Friday, February 4, 2005
CCHS to add two sports in 2005-06
Next year students at Concord-Carlisle High School will be happy to find the opportunity to compete in two new varsity sports: indoor track for girls and boys and girls ice hockey. CCHS parents, however, may be less than happy with an increase in athletic fees from $75 to $125 per sport.
At their January 25 meeting, the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) voted to increase athletic fees as a way of funding the two new varsity sports. There has been a need to increase the number of team sports offered as the student population has increased considerably over the past several years. No sports have been added which has resulted in more and more interested students being cut from teams.
The committee had discussed three ways of funding the new sports:
• $50,000 could be added to the 2005-06 budget;
• $25,000 could be added to the budget and the user fee could increased to $100;
• or, a user fee could be set at $125 to cover the total cost.
After agreeing on the third option, RSC member Michael Fitzgerald felt a family maximum should be set up for those families that had multiple children at the high school playing multiple sports. No firm cap was set yet. The athletic fees have not been increased at CCHS since 1991, which shocked some of those present at the meeting. If a $125 athletic fee seems high, the Carlisle Middle School fee per sport is currently $180, so parents will see a savings when their children enter high school.
Athletic director analyzes needs
CCHS Athletic Director Brent Clark produced a written report on the status and needs of the athletic department. He commented that the CCHS facilities ranked seventh or eighth compared to nine schools we compete with. There are 24 varsity teams, 44 teams total. About 1100 students competed last year. In the mid-1970s more sports were offered, including gymnastics and indoor track for boys and girls.
Clark said it was difficult to put a dollar value on the opportunities that athletics provides. He is sure there have been dozens of CCHS athletes that have gotten into better colleges than their grades supported due to their fine athletic abilities.
Clark had several recommendations. First, we need to take better care of the fields we currently have. For a variety of reasons, we have not maintained our fields sufficiently. The fields are heavily used by the school and town teams. Town money has been used to create fields on school property with the understanding that the school would maintain them. Clark said, "We have not held up our end of the deal."
Second, Clark recommended that CCHS athletic trainer Clayton Abrams, who provides medical treatment, therapy, advice and comfort to dozens of student athletes daily, is greatly underpaid. He is very dedicated and his compensation is thousands of dollars below where it should be. Clark provided a comparison with other athletic trainers' salaries in our league.
Clark went on to recommend adding the two new team sports for the winter of 2005-06: varsity indoor track for boys and girls, and girls ice hockey. CCHS is the only school in its league that does not sponsor an indoor track team. The startup cost for such a team would be around $22,000. Practice would be held in the lower gym. Meets would take place in Boston's Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. There is a lot of interest in the girls ice hockey team from high school at least down through fourth grade. For the last two decades, if girls wanted to play hockey, they had to play on the boys team. The startup cost for the hockey team would be $24,000 to $30,000.
Looking into the future, Clark sees a separate girls swim team that would be a fall sport starting in 2006, once the pool has been completed. The boys swim team would remain a winter sport.
Lastly, Clark would like our towns and school system to consider putting a new turf field on our main football field. A number of surrounding towns are doing this. The field could be used by both the school and town teams. Synthetic turf can have unlimited use and there is very little maintenance. Clark suggested ways to raise money for the new turf including private donations, youth program rental fees, town and school capital expenditures and possible grants through the CPA Program.
© 2005 The