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Superior, Maple mull sports co-op

The Superior School Board is poised to hire a new district administrator, bond for the final $5 million of the new school referendum and enter into a sports cooperative with the Maple school district at its Monday meeting.

The two-year, inter-district sports cooperative agreement would cover girls' hockey, boys' swimming and diving, and girls' gymnastics. It's an effort to expand opportunities for students at Northwestern High School while filling holes in Superior's roster.

"We're one of the few schools that are not co-oped in girls hockey," Ray Kosey told the school board during its committee of the whole meeting March 5. "I think probably four or five in the state that are stand-alone hockey programs."

Other Lake Superior Conference teams have already gone to co-op agreements, he said, including Denfeld and East high schools, Proctor and Hermantown, and the three-school co-op of Cloquet, Esko and Carlton.

Maple Athletic Director Brian Smith said the district ended its girls' hockey co-op agreement with Hayward because the only girls hockey player at Northwestern is a senior.

"What I'm hearing from our coaches, our community, it makes more sense for those kids to be in our co-op because they're playing in SAHA, they're playing hockey with our kids growing up," Kosey said.

The Spartan girls' team is struggling to get three full lines, Kosey said, and it would be nice to someday have both a JV and varsity team.

Boys' swim and dive numbers are also low, Kosey said, and the coach is not able to put a Spartan in every race.

Smith, also the associate principal at Northwestern High School, said that the move will affect a small number of students — probably about two or three swimmers in the next few years.

The teams would retain the Superior name and Spartan mascot, Kosey said, and Maple would pay a percentage of the program costs based on the number of students involved.

The co-op agreement is also on the Maple School Board agenda for March 19. If approved by both school boards, the application would be submitted April 1.

In other business:

* The Superior School Board's Personnel and Negotiations Committee recommended hiring Amy Starzecki as district administrator for a two-year contract. Starzecki, assistant superintendent of the Duluth School District, attended the March 5 meeting, jotting down notes. Current District Administrator Janna Stevens retires June 30.

* The school board will also take action on the sale of nearly $5 million in school improvement bonds for the $92.5 million new schools project underway in the district. Approved by voters in 2016, the referendum includes replacement of Cooper Elementary School and renovation of Superior High School, as well as safety upgrades and improvements at other district schools. This is the final bonding for referendum funds, according to the district office.

The public meeting of the Superior School Board will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the administration office, 3025 Tower Ave.