By Tim Leeds
The Havre Public School Board of Trustees unanimously approved returning a survey to the Montana High School Association (MHSA) Board of Control completed as Havre High School Activities Director Charlie Klimas recommended.
The survey, which was presented to collect school's input onto the Transition Advisory Committee's (TAC) recommendation to implement a three-season calendar with staggered seasons for boys' and girls' basketball. Klimas participated in the 18-member TAC.
Klimas recommended completing the survey in favor of allowing scheduling basketball games over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, knowing that the schools do not have to use this option; limiting no-play dates to Dec. 24 through Dec. 27 to honor the Christmas holiday; against favoring a two-week staggered basketball season to a three-week basketball season; and against studying another calendar option such as a longer stagger for some schools.
The survey also had seven questions regarding examining a four-season concept, which would have boys' and girls' basketball in separate winter seasons. Klimas said he recommended continuing with the three-season schedule, so these questions did not apply, although he said the Havre school system would support reducing the number of basketball games played in a regular season, such as 16 games instead of 18, to make the simultaneous basketball seasons easier to schedule.
Klimas also presented two paragraphs Superintendent Kirk Miller requested be attached to the survey. The first paragraph stated that Havre is one of several schools in remote areas that would suffer greatly if regional scheduling were traded away in the process of trying to compromise between the different sized schools, and opposes losing any more of the regional scheduling.
The second paragraph stated that the product of the TAC meeting was the result of considerable compromise between members of the committee, and that Havre believes that trying to go through the process again to find another compromise would probably not find a better solution.
Klimas said the TAC recommendations would basically leave football, cross country and the spring sports untouched. Girls' volleyball would run in the same season that girls' basketball currently runs in. The girls' basketball season would start after football, three weeks before the boys' basketball does. The girls' tournaments would finish the week before the boys' tournaments begin.
Klimas said the TAC had representation of virtually all areas of Montana high school sports. Classes AA, A, B and C were represented, he said, with coaches, teachers, administrators, athletic directors and members of the media.
Klimas said the needs and desires for scheduling are so far apart for Class AA and Class C schools that there was no way to bring them together. He said the Class C schools are in favor of the four-season schedule, allowing more flexibility with coaches, officials and facilities. He said this option was also appealing to him for the Havre schools.
Klimas said they could only get a 50 percent approval of this option, and the committee had set a requirement of two-thirds approval before the discussion began.
The three-season staggered schedule is kind of a compromise between the different interests, Klimas said. He said it is also the most popular system in the nation.
Klimas said Wyoming had used the four-season schedule at one point, but has switched to a three-season staggered schedule similar to the TAC's recommendation.
The TAC recommendation still has to be approved by the Human Rights Committee (HRC), which has mandated the season switch, due by the 2003-2003 school year. The survey must be returned by Dec. 19, will be presented to the board of control, and final action is planned before the Feb. 1 deadline of presentation to the Human Rights Bureau.
The TAC recommendation will also have to be approved by the people who brought the suit against the state, initiating the review by the HRC, Klimas said.