September 20, 2007

Baseball, Ball Field Discussed at September School Board Meeting

In August a citizen group approached the Scotland County R-I Board of Education regarding the creation of a baseball program for the district. The meeting was the latest in a movement over the past several years to have baseball added as a varsity and junior varsity program at SCR-I.

The board took the issue under advisement and scheduled the topic as one of the main points of emphasis for discussion at the next board retreat or workshop.

At the September 14th meeting of the school board, president George Koontz gave a report on the workshop, which did include some debate on the topic.

Issues surrounding adding the program that are facing the district include funding, and compliance with Title IX.

The latter is a federal guideline established in 1972 that states No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

That law has been interpreted to mean that schools must offer an equal number of sports programs for boys and girls.

Proponents of adding baseball for the district believe that strict interpretation may not be the case. In 1979, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, established a three-prong test to reveal if schools were meeting Title IX requirements by either:

Offering athletic programs on a proportionate level based on enrollment (if 75% of enrollment is boys, then 75% of sports programs can be offered to boys);

Illustrating the schools history of continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented gender;

Or complete and effective provision for the athletic interests of what is considered the underrepresented gender.

Considering the third prong of this test, the district has made plans to survey student interests in baseball as well as other athletic programs.

At the workshop, board members also discussed the challenges of building a quality program as well as upgrading the schools existing sports programs.

If the district eventually adds baseball, the Tigers likely will have a much improved field to play on.

The board voted 6-0 to accept a proposal from CTS for payment of $20,000 for the replacement of the high school ball field.

As part of its contract for installation of the schools new heating and cooling system, CTS had pledged to return the field to its original condition following the completion of the project. That work involved the installation of the HVAC well field below the ball diamond. The work forced the district to move play to Johnson Park in 2007.

The engineers determined this was the best location for the efficiency of the well field, said Superintendent Dave Shalley. The alternative placement would have taken out several trees on the south side of the high school that are over 30 years old.

CTS offered to have the field reseeded or to pay the district $20,000 to have the work done itself.

The board agreed to take the payment with hopes of repairing the outfield as well as making additional improvements like eliminating existing drainage problems and replacing the outfield fence.

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