Braham parents urge board for new outdoor facilities

Several Braham Area School District parents urged the School Board for better baseball and outdoor sports facilities at a Monday board meeting.

They stated the high school could lose many valuable students due to deteriorating facilities.

“I would like to see what we can do to keep our kids active, to keep them learning, to keep them proud of this district the way that I am,” one mother said. “We can’t grow if we don’t build and plan for growth. We have to start out with a strategic plan. Because right now, it feels like we are spinning our wheels in the mud, or the water, or whatever it is that’s growing down there.”

School Board Chair Steve Eklund agreed with the parents.

“It isn’t like everybody up here doesn’t realize that we have terrible facilities, because we’ve known that for a long time,” Eklund said. “We don’t have a track, we never have. I never thought in my lifetime I’d sit up here and say that every other school in the conference has an all-weather track and we don’t. The baseball field is terrible. There is no way the kids from Braham shouldn’t have the same opportunities to play games.”

Eklund stated this is one of the items that will be up for discussion at the Aug. 13 working meeting. The board will look at strategic planning.

“It’s not a cheap thing to do, but it’s needed,” Eklund said. “We have lots of support for it. You’re going to have to be the driving force behind it, and your neighbors, and parents, and grandparents and uncles. That’s the way to pick it up. I wouldn’t say it can’t be done. It can be done. The kids deserve that, but I think that’s the starting point. Come in with your ideas. With all the work you’ve done, we’re still a ways away. We need help.”

In other action, the board: 

• Welcomed Shawn Kuhnke, the new activities director and assistant principal for the elementary and high school.

• Welcomed new High School Principal Matt Lattimore. He was most recently a social studies teacher from North Branch. He has been on the job since July 7.

• Approved a Bring Your Own Device policy, which would allow students in grades eight through 12 to bring their own laptop computers, cellphones and tablets for use during the school day.

• Approved five policies to be added to the district policy manual: No. 406, public and private personnel data; No. 502, search of student lockers, desks, personal possessions and student’s person; No. 522, student sex nondiscrimination; No. 531, the Pledge of Allegiance; and No. 705, investments.