Football Program’s Future Debated At North Central Board Meeting

Craig Meyers talks to the North Central Schools Board of Education at its Dec. 19 meeting about the importance of the football program.

The fate of the football program will be a point of discussion at an upcoming meeting of the North Central Board of Education.

The topic came up at the end of the Dec. 19 meeting when organizers of the youth league team countered claims by administration officials about costs. While Superintendent Ken Boyer is of the view it will cost the district more than $500,000 to fully fund the program (equipment, facilities and a field), the men who run the youth league say the cost would be half of that.

The discussion was prompted by concerns Trustee Shane Martin heard from staff about funding the program directly from the General Fund. The district needs to have a complete look at what a football program looks like and where the money is coming from, he said.

“I don’t want this to be a (point) of dissension for staff,” Martin said.

The issue to be resolved are what are the expectations, Board President Jim Fee said.

Funding a fully functional football program would cost around $600,000, Boyer said. Starting a varsity program would be expensive and he asked the board if they wanted to be obligated to take such a course of action.

“It would be a drain (on resources),” Boyer said. “That’s a lot of funds to go out and raise, either through the state or raise taxes.”

To get the money, the district would likely have to issue bonds for facilities such as locker rooms and the field and equipment, Boyer said. A 0.5 mill each is the likely funding stream, he said.

Boyer said he can’t see the district coughing up the money for football.

The man in charge of the current youth program, Craig Meyers, disputed Boyer’s numbers and said the real cost would be closer to $200,000 to $250,000.

“That’s if you want a Taj Mahal field,” Meyers said. “It’s not even close.”

The costs would be lower due to the donated items the program has received already including sleds, a scoreboard, goal posts and paint for the field. The football boosters raised $20,000, he said.

The program had 40 youth this year and could have 50 next year due to parents wanting their children to play football, Meyers said.

The district needs to decide quickly if it wants the program at the junior high school since schedules have to be made two to three years in advance, Meyers said. The school needs to see if it can gain entrance to the TAC for football, he said.

The youth program is popular with more than 500 paid admissions to a contest against Edon this past fall. The doubleheader likely drew around 700 people and many had to be turned away for lack of parking.

Meyers said he would have more in-depth reports for the next meeting and apologized for not being better prepared.

In other news:
The high school band and choir will be raising money for a trip to New York City in March to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The trip will include stops at such sights as Rockefeller Center, Central Park and attending the Broadway show “Aladdin.”

The cost is $540 per person based on four students to a room. Chaperones can have their own rooms at their own expense.

The money will be raised through monthly payments from parents, donations from the Music Boosters and the American Legion and by students working for various school projects.

The school district Spelling Bee for grades 5 and 6 will begin at 1:45 p.m. Jan. 6 at auditorium.

The after school program has 20 students.

Homecoming will be the week of Jan. 21.

The class trip to the Toledo Walleye game has been rescheduled for Jan. 8.

The board will have its organizational and regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10.

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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