WACO will make decision in January on summer sports
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — It will be a few months before the crack of the bat can be heard on high school baseball and softball diamonds across Iowa.
WACO, however, is already in spring-training mode as Superintendent Jeff Dicks told school board members at the board’s regular meeting Wednesday evening that he wants the board to make a decision in January regarding whether the school will field high school baseball and softball teams next summer.
It has been two years since the school has played varsity baseball and softball. That’s due largely because of the lack of numbers among upperclassmen wishing to participate in the summer sports.
WACO Athletic Director Chad Edeker recently surveyed high school students and had 10 high school boys and the same number of junior high students expressing an interest in playing baseball. Ten high school girls wanted to play softball, but just four junior-high school girls said they wanted to play.
“I need a recommendation next month,” Dicks told the board. “One of the things we have to decide is how we are going to transport the athletes.”
He said he has had discussions with a few area athletic directors about sharing a program but said he didn’t want to divulge the name of school districts he has talked to.
Dicks said he hoped for a better response regarding summer sports in the future. “We don’t want to be doing this every year.
“Summer is becoming a challenge for high school sports because kids want to work or do other things,” he noted. “Some schools play four nights a week and in tournaments on Saturday and that is too much for some kids.”
Prior to the January board meeting, Edeker will survey parents and also continue “recruiting” prospective players.
Most of the discussion during Wednesday night’s meeting was on items not on the meeting agenda. Dicks said there have been some “interesting conversations” lately on collective bargaining. It has been rumored that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was going to attempt to repeal the practice in the state as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did in his state.
However, it is not known how long Branstad will serve as Iowa governor since he will be the U.S. Ambassador to China sometime after Donald Trump takes office in 2017.
“We would probably still bargain, but they (teachers’ association) may not have as much leverage,” Dicks remarked. “There has been some urgency by unions to do bargaining quickly. I was told by a school attorney that if a multi-year agreement is in place before changes in collective bargaining are completed, that it would not be affected by a change in the law.”
In agenda items, the board, on Dicks’ advice, did not apply for any at-risk/dropout modified supplemental amount from the state. “I found a lot of programs we weren’t following, so we were not spending the money.” Dicks said. “We have to spend down the carryover before we apply for anymore. It’s not a big deal, it (the program) is under control.”
Currently, WACO has a carryover of $76,385 in the at-risk/dropout program and Dicks said the state frowns on large carryover balances in the account.
Directors approved a change in the school calendar. Friday, Feb. 17, was supposed to be a plus-one day and now will be a professional development day. The plus-one day will be moved to Friday, March 31.
Contracts were approved for Gage Gill, varsity girls’ track coach, at a salary of $2,494.80. Gil Martinez’s contract as assistant varsity wrestling coach also was approved. Martinez will be paid $2,100.
WACO School Board members will meet again in regular session Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., in the media center at the junior/senior high school building in Wayland.