Friday, January 15, 2016

Board looks to help teams with travel cost

by Matt Hughes

Parents and coaches of Webster County student athletes may soon be getting some relief on their fund raising efforts, thanks to a measure that was discussed at Monday night’s school board meeting.

For the first time in years, the board is looking at covering at least part of the expense of bussing athletic teams to their various competitions.

“Many years ago the board did not give an allocation for transportation,” said Webster County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rachel Yarbrough. who presented the new transportation plan to the board. “(Athletic Director) Matt Bell has worked diligently to answer a request from Tim (McCormick) and the board to do so.”

McCormick has been an outspoken proponent of such a measure for some time, but this is the first time a proposal has been brought before the board.

“I appreciate you putting something on the table,” said McCormick. “We have to start somewhere, and this is a good start.”

The new allocation would not cover team transportation costs in full, but it would give money-strapped athletics boosters a big break. It would also reduce the number of students being transported to away games by personal vehicles.

Allocated amounts vary from $750 to $1,500 per season and are based largely on the expected transportation cost for the current semester and the fall 2016 semester. In some cases the amount will exceed the team’s need, while in others it will still come up short.

These allocations were based on a cost of $0.75 per mile and a maximum driver rate of $12.89 per hour. It will be up to the team to determine if the transportation will be round trip or if the driver drops them off and returns home. Allocated amounts have a limit of 75 miles and do not include postseason or overnight travel costs.

The total projected allocation for the spring and fall semesters is $15,500. The board is expected to hear a finalized version of the proposal at its meeting on Monday, January 25, at 5:30 p.m.

In other business, superintendent Yarbrough told the board that Sebree Elementary was going to be awarded a new part-time, long-term substitute. The number of students enrolled in the school is on the rise, but it has not yet reached the point that a full time teacher is justified.

“We are watching as the new apartments in Sebree are built and come alive,” Yarbrough reported, stating that if those buildings resulted in a sudden enrollment rise she would be prepared to respond.

The rest of the meeting was dominated by discussion of the comprehensive improvement plans of the various schools in the district.

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