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Nisky forum focuses on athletics, clubs

Community members speak to importance of extracurricular activities

Steve Markham, parent of a Glencliff Elementary School student, talks about incorporating all expenses when determining the cost of a sport, such as field maintenance, during the district’s budget forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Steve Markham, parent of a Glencliff Elementary School student, talks about incorporating all expenses when determining the cost of a sport, such as field maintenance, during the district’s budget forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Photo by John Purcell.

— The questions facing the district on sports, Salvaggio said, include if the district should eliminate the seven freshman level teams, resulting in a modified program combining grades; if the district should rely more heavily on booster club and parent organizations for self-funded teams to preserve opportunities; and if the district should maintain all athletic offerings at the same level.

Extracurricular clubs faced many similar questions, such as if all clubs should be maintained, if there should be a threshold of participation for a club to be offered and if the amount of clubs should be reduced.

There are a total of 45 clubs at the high school, totaling around $57,000 worth of costs in the 2010-11 school year. At both middle schools there are only 15 clubs, which amounted to a cost of $23,000 during 2010-11. The costs associated with the clubs results from stipends paid to the clubs, which amount to 0.01 percent of the budget. Like sports, fees cannot be charged for club participation.

Joe Skumurski, a parent of a 7th and 4th grader, said sports and clubs help students learn 21st century skills and the value of extracurricular activities is vital. He said the district would not “save anything by cutting anything” from such programming.

“The most successful people aren’t always the most academically gifted,” Skumurski said. “A child who might be academically gifted gets on a team, all of a sudden you are not the star anymore, and vice-versa.”

John Lindsay, president of the junior class, also stressed the importance of extracurricular activities.

“There is nothing more important than our extracurriculars,” Lindsay said. “I already know what I want to study in college and had I never had the opportunity to be the president of my club in my high school I would not have the opportunity to know what it is I want to do with my life.”

The next community budget forum will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Van Antwerp Middle School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. and it will focus on outsourcing and shared services. For information on the upcoming forum and budget visit the district’s website at www.NiskySchools.org.

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