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Woods returning as WDC boys' hockey coach

Scott Woods

Scott Woods will be returning to the ice as head coach of the Wadena-Deer Creek boys' hockey team.

The WDC School Board made the hiring official Monday during the monthly meeting in Robertson Theatre.

Woods led the Wolverines to their only state hockey tournament appearance in 2004. He is replacing Kyle Davis, who has skippered the Wolverines for the last two seasons.

Woods coached hockey in Wadena for nine years as an assistant and later a head coach. He moved his family to Alexandria for six years where he coached the Cardinals to a couple state tournament appearances. Woods returned to Wadena due to an opportunity for the family's photography business. Woods coached the WDC girls' hockey team for one year before taking the head coaching position with the WDC girls' tennis team.

Woods said hockey has always been important to him and with Davis stepping down and his daughter, McKayla, graduating this spring, the time seems right to return to the coaching box.

"I want to see the program developing and getting better," Woods said.

In other business, the board looked at the school's 2017-2018 preliminary budget.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is proposing a pair of 2 percent increases in the state's general education package over the next two years. This aid formula would boost the adjusted Average Daily Membership (ADM) amount from $6,087 for each student to $6,128. While Dayton's plan is encouraging, the WDC Administration's preliminary budget is based on a 1 percent increase.

"The thing is we don't know what we're going to get. We're estimating that we'll get 1 percent from the state on the general education formula," WDC Superintendent Lee Westrum said.

The proposed WDC budget is based on reality, not politics.

"It doesn't look like we're going to get a lot from the state at this point," Westrum said. "The increases we have gotten have not kept up with inflation."

Salaries account for 75 percent of District 2155's annual budget. The board is in the process of negotiating new two-year contracts with its employees. With a bump of $250,000 to $300,000, Westrum feels the district could come close to balancing their budget. The district is currently operating off a general fund balance deficit of $165,000.

"We've made reductions to our teaching staff and yet here we are," Westrum said.

Westrum is hopeful that WDC could qualify for a portion of the Minnesota Department of Education's Small Schools Program revenue in the amount of $172,000. He had testified in St. Paul about the need for including larger schools like WDC in the program.

The board might also consider holding a vote later this year on a proposal to increase the district's operating levy.

The board is not required to approve a 2017-2018 budget until June.

February donations to the district in the amount of $17,068.20 were approved along with student activity donations of $1,700.

The board approved a motion by board member Dan Lawson to raise the substitute paraprofessional rate from $10 an hour to $11.50.

Westrum was authorized to purchase an extra van for the district in order to cut down on future transportation costs.

He also outlined a procedure for selling the 28x40 house/cabin being built by the senior high construction class at the school board meeting May 15.