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Officials: Bring Back Freshman Sports

Board of Finance Member, Former RTM Member And BOE Members Say They Want Freshman Sports Reinstated

, two members of the Board of Education and several members of the public said they wanted to bring back freshman sports.

“I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t bring back freshman sports, and there is money in this budget,” said Board of Finance member Mark Wiggins, who attended the workshop. “In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, Git-R-Done.”

of 2011 by the Board of Education facing a tight budget, the group cut freshman basketball for boys and girls, freshman softball and freshman baseball for this school year. The group did not cut freshman football because there is no town team to accommodate that age for football, where there is for baseball, softball and basketball.

The cut saved the district about $26,000, which saved the average taxpayer $1.88 in their tax bill, Finance Director Rudie Beers said. Board of Education member Jody Nazarchyk suggested cutting the Board of Education’s membership to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, a group that lobbies the state government on behalf of education boards, which would save just under $17,000.

“I’m not saying we never rejoin CABE, but we at least hold off until we can get back on our feet,” Nazarchyk said. “I firmly believe freshman sports should be part of our program.”

Board of Education member Kevin Brunelle and former RTM member Paul Goldstein both said they also wanted freshman sports back.

Why It’s Not In The Budget

For the budget workshop, Superintendent Jerome Belair presented a spending plan that was more than $800,000 below the amount allotted by the . However, the budget has a flat allocation for health care because health care costs have not yet come in, and they are expected to rise, Belair said.

Just as an example, last year health care costs increased $1.6 million. If the board presents a budget with everything people want in it and then health insurance comes in high, it could all be cut again, Belair said.

“We didn’t want to create false hope,” he said. “When we get a firm number we can go back and have some of those discussions.”

The board should get the health care costs by March 1, Belair said.

Corporate Gifts

Meanwhile, Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty is trying to get companies to donate money to help fund athletics, along with other programs. Recently, the Board of Education Policy Committee that would make it easier for the District to collect gifts from private donors.

“We are actively pursuing it,” she said. “We hope to get this done soon.”

Paul January 14, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Mr Beaney is correct that there were several alternatives that were discussed over the recent months that would help to restore freshmen sports. Some alternatives were better than others. Where I disagree with Mr Beaney is that the new blood on the BOE would help to get these programs restored. Mr Campo & Mr Keeny did not say if they were for the restoration of freshmen sports. In fact, Mrs. Nazarchyk who has been on the BOE for years who usually votes in favor of most programs & with whom I usually agree with voted to eliminate freshmen sports & would now like to restore it. Mr Brunelle was not even at the meeting to vote on the original issue. The BOE hides behind unfunded mandates & rising health care costs as to the reasons why activities were cut! All of the surrounding towns are faced with the same issues and have freshmen sports. The money is there for these programs. All members of the BOE as well as the school administrators need to sharpen their pencils and find the money to restore these programs. If the BOE really wants to restore freshmen sports than they should. If the final BOE budget does not have freshmen sports reinstated than I hope the BOE members vote against the final budget.
Paul January 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
If the BOE really wants to restore freshmen sports they can. They need to place it in their final budget for an up or down vote. Even if it puts the BOE budget over the BOF recommended guidelines. The BOF has said in the past that they are guidelines not absolutes. If the BOE passes their budget it would then go before the BOS so they can look like at it. Unfortunately the BOS does not get to vote on it. Once again the BOS does not let the citizens know where they stand on educational issues facing the town! From there it will go before the BOF for a vote. If the BOF votes for the budget it goes before the RTM for a vote. However, if the BOF votes no on the BOE budget the BOE can appeal it to the RTM to restore the money. The main issue is that the BOE needs to restore the programs so that the other bodies get the chance to debate the issue. If the the BOE does not restore the programs than there is nothing the other boards can do to restore the programs. If the citizens truly want the programs restored than they need to engage themselves in finding out when the up coming budget meetings are being held and they need to voice their concerns at these meetings consistently. Some people have but we need more help from citizens if they are able to attend the meetings.
Waterford Lancers January 15, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I encourage Mr. Belair, members of the Board of Education and Waterford Residents to review information as it is applicable to Title IX published by The National Women's Law Center in Washington, DC at www.nwlc.org prior to the finalization of next years education budget. Is Mr. Belair and the Board of Education aware that Title IX applies to gender equity in athletics even during difficult economic times? Sparing freshman football imposes more of the burden of the economic crisis on the girls. While Title IX requires that athletic opportunities be granted proportionally to the male and female student population as a whole, the requirement exists also on the same competitive level. There are currently no freshman sports teams for girls as there are for boys. The Florida High School Athletic Association reversed this type of Title IX cut after parents sued based on disproportionately disadvantaging female students. While freshman football should remain, all other freshman sports (girls and boys) should be brought back. Public education occurs not only in the classroom but also on the athletic field, on the stage, in the band, in the chorus and with all of the many opportunities that the Waterford Public Schools offer. The well rounded kids of Waterford today are the Town of Waterford's future leaders.
Susan January 17, 2012 at 01:08 PM
It seems to me that the public needs more info on when these BOE meetings are held so that those of us who feel strongly about freshman sports being reinstated can show up in the numbers we truly represent...including parents, grandparents and teens....perhaps that would make a BIG difference
Paul Petrone January 17, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I will do a better job of getting the meetings up earlier. Great point Susan. Just for the record, the next Board of Education meeting is Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.

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