join teams at the volleyball center in Rochester where the cost is high but they will work with you to get it down and the experience is top notch. I would encourage the girls to look into other options because JO is an experience like no other - team trips, all day or weekend bonding, meeting new people, and competing at a level that you are comfortable with. Our team played an elite team from Winnepeg Canada! Also, in JO, everyone plays pretty equally because you have all paid to be on a team that is appropriate to your skill. It is so much better than High School Volleyball. Everyone comes out a winner! Mr. Ehler is micro-managing and is obviously talking about something he knows nothing about.


2831

2:47:58, Jun 7th 2013

hello says:
Hello, it's time you wake up. There isn't a community nearby that doesn't offer a JO program! Some schools are so close to either Rochester or Winona that they join the community teams there. If you don't offer it, the girls can just go a short distance to Winona and join WAV (Winona Area Volleyball). The girls can also join teams at the volleyball center in Rochester where the cost is high but they will work with you to get it down and the experience is top notch. I would encourage the girls to look into other options because JO is an experience like no other - team trips, all day or weekend bonding, meeting new people, and competing at a level that you are comfortable with. Our team played an elite team from Winnepeg Canada! Also, in JO, everyone plays pretty equally because you have all paid to be on a team that is appropriate to your skill. It is so much better than High School Volleyball. Everyone comes out a winner! Mr. Ehler is micro-managing and is obviously talking about something he knows nothing about.


2833

10:45:32, Jun 7th 2013

Jo mom for 6yrs says:
Mr. Ehler hit the nail on the head. I agree with the religious concerns he has, but outside of that JO has done nothing but backed families in a corner. It's true it makes the girls feel like they HAVE to participate in JO in order to be even considered for HS VB. It's expensive and ends up being clicky. At times a select group gets private lessons only because their parents are the coaches and have keys to the school. Is that good use of the tax dollar? Giving an advantage to a few but not the TEAM. Last I checked it is a TEAM sport and was when I played HS VB. JO enables parents to become coaches who lack the ability to coach for the right reasons. Instead they sacrific the development of the program and the TEAM only to make sure their own daughters are noticed by scouts while ok with a so so win/loss record. Jo willeventually ruin the athletic programs and already has impacted girls golf. Ask golf coaches. I strongly suggest they watch the movie "Miracle". Maybe they would learn how to coach.


2857

12:02:15, Jun 9th 2013

getthefacts says:
The problem here lies in the fact that girls were repeatedly told "if you don't do JO, you won't play on the HS team". The coaches can deny this all they want, but that was the message. Now, knowing that bit of information, this links JO directly with the HS program, and will have drastic effects on the HS sports offered during the JO season. RP has been successful athletically in the past, the unwritten rule, don't infringe on other programs during the season, you can't argue with that rule or RP's success in the past. These coaches came in and disrespectively violated that rule. The girls basketball program could participate in leagues during volleyball season, but they DON'T, out of respect for the other program. The vb coaches didn't help themselves by trying to move up lesser players from the 7th grade onto the varsity (they tried this in basketball also), all the while ignoring quality freshman and sophomores who then left the program. I believe the one parent who is a huge supporter realizes that her daughter is probably not going to be the "chosen one" with a new coach. Another farce was the coaches touting the best HS vb record ever, well if you schedule 40 events, a .500 team will get 20 wins, theres your record, and a poor seed in the sub-section tournament. If you want any more background on the coaches, travel to Mabel (where the coaches were last) and ask about these coaches.