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Dover Post
  • Caesar Rodney School Board announces inclusion of club sports, looks at future funding

  • Just about a year after the Caesar Rodney School District Board of Education received a request to add boys’ baseball to the roster of middle school extracurricular sports, district officials announced recently that baseball and girls’ volleyball will be added to school activities in the form of clubs. A lacrosse club already in existence will also receive funding for the first time.
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  • Just about a year after the Caesar Rodney School District Board of Education received a request to add boys’ baseball to the roster of middle school extracurricular sports, district officials announced recently that baseball and girls’ volleyball will be added to school activities in the form of clubs. A lacrosse club already in existence will also receive funding for the first time.
    District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald said during a special school board meeting Thursday that the district authorized adding $750 to Postlethwait middle school’s athletics budget for the creation of a baseball club. Fifer Middle will also receive $750 in funding for its current lacrosse club.
    Students from either middle school or from Air Base Middle would be permitted to travel to the other middle schools that house the club sport they wish to participate in, Fitzgerald said.
    All three schools will be given an additional $750 this summer to create girls’ volleyball clubs next fall. Schools already have the materials necessary to implement volleyball clubs, but the baseball club is facing some challenges, said Fitzgerald.
    “One of the problems we have with baseball is that we don’t have any fields” he said. “In talking to the high school coach I would have liked to work it out so kids could use the JV field, but those fields are used.”
    The district is looking into the possibility of utilizing the Camden-Wyoming Little League field for middle school baseball. All three sports will operate under club status, Fitzgerald said. The difference between a club and a team is the district provides all the basic equipment − such as helmets and uniforms − for its team sports, while those materials are not provided for a club.
    The board did, however, vote unanimously that if the district were to hold an operating referendum in the future, a request will be made for funding to be given to establish a lacrosse, baseball and volleyball team at both Fifer and Postlethwait.
    Establishing team sports at Air Base Middle School may not be as feasible, Fitzgerald said.
    “Air Base Middle is a little different because we have to negotiate with the base and we have to negotiate with the Department of Defense Education Activity,” he said. “Our plan would be that they would be offered the opportunity to start their programs.”
    If programs cannot be established, Fitzgerald said students on base would be offered the opportunity to travel the other middle schools to participate in their teams.
     
    FUTURE TAX RATES
    Also during the special meeting on Thursday, Dr. Ada Carter, director of business and finance for the district, presented plans that outlined three cost analyses for the future of programing in the district, which would call for the possibility of a future operating referendum.
    Page 2 of 2 - The most expensive financial plan accounts for merit-based step increases; 3-percent pay increases across the board through 2020; maintaining programs currently being funded by grants and other funds; the cost of providing digital teaching and learning tools; and the cost of new technology.
    Carter said this financial plan would help the district implement a strategy to integrate more technology into the classroom.
    “There is a plan in place where [in] grades six to 12 [there] would be [a] one-to-one [ratio] with technology. Every student would come in, go to homeroom, get their Chromebook, go through the day and then turn in the Chromebook before you went home.”
    At the elementary level, there would be a two-to-one technology ratio, meaning that two students would share one computer, Carter said. The total cost of this plan would be $16,731,726 over a four-year period (from FY16 to FY19). It would then cost $6,086,960 per year to maintain those programs.
    These changes would result in a tax increase, Carter said. A person whose home was assessed at $61,200 would pay $774.77 in taxes in FY 16, an increase from $330.48 in FY 15, Carter explained. A homeowner whose house is assessed at $23,100 would pay $292.44 in FY 16, an increase from $124.74 in FY 15.
    The second plan involves maintaining all of its current programing and technology, would fund merit-based step increases and offer 1 percent raises through 2020. This plan would cost $10,953,292 over a four-year period (from FY16 to FY19) and $4,024,593 each year subsequently to maintain.
    Under this model, a homeowner with a house assessed at $61,200 would pay $622.31 in taxes, an increase from $330.48 in FY 15, said Carter. A person whose house was assessed at $23,100 would pay $234.89 in taxes under this new plan, an increase from $124.74
    Carter said the third option is to leave programming as is, and only increase revenue to make up for lost state funding. Since 2008, the district has lost more than $1 million in state funding, Carter said, and the district would need to levy a .13 cent tax increase to make it up.
    “This is with no growth − no change in programing, no modernization, not adding new activities for students or anything,” said Board President Kathleen Haynes.
     Haynes made the suggestion at Thursday’s meeting that the board hold another work session in order to discuss the district’s needs in regards to a referendum.
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