By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Boys' cross country and girls' fastpitch softball were the two favorite choices to add as activities at Havre High School in a preliminary tally at a Thursday meeting.
Boys' and girls' soccer was the other sport discussed during the task force meeting held in the HHS cafeteria.
More than 50 people attended the meeting and the task force recorded the thoughts and beliefs of the public concerning adding MHSA-sanctioned sports at Havre High.
"We non-members are here to record the thoughts and beliefs of those of you speaking," said Ric Floren, task force facilitator.
The task force, a cross-section of community members and experts selected by Superintendent Kirk Miller during the summer, will compile the information and present it to the Havre School Board of Trustees in January.
The school board will make all the decisions on the subject.
The public meeting was held to make sure the public had the opportunity to provide input so that each individual opinion was reflected, Floren said.
"Any time kids are involved in physical activities it encourages them to make good decisions their entire life," Vicki Michels said, who was in favor of adding boys' cross country and girls' fastpitch softball.
Due to Title IX, a U.S. Supreme Court decision made that said the number of women's sports must be at least equal to the number of boys' sports, boys' cross country could not be added at Havre High unless a girls' sport was also offered or a boys' activity was cut. Currently at Havre High, girls and boys are offered equal numbers of activities in which to participate.
Other reasons to include cross country included low start-up costs, and the fact that everyone participates because there are no team cuts.
"I can understand adding cross country for economical reasons," Nancy Jarvis said, "but I think participation would double or triple in numbers with boys' soccer. We should choose one where more kids would participate."
Some were not in favor of adding any sports. The subject of eliminating an existing sport was never under strong consideration of the task force, Floren said.
"I would like to not see any sports added," Dave Rydell said. "Soccer and softball both are club sports now where everyone plays and there are no cuts. I would encourage you to leave community programs as community programs."
Funding was also a voiced concern.
"There will be a cost of adding sports," Floren said. "How that money would be generated is a question the board would have to deal with."
Written comments were also recorded and comments can be mailed to P.O. Box 7791, c/o Ric Floren, Havre, MT 59501.
A complete tabulation with names and the flavor of each opinion will be compiled by Floren's office before a final task force meeting.