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Interest growing in adding softball

By Staff | May 11, 2018

“There’s definitely an interest.”

Rugby High School Language Arts Instructor Shannon Miller said that Tuesday in a meeting with the Rugby Public School District No. 5 Board of Education in a discussion on the next steps for adding girls softball to spring sports in the future. Also in attendance with her were Chad Hager and junior high Social Studies instructor and coach Beau Eriksson.

Miller submitted the request and information to an activities review committee that met April 25.

Miller surveyed 173 girls in grades 4-11 and 61 percent, or 105 girls, said they were interested in participating in softball. Sixty-two respondents said they would participate in softball in addition to track & field, and 23 respondents said they would participate in softball in addition to golf.

“If we don’t jump on board, we could lose the opportunity,” Miller said.

Miller then reached out to five schools with softball teams. Westhope-Newburg, Velva, Harvey and Des Lacs-Burlington responded, while Miller did not get a response from Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood. Miller asked all five schools what the startup costs were; athlete costs; whether schools already had or had to build a diamond; how many years softball was offered; whether there are varsity only or varsity/junior varsity teams; whether the teams play double-headers; whether girls were allowed to be dual-sport athletes; and whether scheduling games was difficult.

Of the schools that responded, startup costs were $5,000 ($10,000 with coaches’ salaries) and gloves, batting gloves, jackets and caps figured into athlete costs. The schools either had pre-existing diamonds or worked with local parks and recreation. Most of the schools that responded were in their second year of offering softball, however Velva and DLB had offered it for more than seven years. All the responding schools had JV and varsity squads. Dual-sports was allowed, with only one school saying it didn’t work with scheduling. Respondents said scheduling games wasn’t a problem, with most getting in 20 to 25 games a season.

Miller said facilities would be an obstacle.

Superintendent Mike McNeff said a facility for practicing would be a concern, but other things to consider included costs and how busy springtime was for sporting events.

Board member Brenda Heilman said she didn’t think “busy-ness” should be a factor for the board’s decision on whether or not to add softball. Board member Dustin Hager added that trapshooting in its second year has doubled its participation from last year and it gives students another avenue for participating in extracurricular activities.

Heilman said budget would be a concern.

Board president Kristi Blossom said the board would need to “mull over” the request.

The district’s activities addition policy states that the school’s activities director has to form a committee consisting of the activities director, two parents, two head coaches, two activity advisors and two school board members. The committee reviews participation numbers, coach availability, costs, community support, district budget, and other criteria and makes a recommendation to the board regarding its addition, reduction or elimination.

Board vice president Carlie Johnson was absent for the meeting.

Other actions

– Peggy Harmel met with the board to give an update and potential improvement ideas regarding food service programs.

– The board discussed results from 2010-2018 spring ACT testing on juniors. This year juniors taking test had an average composite score of 22.21. Average scores per area were 20.78 in language, 23.09 in reading, 22.36 in math, and 22.27 in science

– The board approved the second reading of changes to the district’s Section 504/Americans With Disabilities Act policy regarding grievance procedures.

– The board approved the first reading of amendments to uniform purchasing rotation. New uniforms are to be purchased for varsity and junior high boys track and junior high football in the 2018-19 school year; varsity football black jerseys, football cheerleading and junior high girls basketball uniforms in 2019-20; baseball, varsity and junior high girls track, junior high boys basketball and cross country in 2020-21; varsity boys and girls basketball, basketball cheerleading, golf and junior high volleyball in 2021-22; and varsity football white jerseys, varsity volleyball, varsity wrestling and wrestling cheerleading in 2022-23. A provision in the policy said uniform purchases “may be halted” due to budget constraints.

– The board approved a tuition agreement with the Maddock School District. The agreement was originally part of the consent agenda but was removed upon a board member’s request.

– The board approved the consent agenda, which included April meeting minutes; bills and financial statements; a contract for Elementary instructor Breanne Sherlock; and resignations for Math/Music teacher Meghan Olson, Social Studies teacher Brian Olson, Science teacher Kyle Kemp and Student Performance Strategist Chelsey Raymond.

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