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Bellwood rejects soccer programs

March 13, 2008
By Walt Frank,
Bellwood-Antis students won’t be playing interscholastic soccer any time soon.

School board members Tuesday rejected a request from a parents group to form boys and girls soccer teams in the district.

“That request was issued to the athletic committee, but they did not bring it forward at this point,” said David Worthing, board president.

“It did not get enough votes to get out of committee,” said Kenneth Loucks, athletic committee chairman.

Members of the parents group are not happy with the decision.

“They [board] are hanging their hat on they can’t afford it. No matter what we say, we are not going to win,” Bob Crook said.

“I am disappointed for the 40 to 50 kids who wanted this to happen,” Jeff Bartlett said. “We thought we had all of the bases covered. We offered to fund a portion of it, but they weren’t willing to do that. For us not to have soccer is kind of nuts.”

Board members are not in favor of the parents helping to fund a soccer program.

“The board has mixed opinions on the parents financing it. I am not in favor of it,” Loucks said. “How can you ask the administration to operate a program if you are not paying for it and have ownership over what is going on?”

“We can’t ask a private individual to fund a public school activity,” said Lisa Kovac, athletic committee member. “There is no one on this board that is fundamentally opposed to soccer. It is expensive when we are facing a 1.5 percent increase in state funding when our costs have risen above 1.5 percent.”

Board members did consider a co-op program with the neighboring Tyrone Area School District but not a full-time program for Bellwood, Loucks said.

“This year is not the year,” he said. “Who knows what next year might bring? Funding may be different.”

The parents won’t give up.

“We will keep trying to get something pushed forward,” Bartlett said. “We will see what the other alternatives are. There are kids hoping this will happen before they graduate.’’

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