Around 60 people from the Clay City area rallied at last night's school board meeting at North clay Middle School, in favor of starting a football program at Clay City High School.
Even though the offense put up a good fight, Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees voted unanimously to give the victory to the defense as opponents to the potential football program had the stronger voice. They gave survey and statistic information as to why the extra curricular activity schooled not be added.
LeRoy Sedgwick, representing classroom teachers, said he didn't want to discuss merits or lack of merits about football. He pointed to the state's budget situation.
"In a time of economic uncertainty, with rumblings of staff reductions and layoffs, it is not time for additional programs and expenses. Clay Community Classroom Teachers Association asks the board not to approve the addition of football to Clay City High School at this time," he said.
Paul Sinders, Clay City High School principal, said he based his decision not to support the football program on substance and not his own personal feelings about the game.
"We surveyed other Class 1-A schools in the state. Only nine other small schools are playing football in Indiana and some of them wish they could drop the program. Coaches cited financial concerns and said school and community spirit is low in all sports at those schools due to the win/loss record. Because of size, we can't be everything to everyone. We have 255 students, 132 of them are boys. Northview has 550 students, about half of them boys. Only 40 of them, less than 10 percent, go out for football. I don't see Clay City having 40 players, which is what's needed, to field a quality football team," he said.
Sinders said some boys would quit marching band and cross country to play football. Those two programs are very successful at CCHS, but numbers are low, especially in band. He said he didn't favor starting a program that would detract from their success.
"The football committee said attendance could be expected to average 1,000 people. But we haven't had that many at our basketball games during a winning season," he said.
The football committee also said in December that the field wouldn't need any major changes. But Sinders disagreed. Among other things, he said bleachers would need to be added and rest rooms, dressing rooms and concessions are not adequate.
"People may be satisfied at first but it would be just a matter of time before people would demand better facilities at Clay City to keep up Northview. It would require a great deal of additional work and money," Sinders said.
Lisa Showalter, CCHS assistant principal and athletic director, gave the finance estimates.
"It would take about $350 to outfit each player and other remaining equipment would cost about $21,000, so we would need about $36,000 to get started. If we had 400 to 500 people in attendance at $4 per ticket, that would only bring in about $2,000. Yearly equipment maintenance per player would be about $40 to $50 each. The football committee said they could raise the money up front to get started. That's a lot to ask of our small community. What would happen to the other programs asking for financial support from the community? Nothing would be left for them," she said.
Supporters would not back down and put up a last minute "Hail Mary" play.
"You may vote negatively tonight, but we will be back and we will do whatever it takes to overcome your objections," Larry Richmond said.
Editors note: Tomorrow's edition of The Times will review the upcoming budget situation for the school corporation.