By Tim Leeds
The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees approved a recommendation by Superintendent Kirk Miller to not add any new student athletic activities for Havre High School Tuesday night.
Trustee Dave Milam said he would like to add every activity possible for every student, but in this economic climate some things have to be sacrificed.
"Maybe somewhere down the road," Milam said.
Miller said under current situations, he could not recommend adding any new activities.
"The buck has to stop somewhere," he said, "it has to stop here."
Miller said he made his recommendation based on the final report of the Athletic Review Task Force, district finances, reductions in enrollment, public testimony and legal issues requiring equity between boys' and girls' activities.
Miller said based on public testimony on two occasions, he saw that the community did not favor eliminating any current activities to add new activities. He said due to legal requirements out of the school district's control, if any new activity is added, another must be added to maintain equity. Under the Ridgeway Agreement, there must be equal numbers of boys' and girls' activities.
Miller said if the district adds a sport, such as boys' cross country, without adding a sport for the other gender, members of the district "have to be willing to protect ourselves when we venture into that land."
Miller said while there seems to be good reason to add boys' cross country, the requirement to add a girls' sport gave him reason to recommend against it under current circumstances.
"Equity doesn't allow us to do something that appears to be in the best interest of the school district," he said.
Miller said the declining enrollment creates another problem with adding more activities. He said there has been a decline of 44 students enrolled, about 44 percent, in the last three years, which amounts to about $220,000 in budget reductions. He said enrollment projections indicate a further decline in the next few years.
Miller said this not only creates concern about further budget reductions but also reduces the number of students available to participate productively in activities.
"The picture for that isn't going to change over the next few years," Miller said.
He said that unless economic changes are made in the state to bring more in, increases in enrollment in the near future are unlikely.
Miller thanked the 20 members of the task force for their 8 months of work preparing the report on athletic review, especially HHS Activity Director Charlie Klimas. He said Klimas did extensive work providing research on high school activities to the task force.
In other activities, the board
heard a report on the commercialization and advertising project presented by Klimas and Ric Floren, director of operations. Several options were presented, including a family plaque, a corporate option including a three by five foot banner hung in the gym, and a corporate option which has a billboard at the Blue Pony Stadium as well as a banner at the gym.
Klimas said income from the project could be used for improvements such as new bleachers at the stadium.
Declined to allow a bus from School District 57 to pick up Havre students to take them to the Cottonwood Elementary School;
Approved a recommendation to change grading scales to a single scale throughout the district, formalizing 11 required parent teacher meetings for grades K-5, and changed end of term grading periods for grades K-5 to three times a year, approximately every 12 weeks.
Hired Lisa Stroh, a 1982 graduate of Circle High School, as principal at Highland Park Elementary School. Stroh had been principal of Tustamena Elementary School in Kasilof, Alaska, before returning to Montana for the position in Havre.