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Shared sports takes a step forward in North Collins

The North Collins School District took the first step toward offering football opportunities for its students, in conjunction with the Eden School District, in approving an Interscholastic sports sharing agreement.

During the district’s Nov. 12 meeting, North Collins Superintendent Benjamin Halsey reported that, following a meeting with the superintendents and athletic directors of the two districts, terms of a plan to allow North Collins students to participate in Eden's modified, junior varsity and varsity football programs had been negotiated.

Halsey added that Eden had broken down the actual per-participant cost of its football program to $400. He said that North Collins would need to pay the fee, based on the number of participants, since the law prohibits “pay to play” arrangements by school districts, with individuals. The district would be free to organize fundraising and accept donations, to help defray the cost.

Halsey also recommended that the board approve after-school transportation to practices at least, saying that it would not add much in cost to extend a current run 15 minutes to a half hour; this, he said, mirrors what the district already offers for other after-school programs.

Parents would be responsible for pick-up. No transportation would be provided for weekend or game-day travel.

Board President Shannon Locking asked if other sports had been discussed by Eden. Halsey responded that Eden's interest, at present, is in the football program only, and that the district is willing to give the arrangement a one-year trial period.

With the approval by North Collins, the agreement will require the Eden School Board to approve the arrangement at its meeting, next week.

This negotiation would allow the athletic directors to submit the necessary paperwork to the section administrators in time to begin the joint program, next fall.

The agreement between the two districts would need to be re-approved each year, and additional agreements for other sports would also be required.

While saying that she was not against the program, Board Member Tammy Winter expressed a level of concern. She recently organized a sports boosters committee in North Collins and wondered if the district can support a program in Eden “when there are programs here we can't fund now.”

Halsey also reported meeting with a transportation consultant who would be willing to examine the district's current routes and look for efficiencies. He noted that, while savings have been made by going to a single bus run for both schools, they are not as large as was originally anticipated. The consultant said that such a comprehensive review would not exceed $2,000.

In other board news:

– The board approved Dan Gerken as unpaid assistant for boys varsity basketball and Kyle Cataldo as a volunteer for the year.

– A total of $454 from Target, Tops Markets and Planet Aid Inc., representing contributions based on individuals’ specifying the district in various rewards programs, was accepted.

The school board will meet in regular session at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26 in the high school library.

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