BY CAROL HICKS
Hoopeston Area school board members voted unanimously Thursday to discontinue the soccer co-op with Bismarck-Henning High School.
The vote followed a calm, but emotional, plea from several Bismarck-Henning and Hoopeston Area parents to keep the co-op.
"My kids would not have had that opportunity to play if not for coach (John) Klaber’s program," said Blake Swinford, Bis-Henn soccer father. "And would not have had the experience to play against those bigger schools. Right now, we want to play with Hoopeston."
Brent Rademacher, Bismarck-Henning principal, added, "It has been a great opportunity for our kids to work with your kids. We would really appreciate the co-op to remain strong. The families and students feel the team is a family. It would be a shame to put that aside."
Bill Crose of Hoopeston, with two boys in the system and one coming up, said he thought the school board should do what was best for Hoopeston and Bismarck-Henning should think about what was best for Bismarck. "The results are what they are."
Each school board member was polled and each said the soccer coop should be discontinued as did Kevin Root, Hoopeston Area athletic director. Soccer coach John Klaber did not vote either way, and visibly saddened by the decision, said that he would support any decision.
In other school board business:
Board members voted unanimously to approve the Internet Safety Policy (Children’s Internet Protection Act) and to re-employ Bill Nelson as the school attorney for the calendar year 2013 with a retainer of $2,000. Also approved was the employment of two second semester teachers, Matthew Reasor as first-grade teacher and Ashley Dobkins as second-grade teacher.
Coach Richard Stipp, cross country coach, and girls from the past seven teams, including several now attending college, gathered to give a presentation of accomplishments by the Hoopeston Area cross country girls team. The team, said Stipp, have for the past seven years in a row won conference and county championships in cross country.
Learned homecoming would be Jan. 25.
Learned the new building project was nearing completion and a target date to move in was tentatively set for Jan. 3.
Learned the state aid received by the school district, at 89 percent for 2012, would be cut to 80 or 85 percent next year. The state plans to shift the cost to the school districts, said Superintenent Hank Hornbeck.
Learned that John Greer Grade School 5th and 6th grade did a service project for the community this year for Christmas. The 5th grade participated in the Miracle Tree and bought gifts for some children on the Miracle Tree. The 6th grade gathered food donations for the Hoopeston food cubboard.
Learned that the response to the HAHS food drive netted 1,000 items for the food cubboard.
Hoopeston Area school board members will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17.