July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Midview Schools: Termination of athletics would pave way for transfers

EATON TWP. — The Midview school district’s planned elimination of sports in the 2013-14 school year if a levy does not pass will allow students to transfer to other districts without losing a year of eligibility, school officials said.

School Board President David Zunis said he has not heard of anyone stepping forward to try to save the sports programs, but there are some dangers for students regarding eligibility if that is the case.

If the school district kept one program alive such as football, then students in other sports would not be eligible for an immediate transfer because of bylaws of the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

The association allows students to transfer if a school district “completely discontinues sports programs,” according to the bylaws.

Furthermore, the student can transfer back to his or her original district if that district resumes sponsoring sports, he said.

The Midview school board plans to meet at 6:30 tonight at the Midview High School gym to discuss some $2.3 million in planned cutbacks if a 9.75-mill levy does not pass Feb. 5.

Zunis said dozens of employees — up to 50 in all — may lose their full- or part-time jobs if the full list of cuts takes place in the 2013-14 school year.

Tonight’s agenda says the job of Athletic Director Creg Jantz is on the line, along with about 100 teachers and other staff receiving supplemental contracts.

Those supplemental contracts range from the football coach to the band director to advisers for the newspaper and yearbook and the spelling bee coordinator.

Zunis said some people have asked why the district doesn’t increase the fees, which are now up to $550 a sport.

But Zunis said there is an issue of fairness because full pay-to-play would leave poorer families out in the cold.

Plus, the cost per activity would have to double because an estimated 47 to 52 percent of the costs of extracurricular activities including sports is now covered by Midview Schools, Zunis said.

Tim Stried, spokesman for the OHSAA, said he was concerned about the prospect the association would lose Midview, calling it “a great membership school.”

“It’s always disappointing when a school district goes into financial crisis and might have to eliminate the sports program,” Stried said.

Stried said a small number of districts have continued to operate sports through donations and pay-to-play fees, including West Muskingum Schools near Zanesville.

“We think sports is part of the educational process and for some kids it is what inspires them to attend classes and be academically engaged,” Stried said. “We’re kind of protective of school sports. For most school district in Ohio sports make up less than 3 percent of their budget.

“To hold sports hostage when they only make up 3 percent of the budget doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Stried said.

Meanwhile, Midview Superintendent John Kuhn said the treasurer estimates the cost of supplemental activities such as sports, choir, drama, band and clubs at approximately $252,000.

But he said that is not the total cost given the “significant fee structure” of pay-to-play and pay-to-participate in activities. Kuhn estimated that sports comprise two-thirds of the total spent on sports and extracurricular activities.

For more information on the district and its plans, go to www.midviewk12.org.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.