Crunching the numbers: Too much and not enough

Thanks to some grant dollars, some of Warren County School District’s kindergartners won’t have so many classmates.

At Monday night’s meeting of the curriculum, instruction, and technology committee, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Rhonda Decker announced that there were federal dollars from the Title VI class size reduction program to provide an additional kindergarten teacher in the central attendance area.

“If we added one more section, it goes from an average of 24 per section to 21, which is right in line with the other school buildings,” she said.

Later, at the special meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve the new position.

The board also discussed programs that don’t have enough students.

The third- and tenth-day participation numbers for fall sports programs were presented to the personnel, athletics, and co-curricular activities committee.

Several programs are right at or just above the minimum participation number set by the board for those sports.

Only one, Youngsville junior high football, is short of the minimum.

The third-day number was 14 and on day 10 it was 15.

The district’s cut-off for junior high football is 16.

Programs that find themselves on probation have to submit written plans for bringing participation up, District-wide supervisor of athletics Rick Gignac said. Generally, “the AD talks to the coach, see what can be done to increase participation.”

Asked about the options for Youngsville’s junior high football program, Gignac said, “With school starting, we want to give them an opportunity to get a few more kids. I would suggest we wait for the first couple days of school.”

He said that it is typical in junior high football to see one or more students to sign up after the start of the school year.

Any who sign up late will have to go through the required three days of heat-acclimation and five practices before they are eligible to play in games.

The team’s first game is set for Thursday, Sept. 6. Students who join on Wednesday could not be eligible to play in that game. At best, the program would start with 15, “the season will have started, they’ll still be below the numbers… but reserves are potentially coming,” board member Joe Colosimo said.

The board did not take any action regarding any of the athletic programs.

The shortage of players out for football is not unique to Warren County.

“The Today Show ran an article about the decline in football,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said, “down 20 percent and they were asking why.”

“We received a Right to Know from HBO — Bryant Gumble — regarding the same data,” she said.

The district is working on athletics participation and has appointed a committee to discuss the issue.

The leaders of programs on probation often say, “next year, we’ll be better,” Stewart said.

She said the district is considering making adjustments to the probation system.

“We were charged with developing essentially an athletic task force,” Director of Administrative Support Services Gary Weber said. Part of that group’s charge is to consider “how and when we look at possible cooperative agreements and how we possibly increase athletic participation.”

“They’re tough meetings,” he said. “People are very passionate about their schools and their sports.”

But, after four meetings, the group is “making a lot of headway,” Weber said. “We’ve developed a path we want to recommend. We’ve come up with strategic ways that we can increase participation within the schools.”

The group meets again on Thursday, Sept. 6.