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Activities Committee looks at cutting a KHS spring sport

After looking at low participation numbers and high costs for transporting student athletes to practices, games or meets, the Kenmare School Board Activities Committee agreed to present those facts to the full board to make a decision about eliminating one spring sport.

5/11/11 (Wed)


By Caroline Downs
After looking at low participation numbers and high costs for transporting student athletes to practices, games or meets, the Kenmare School Board Activities Committee agreed to present those facts to the full board to make a decision about eliminating one spring sport.
Activities Committee members David King, Lars Christensen and Mike Zimmer met April 28th to consider several issues related to saving money in the 2011-2012 budget. They determined significant cost savings could be made by reducing the number of spring sports.
High school principal and activities director Scott Faul provided the current participation numbers. In golf, seven boys and three girls compete at the varsity level, while two boys and three girls compete at the junior high level.
Seven KHS boys and two Bowbells High School boys make up the Honkers baseball team, with three of those being seniors and one in eighth grade. No seventh grade players joined the team this year.
The new girls fast-pitch softball team has 16 players in a co-op arrangement with MLS and Bowbells. Ten of the players are KHS students, five are MLS students and one is from Bowbells, with a mix of junior and senior high students.
The Kenmare-Bowbells track team has eight students competing at the varsity level and six at the junior high level. Nine of the athletes are KHS students, while five are BHS students.
Faul also listed participation numbers for the fall and winter sports. The football co-op with Bowbells and Burke Central had 18 varsity players this year, with 12 from KHS and six from the Burke County schools. The junior high program boasted 24 athletes, with 18 of those being Kenmare students.
The volleyball program attracted 20 players in grades 9 through 12, with nine on the junior high team.
Boys basketball had 21 players at the high school level and 14 on the junior high teams, while girls basketball had 15 players in grades 9 through 12 and nine on the junior high team.
Four athletes in grades 9 through 12 joined the wrestling team from Kenmare, with two additional junior high students. Kenmare will not participate in a co-op agreement with Tioga and Ray for wrestling next year.
“We had six boys sports and five girls sports,” Faul said, “with a total of 57 athletes competing for the boys and 52 for the girls.”
He reminded committee members that KHS enrollment in grades 9 through 12 stands at 38 boys and 54 girls, with several students participating in more than one sport.
“My concern is the participation numbers, and the biggest concern is spring sports,” King said. “We don’t have enough kids to support any of them and the only one that looks promising is softball.”
The committee compared student numbers and projected costs for the track and baseball programs. Faul said a baseball co-op with MLS was a possibility for next year, with four of the current K-B players saying they would join the team. However, practices would be in Lansford, with costs for fuel and the KHS driver/coach.
King noted that track did not require a minimum number of players to field a team or travel to practices.
However, Zimmer pointed out the school did not have a track where the athletes could practice and that the number of boys and girls from Kenmare only totaled nine. “And right now, we’re paying two track coaches,” he added.
The committee decided to present the spring sports participation numbers to the full board and allow the group to decide what to eliminate from the schedule. Christensen also suggested if track continues to be offered, Kenmare will pay one coach and Bowbells will pay one coach.
In reviewing the co-op agreements, the committee will also recommend asking Bowbells and Burke Central to pay a $500-per-athlete fee to assist with outfitting players on the football team.
Committee members asked Christensen about the future of the wrestling team. “I’d like to try it on our own one year,” he said. “A lot of the Class B schools are having trouble filling the weight classes, which is why we’re scheduling more triangular and quads, and going away from having duals.”
He said the coach’s salary should go to Coach Dennis Kaatz and that the local wrestling club could help with uniform costs. “I’m not necessarily opposed to a co-op,” he said, “but maybe we could build some numbers back up here.”
Ending use of gym at
Donnybrook discussed
The Activities Committee was split over continuing the district’s use of the Donnybrook gymnasium for practices and games. Currently, the district pays an annual $2500 fee to rent the building and about $2300 per year in propane heating costs.
Business manager Renae Murphy noted each trip to Donnybrook costs about $30 in fuel and $20 to pay a driver, for an additional $3000 per year.
Zimmer said he liked the convenience of using the gym for practices immediately after school. “It’s worth the money just to have the kids home,” he said, “rather than more early morning and late night practices.”
The school district has an agreement with the city of Kenmare to use the Memorial Hall, for an annual cost of about $6000. According to Faul, the 7th and 8th grade girls and the boys and girls 5th and 6th grade basketball teams all use that facility. “But from the second week of January through the first week of March, it’s not used much by our teams,” he said.
The third and fourth grade basketball city recreation program uses the Memorial Hall for practice and games during their winter season.
Faul added that the 7th and 8th grade boys, and varsity boys and girls basketball coaches generally preferred to use the Donnybrook gym with its larger floor and more baskets available.
Curt Graff of Donnybrook noted the importance of the KHS sports programs to the facility. “If you guys weren’t there, we’d be closed,” he said. “We’d like to see you use it, but if you’re not going to use it, we’d like to know.”
The committee discussed the condition of the floor and other aspects of using the building with Graff and Donnybrook mayor Dennis Huff. Both sides agreed the arrangement had been mutually beneficial through the years.
Zimmer recommended the district continue to use the Donnybrook gym next year, and then review the agreement on a yearly basis.
King disagreed. “We’re looking at ways of saving money and this is one way of doing it,” he said.
“It’s nice to have that option, but we could get by without it,” added Christensen.
With the committee facing a split decision, King suggested laying out the facts for the full board. Zimmer said he would like to see the board complete the budget process before making a choice about the Donnybrook gym.
Pay changes for some coaches and advisors
The committee reviewed the extra duty salary schedule. They recommended having one coach for the 7th and 8th grade boys basketball team, moving the head track coach to the same pay level as the baseball and softball coaches, and moving the science coordinator’s pay to the same line as the student council advisor.
Committee members discussed the summer conditioning coach position extensively, with Faul mentioning the sports kinetics program offered by Trinity Sports Medicine in Kenmare. He acknowledged that student participation during the summer could vary, so the committee decided to recommend paying the conditioning coach position at $20 per hour, not to exceed $3000 for the summer.
The committee also talked about the yearbook advisor’s position, with yearbook now being offered as a semester-long class, and about the event supervisor’s position. Committee members wanted more information about the yearbook advisor’s responsibilities and time commitment before making a recommendation. Any decisions about the event supervisor’s position will wait until candidates for the high school principal’s position are asked about their interest in the activity’s director’s position.
In other discussion, the committee decided to recommend an increase in adult activity tickets from $50 to $60 and student tickets from $25 to $30. Gate fees will be recommended at $6 for adults and $3 for students.
The full Kenmare school board was scheduled to meet in regular session the evening of May 10.