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Alexandria School Board votes to dissolve Lakes Area Recreation

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
ALEXANDRIA, Minn.-- At the November 18 meeting, the Alexandria School Board voted unanimously to dissolve Lakes Area Recreation (LAR) and the joint powers agreement that created it back in 1989. Earlier this month, the other three parts of the Joint Powers Board – Alexandria Township, City of Alexandria, and LaGrand Township – also voted to dissolve LAR. The dissolution will take effect on December 31.

Since 1989 the school district has deferred the responsibility for the recreation program to the joint powers. As a result of the dissolution, the school district will assume responsibility for the majority of recreation programs under its Community Education department. Community Education (CE) statute states that the purpose of CE is to provide youth and adult enrichment and recreation. It is common in Minnesota for community education programs to be in charge of community recreation.

“Alexandria Public Schools Community Education is excited to once again offer recreational programming,” stated Lynn Jenc, director of community education. “Lakes Area Recreation has had a great tradition of recreation in the Alexandria Area. We are happy to continue the tradition and for the two teams to become one entity on January 1st, providing greater efficiencies and program growth for our adults and youth”. The community can expect the same great programs and opportunities under one umbrella, location and team – stronger together, providing extraordinary service through enrichment and recreation.

LAR’s assets will be transferred to the school district, which will also assume LAR’s debts and liabilities. LAR was in a strong financial position, with greater assets than liabilities, making the District’s decision to resume recreation programming through Community Education an easy one. Six positions will be created within the Community Education department to support community education and recreation programming. Two secretary positions and three facilitator positions will be under associated district work agreements. A community education manager position will be a two-year contracted position and not part of a work agreement.

No money from the district’s general fund will be used to support the recreation program. The funding will come out of Fund 4, which is a designated Community Education fund, not to be co-mingled with the General Fund which is used for instruction. At the November 18 meeting the board also took action to approve a recreation agreement with the City of Alexandria. The provisions of the agreement outline an annual financial contribution from the City of $50,000 to support recreation programming, provide for the City Administrator to serve as a member of the Community Education Advisory Council (CEAC), and that CE will provide an annual report to the City Council regarding recreation programming.

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