Lax bros get green light for first season
Sports were the big issue at the Feb. 25 Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor CSD School Committee meeting as the Boothbay Region High School library filled up with student-athletes, parents and coaches anticipating a green light for boys lacrosse. Since the last meeting, Principal Dan Welch and Athletic Director Allan Crocker circulated what they referred to as one of the most comprehensive sport signup campaigns ever.
Signup sheets reached every homeroom and a one-by-one call into the office with each student not marked as having filled out the sheet yielded just under a 90 percent response rate.
Costs will be about $14,500 for the first year and about $13,800 every year after that, said Crocker. Calculations included football equipment reconditioning and did not take into account any potential cost-cutting from volunteered labor or donated equipment.
Scott Hardwick has been pushing the committee to approve the sport so he can seek a grant from US Lacrosse which helps high schools start their first team. Hardwick previously said he would not be comfortable fielding a team with fewer than 15 players, but as boys lacrosse would be a club sport its first year if approved, Allan Crocker said the club would have until the third week in March to fund and field a team.
Baseball coach Ed Crocker said he wants to see every student playing a sport, but argued there is no way of sustaining so many spring sports. With enrollment numbers going down, a successful little league and the introduction of a new sport, there would be potential for the Seahawks to field a baseball team only sporadically over the coming years. He said this could be a problem with the Maine Principals Association.
“(Allan) has to report to the MPA which sports he's going to have ... It's just going to be a rollercoaster ride.”
Haili Hardwick, parent of three lacrosse players including BRHS freshman Lucas, said the schools cannot afford to overlook programs with potential to attract or retain students.
“We need to look at being progressive and changing with the needs of our school and community … We've watched many of the families go to private schools, move away who play lacrosse … I think we need to look at why people are leaving our school system and I think we need to be progressive with what we're offering.”
The board voted 4-1, with member Kari Babcock voting against, to approve lacrosse as a club sport on the condition that Hardwick and his group fundraise startup costs.
Said Ed Crocker, “I think what we're going to find is that, I don't know which one it's going to be, but one of the teams are not going to be able to go. We're not going to be able to have this many sports in the springtime.”
Internet, testing and state championship details
Special Services Director Lisa Smith has begun an application to secure Erate funds, a program through the state which retroactively compensates for 70 percent of money spent establishing or upgrading internet systems. The funds would need to be provided through the budget, Smith said. This may be the last year the Erate funds are available, she added.
With a total cost of around $25,000 for BRHS and $32,000 to $35,000 for BRES, members Hawke and John Bertolet asked if application for the funds was a sure shot and if Smith has ever heard of a school being denied. Smith said nothing is certain, but working with the state every step, she is confident the CSD will receive the funds.
Said Smith, “I have not heard of anyone who has been denied.”
Boothbay Region Elementary School Principal Mark Tess announced that NAEP testing for the “Nation's Report Card” – is the week of March 4. The fourth and eighth grade classes will have day-long math and English/language arts tests.
“That happens to be the test that we get to supply the kids, but we get absolutely no results from it,” Tess said.
The test is state-mandated and schools refusing participation can lose federal and state funds which go to programs like the reading lab, Tess said. Those funds typically go toward the head teacher’s salary and other funds come from federal programs like Title II and Title IV.
“That's how we fund some of our professional development, too. It's how we pay for some of the people we have in the building … We can't say no. Love to, but …”
BRHS Principal Dan Welch said Camden National Bank donated $750 to help get the girls basketball team to Cross Insurance Center in Bangor for the state championship and in supplying 75 to 100 free student tickets. The Boosters secured a charter bus for team travel, he said.
Superintendent Keith Laser said the CSD will not get as much money from the state through Essential Programs and Services (EPS). The amount will be down $12,620 for a total of $512,183. This is mostly due to student enrollment decline – 438 students down to 418 from 2018 to 2019 – and property values.
The 15 minutes later school start the committee passed last meeting failed its condition that there are no conflicts with Bath Vocational, Laser said.
The committee unanimously approved having Facilities Maintenance and Transportation Director Dave Benner get a new school bus on the condition the price not exceed $85,000.
After an executive session, the committee voted unanimously to grant a teacher a leave of absence for the 2019-2020 school year, Laser said.