The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 15, 2012

Students put off by poor sports program

Competitiveness lacking, kids’ survey reveals

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT —  A preliminary study of survey responses indicate pay-for-participation fees aren’t the main reason Conneaut High School students are apathetic toward the school’s sports teams.

Chris Newcomb, a Conneaut Board of Education member, said at Wednesday night’s board meeting he had a chance to review questionnaires filled out by students on the subject of sports sign-ups. The $150 fee was among results that were “heavily spread out,” Newcomb said.

Board members are taking turns analyzing the results of the survey, which were distributed to students several weeks ago. The survey was issued shortly after two former board members — Nicholas Iarocci and Michael Joslin — made a public plea to eliminate the pay-for-participation fee, saying they believed it was preventing students from joining Spartan sport teams. The football squad was especially hard-hit, the pair said.

Newcomb said he recently finished perusing the surveys, and while some respondents said the fee was an issue, “competitiveness” of the teams was “a resounding factor.”

“We have been less successful in certain sports,” he said.

Jobs and involvement with other school extracurriculars, including music, were other reasons cited by students.

“Kids don’t want to get involved,” Newcomb said. “There has got to be some way to promote (the sports teams).”

In related news, Schools Superintendent Kent Houston said donations keep arriving for a proposed athletic complex that would flank the CHS football field on Maple Avenue. The complex is called Social Place for Athletics, Recreation and Community and is being spear-headed by the CARE for Kids committee.

At a Monday night SPARC reception, Houston announced the complex recently received a $20,000 donation, and said an anonymous donor has pledged $500,000 to the creation of a new track/field layout if the amount can be matched.

“That’s pretty dog-gone exciting news,” Houston said.

CARE for Kids has already raised money to help install new bleachers at the football field. Donations are being sought for a concession stand/rest room/storage building near the home bleachers. Water and sewer lines are in place at the building site, and construction could commence next year.

Board members also learned that dozens of elementary students will have received special dental care from a mobile clinic sponsored by Ronald McDonald Charities.

Up to 200 eligible students at Lakeshore Primary and Gateway Elementary schools were expected to be treated by the clinics’ dentists and hygienists, said Liesl Blackwell, Gateway principal. The clinic will return next month and in May for follow-up work.