The North Collins School Board announced that it is open to partnerships with nearby districts, to provide its students with additional sports opportunities not currently offered by the district.
District Athletic Director Kathryn Shelly came to the board’s Sept. 24 meeting, seeking direction about how to proceed.
Last year, the state approved districts’ reaching agreements that allowed students from one district to participate in sports programs in another district, when necessary. New York state changed the formula so a host district would not necessarily be penalized for participation and pushed into a bigger school division, based on two schools’ full enrollment.
Shelly said that she has been in communication with her counterpart in the Eden School District, where interest in bolstering its football team with North Collins players has been expressed. Boys volleyball, another sport North Collins does not offer, has also been a topic of discussion.
Shelly said that she had received a request for possible participation in the North Collins soccer program by a resident of Gowanda, where that sport is not offered. “Are we here to offer more opportunities to our students or looking to support our current programs and build them?” she asked.
Board Member Martin Niefergold said that he has been following a decision by the Holland and East Aurora districts to run a joint football program under the new regulations. He noted the endeavor’s success, so far, and said that it has not drawn participation away from Holland’s other fall sports teams. “I think if there is a chance for a kid to play, the opportunity should be there,” Niefergold said.
Superintendent Benjamin Halsey told the board that any agreements would need to be authorized by the involved school boards, each year, and that separate approvals would be needed for each shared sport.
North Collins participants could be responsible for any fees the host district may request and would be required to secure transportation.
Halsey said that the rule change is not designed to create “super teams,” but will let schools with small or declining enrollment field full ones. “If a host district has a full roster for a sport, it cannot cut its own students to make room for North Collins participants.”
Parents will gauge the level of interest in the various sports and Shelly will speak with other athletic directors, to see if their departments would be interested in combining sports teams.
In other board news:
– Halsey informed the board about the completion of a project that takes advantage of a National Grid energy rebate program. Older florescent fixtures on the high school’s second floor were replaced by school staff. The project costs $6,374; the school will receive $3,930 from the utility. Additionally, energy savings from the new lighting is projected at more than $1,000 per year.
– Junior-Senior High School Principal Annie Metcalf informed the board of her school’s recent selection as a “reward school” by the state department of education. This designation will allow the school to apply for grants and may offer relief from some mandated requirements.
– Metcalf said that murals will soon adorn several areas of the building, through the efforts of art students under Heather Shean’s direction.
– Elementary Principal John Cataldo reported that, after the first week of school, student enrollment in his building had grown by four students and he was expecting two more, the following week.
– The board approved a planned trip to Disney World for 11th and 12th graders during the week of Feb. 13 – 19. The tour will be directed by teachers Tracy Robilard and Robert English. The cost will be covered by the students, with some fundraising anticipated.
The next school board meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the high school.