ARMSTRONG - It took some figurative arm-twisting, but Armstrong-Ringsted School Board members approved a revised sports sharing agreement Wednesday.
The deal places all sporting events for North Union teams at the Armstrong high school, with the exception of softball (Swea City) and baseball (Bancroft). The new contract is valid for five years, or until a district dissolves or consolidates.
Despite the apparent good news for Armstrong, not everyone was happy.
"How was it decided that we were just going to give away baseball and softball?" one district resident asked. "And how much is this costing us?"
Using the Bancroft stadium involves no cost under the original two-year agreement, which was waived, said Armstrong-Ringsted School Board president Jim Boyer.
"... [W]e're trying to keep all the high school sports at the high school," Boyer said. "But North Kossuth has a good baseball and softball facility. We're sharing."
It was pointed out there are concerns about Armstrong-Ringsted's fields, such as a left field fence that poses a safety hazard, and one of the ball diamonds not being regulation size. It also was noted that North Kossuth's fields offer more shade for participants and spectators.
"We know Bancroft has a phenomenal facility," said A-R vice president Jen Von Bank. "I think we need to solve this the same way we solved the school name, colors, and mascot: Let the kids decide where they want to play. They haven't made a bad decision yet."
Pointing out the convenience and cost savings of the revised deal seemed to win over most of the crowd. Armstrong-Ringsted board members were a tougher sell.
When Von Bank made a motion to approve the revision, it died for lack of a second. This brought a loud and angry outburst from the audience.
"If you don't pass this, we're going to be in deep doo-doo," said one man.
Boyer turned on the remaining three board members - Karen Thackery, George Walker and Wayne Mathine - and pressed them to think about what they were doing.
Von Bank again moved the revised agreement, and Thackery seconded the motion. With a roll call vote, all five board members voted in favor of the new deal.