Ten members of the Dutton/Brady High School boy’s basketball team voiced their desire not to form a basketball cooperative with Power High School during the Oct. 22 school board meeting.

The athletes briefly addressed the board each stating they were okay with the Titan football sports cooperative with Power but preferred not to form a cooperative with the Pirates for basketball. They all felt there are enough boys to continue to have separate programs.

The boys’ concern was fueled when administrators and trustees from the two school districts this fall began discussing options to address smaller participating numbers with their declining enrollments. Following high school association rules, each of the sports — football, volleyball and basketball — would be a separate cooperative. If agreed upon and approved by the Montana High School Association, the cooperatives would be for the 2019-2020 school year.

Testing the waters, administrators provided projected student enrollment and sports participating numbers to the MHSA. As of the October trustee meeting, no response has been given from MHSA. DB trustees looking at the figures are anticipating MHSA will not approve a cooperative but have no official indication.

For the 2019-2020 year it is anticipated Power will have more girls than boys and it is just the reverse for Dutton/Brady. Trustees expressed concern that if the numbers are too large, playing time for all may be difficult. This could result in the need to form a C squad that many opposing teams do not have. “It could mean we would have to go to surrounding schools — Fairfield, Choteau, Conrad — who might be willing to play C squad games,” athletic director Reid Michel said.

Eric Doheny, a parent, also addressed the board, stressing he too is not in favor of forming a cooperative with Power for basketball. He outlined some of the challenges he has witnessed as part of the football cooperative and doesn’t believe starting a new cooperative would be beneficial to the school district or students at Dutton/Brady.

Doheny said he really wanted to see the formation of a cooperative as positive with the two communities growing together but doesn’t think that has been achieved.

In discussing how to move forward with holding a possible community meeting, the school board members requested input from the students be sought. Since they haven’t heard from girls basketball players, they agreed a survey of boys and girls from at least eighth grade through juniors should be taken. The survey is to be done individually, allowing students to answer honestly without peer pressure.

The board also wants to hear from the basketball coaching staff before making a recommendation to move forward in the process.

The school districts have until Feb. 1 to apply to MHSA for a cooperative for the following school year.

Also during the meeting, Superintendent Erica Allen stated the district has received $10,000 in Federal Title IV Money. She presented three options to use the funds for the board to review.

Allen also addressed her concerns for the physical safety of the school building. “When walking through the school with law enforcement, we found we have holes in the physical safety,” Allen said. She encouraged the board to once again look at installing chip entry type system for the doors. “We really don’t know how many keys are out there presently. This type of system would eliminate that problem and make it easier to manage entry into the school in the future,” she added.

The board agreed to gather cost estimates for keyless entry systems and then discussed options for funding. 

Other items at the October meeting were:

•Dutton/Brady teacher Keely McDonald explained her classes and extra activities to the board.

•Fall district audit was completed with auditors expressing the staff did an excellent job. There was one minor finding which was corrected and a few procedural corrections suggested.

•Representatives from the senior class presented a proposal for their senior trip to the board. They were asked to review costs and have it placed on the agenda for November.

•Board approved a salary lane change for teacher Dave Guthrie and the third reading of the sexual harassment policy.