School Board to vote on high school baseball proposal

The fate of high school baseball at Falls City High, at least for the foreseeable future, could be determined next Monday at the Falls City School Board’s regular monthly meeting.  

The District 56 board members will meet at the FC Middle School at 7 p.m. and the future of the highly debated action item – the addition, or not, of high school baseball – will be determined .

During the Oct. 14th meeting, board members approved adding the proposal from FC Middle School instructor Kory Huppert to their list of action items for the meeting. Huppert, who teaches seventh and eighth grade language arts, along with coaching middle school football, high school softball and basketball, and runs the FC American Legion baseball program, spoke to the Board about why he favored the idea of adding America’s pastime to the list of sports offered, beginning in the spring of 2015.

“We feel confident in saying that high school baseball is something our district would like to see happen,” Huppert told the board meeting. Huppert cited the new multi-million-dollar Fiedler Family Complex and the overwhelming interest from student-athletes as two reasons the board should consider adding baseball.

Huppert went on to discuss a 1979 study of Title IX by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare. In the study, which was concerned with how Title IX would affect men’s athletics, the Dept. of Health developed a three-prong test for evaluating whether equal treatment exists and determined that in order to meet that sense of equality, compliance in one of the three prongs would suffice.

Huppert pointed specifically to prong three of that study, which states that institutions where there may be disproportionately more males participating in sports than females satisfies the requirements of Title IX when they can show they are meeting the needs of their female population.

“We were asked to complete a survey of student participation and interest last year, and from that survey we were able to conclude that we are meeting the interest of our female students,” Huppert said. “From that survey, we were also able to show that due to a lack of interest, we would not be able to support a team sport such as soccer at this time and that less than a handful of female students would be interested in tennis or golf. We do, however, have overwhelming interest in baseball and from the survey can show that we can sustain baseball over time.”

FC Athletic Director Darwin Palmer did not necessarily agree. He also spoke at the October meeting and stated that in order to equalize the number of sports offered to the high school students, if boys baseball was added, the district should add two girls sports, either soccer, tennis or golf.

Currently there are six boys sports and five girls sports offered.

FCHS Principal Gale Dunkhas said that in the 2012-2013 school year there were 258 kids – 131 boys and 127 girls (51 percent boys, 49 percent girls) – enrolled in grades 9-12. The total number of boy athletes was 140, while the girls was 97, which meant that 59-percent of all participation in athletics was from boys.

Dunkhas said the proportionality rule is figured by subtracting the participation rate percentage number from the percentage number of boys or girls enrolled. For example, FC’s boys’ enrollment is 51 percent, subtracted from the participation percentage of boys, 59, equals plus-8. Dunkhas said any number above five and a district is considered to be disproportionate, hence not in compliance with Title IX.

“It looks like in the future, we are going to be closer to proportionality because we’re going to have more girl athletes and less boy athletes, just based on numbers,” Dunhkas said, pointing to the eighth grade class having 14 more boys than girls currently enrolled.  

For the proposal to pass Monday, there must be a 4-2 vote among BOE members.

Board agenda
Supt. Tim Heckenlively and the District 56 School Board will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11, in the Central Office at Falls City Middle School.  Highlights from their tentative agenda follow:

Business Items, including audiences, treasurer’s report and claims; Informational Items/Reports:  staff/organization reports:  school district audit and financial report 2012-13, Julie Bauman, CPA, P.C.; annual report on multiculturalism; principals’, board president’s and superintendent’s reports; tigIR’s Learning Initiative; negotiations planning (private session); superintendent evaluation documents (private session).

Old/New Action Items:  Boy’s high school baseball; accept the annual financial report and audit for 2012-13; other.

Executive session:  requested by member, approved by majority, as per statute.

The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, in the Central Office at the Middle School.  Regular and special meeting agendas are kept in the Office of the Superintendent.  Board committee meetings to be determined.

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