At the March 11 meeting of the board of education ten members of the senior class of 2009 presented how they have served their 15 hours of community service required for graduation. Among the organizations, activities and causes were the Richfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Country Fair, American Red Cross blood drive, Calkins Wrestling Tournament, Zone Pride Days, Zone Soup and Pie Supper, American Legion Post 616 Auxiliary’s Chinese Auction, Santa Anonymous,RS Sports Booster activities, and working with elementary students for math review and recess help.
Building Principal Penny Harrington presented the instructional budget for 2009-2010. In the budget will be monies for the purchase of school supplies for the students in the elementary grades, the hiring of a permanent substitute teacher and speech pathologist both with benefits for the coming school year, and no staff cuts.
Athletic director Therijo Climenhaga reported that every sport in the present budget will be in next year’s budget prompting some in attendance to question the status of varsity football. Climenhaga stated again that money for officials, equipment, coaching salaries and sports were in the athletic budget. The status of varsity football would be determined by the board.
A summer program will again be held at the school but a change will be that students in grades pre-kindergarten through second grade will only attend mornings and only third through sixth grade students will be going to Glimmerglass State Park for free swim in the afternoon. The program will have an “art” theme and a cut back on weekly field trips has been made.
Superintendent Robert Barraco reported that marble sills are being installed on some windows and the annual technology fair will be on May 19, the same day as the vote for the 2009-2010 school budgets. He reported that shared services of the technology director at RSCS will occur with Owen D. Young, and that the athletic director will be shared with Mohawk Central School. A cafeteria food manager will be shared with Mohawk Central School.
Board members thanked the efforts of the people who coordinated the leukemia research benefit held recently at the school. It was noted that both the varsity boys and girls basketball teams were recently recognized as Scholar Athletes. Both teams were congratulated on their seasons.
Board member Brad Smith stated, “I have a strong feeling that if we cannot even offer one fall sport for our high school boys at our school, merging is going to cause some not to play. A small district provides better chances for our kids.”
In public comments, Eric Gloo asked the status of the lights and sound board system to the auditorium that was in the Excel grant voted on by the citizens two years ago. Barraco told Gloo that priorities of the Excel grant had been rearranged and some aspects of the grant have a higher need.
A sound board will be done but new stage lighting may not be included.
Junior football player Eric Ulinski noted that those juniors who currently play football and will be seniors next year were polled regarding their feelings on merging football with Mohawk.
Other RSCS football players were in attendance and when Barraco asked them to raise their hands if they supported merging with Mohawk it was clearly the opinion of the athletes to play varsity football at Mohawk.
Ulinski said it was very demeaning to lose 56-0 during the last season and winning is important.
RSCS football coach Len Calkins remarked that the number of RSCS athletes are young and not at the skill level to play varsity.
“It is a skill level issue. We could have 6-7 of our RSCS kids start for Mohawk next year,” Calkins said.
Discussion continued about fall cheerleading (both RSCS and Mohawk will supply cheering squads if a merger occurs), Mohawk’s field renovation in Fall of 2009, and where practices of modified, junior varsity, and varsity will occur with a merger.
The board went in to executive session and will present a resolution at the March 25 meeting deciding which direction the district will take in offering varsity boys football next year.
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer for The Mercury and currently substitutes for ODY. He is a recent retiree of RSCS.