A group of parents and children teamed up to initiate a football program at Clay City High School.
They scored a touchdown at the Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees meeting last night by going the extra yard. The support group came prepared with statistics and research from other football programs at schools of similar size. But they haven't won the game just yet.
Board members were receptive to the idea, but they wanted to hear the opinions of Paul Sinders, principal at Clay City Junior/Senior High School. Since the January meeting is so soon after the holiday break, he asked for an additional month to prepare his findings. Sinders will report his views to the board at the February meeting, and the board expects to make a decision about the football program at that time.
The booster club was represented by Larry Richman. He spoke about how students expressed their desire to play the game, the willingness of Clay City parents and businesses to support the program, and presented estimates on the cost of the proposed program.
"According to the Indiana High School Athletics Association, a school must first develop a junior varsity football program. We already have feeder programs with the Brazil and Shakamak youth football programs. IHSAA rules state we may use lay coaches for the first couple of years and we already have several qualified personnel willing to do the job," Richman said.
It would cost approximately $30,000 to start a football program at CCHS and the booster club is prepared to raise the money up front to get started.
"We want to equip each player with the necessary gear... We estimate about 40 to 60 players would come out for each season... Only minor alterations would have to be made to the existing field... Most football programs of similar size reported that even during their worst years, they were able to break even with gate sales," Richman said.
Richman emphasized the group wants to be an asset to the school and community and said the group only needed three things from the school board: The eventual hiring of a football coach, funds for transportation to away games and permission to pay officials from gate ticket sales money.
The head football coach from North Daviess High School also spoke to the board about the virtues of football. As an administrator, (he was also assistant principal for the school system for six years), he said the discipline problem could be reduced as well as the dropout rate for young men who might be a potential risk if it weren't for the opportunity to excel in football.
Jerry Anderson and Jan Gambill, Northview High School soccer and softball coaches, were also at the meeting last night. They supported developing the football program at CCHS. They also wanted support from the school board to seek approval from the holding corporation to build a restroom/concession/changing/storage facility between the softball and soccer fields. The facility would cost $120,000.
School Superintendent Thomas Rohr said the holding corporation could potentially use a portion of its hold-over money from the construction projects at NHS, North Clay Middle School and Clay City Jr/Sr High to build the facility. He said the holding corporation was asking the board for guidance in how to best use what's left of the $265,000.
"Right now, our patrons must use port-a-potties...supporters had built a plywood and particle board concession stand about eight years ago and it's unsafe now as the floors are decaying and there aren't enough electrical outlets...since we host the IHSAA softball sectionals, we really need a place for players and officials to change...storage room is also needed as coaches are currently hauling equipment around or storing it in various places...and we would also like to see an upstairs area to operate both scoreboards because right now, we use a scoring machine on a tabletop behind the backstop," Anderson said.
The superintendent and board members Terry Barr and Len Fischer expressed their concern about using the holding corporation money for this project when other potential maintenance problems exist at the two schools. Fischer asked Thomas Reberger, director of building and grounds, about his views on the matter.
Reberger said he is concerned about the chiller at North Clay Middle School, the boiler at Forest Park Elementary and carpeting and roofing at the new schools.
Barr voted against taking the endorsement of the facility concept to the holding corporation and the rest of the board voted in favor. Even with the board's recommendation, the holding corporation must still vote on the issue.
For more on the school board meeting, read The Brazil Times Saturday.