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District could form rec department PDF Print E-mail
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 17:11

Athletic director starts preliminary discussion with School Board; sports’ fundraising could be a stickler

Citing a chance to provide opportunities that don’t exist in the community, Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Athletic Director Scott Parsons told the School Board he would like to start a recreation department.
Programming could range from youth sports and enrichment programs such as chess, art and foreign language to adult interests like estate planning, computer classes, ballroom dancing and sheepshead, Parsons said.
District staff would have the opportunity to lead programs and students could work some of them.
“We’ve got phenomenal facilities here. There are some really neat possibilities,” Parsons said. “This could be a huge thing for this community and this district.”
Connecting with youths would make students’ transition to high school easier, he said, and Supt. Jeanne Courneene cited another advantage would be branding. Participants would represent the school district and behave accordingly when traveling for sports contests.
“We have high standards,” Courneene said.
Parsons said youth sports coaches could focus on coaching while the department would handle registration fees and hiring officials.
The School Board was quick to point out potential controversies with fundraising. Individual clubs and organizations hold their own fundraisers, and where that money would go if they were part of a larger organization could create friction, members said.
If money from one sport’s fundraiser gets put into a pool to support other sports, that would be a problem, Board President Chad Hoopman said.
Volunteers won’t work fundraisers if their sport doesn’t get to keep the money, he said.
“Don’t give me as a cross country parent a reason not to work the car wash because it goes into a big pool,” Hoopman said.
“People would have to grasp being part of a larger picture,” Courneene said.
If money earned at fundraisers would be earmarked for that sport, Hoopman said “the controversy goes away, potentially.”
Parsons, who serves as president of Grafton High School Athletic Booster Club, said he isn’t sure why the Cedar Grove-Belgium area has individual booster clubs. He said Grafton’s club donates about $45,000 to the school each year.
Courneene said a rec department would clear up some misconceptions.
“Governance is a big one. I think there’s confusion in the community as to what’s sanctioned by the school,” Courneene said.
Regardless, board member Laura Schiffer said there are only so many sponsorships to go around in a small community. Fellow board member Kurt Kraus agreed.
“That’s the problem with so many booster clubs,” he said. Companies will say, “Football was just here.”
A rec department would make programming more sustainable, Hoopman said. While organizations often struggle to find volunteer leadership, a rec department would consistently handle administrative tasks.
“You’re not going to have sports dip down because Johnny graduated and nobody’s there,” Hoopman said.
The board didn’t take a vote but agreed  to let Parsons continue exploring the formation of a rec department. Parsons plans to create a community survey to gauge interest in a rec department available via email and hard copy.

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