WACO will share summer baseball with Mt. Pleasant
By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — WACO will be sharing summer baseball and softball programs with Mt. Pleasant and Columbus Community School Districts, respectively.
School directors, during their monthly meeting Tuesday night, passed motions to team up with Mt. Pleasant in baseball and Columbus in softball. WACO, in the past, has shared baseball with Winfield-Mt. Union. The school district also sent junior high school softball players last year to Columbus.
Mt. Pleasant’s School Board approved the sharing agreement by a 5-2 vote at its meeting Monday evening. WACO also agreed to Mt. Pleasant’s request to pay one coach’s salary.
MP School Board members Karl Braun and Chuck Andrew opposed the agreement saying they didn’t see how combining teams would benefit Mt. Pleasant players.
“We have a high level of competition,” said Braun. “This isn’t like football or basketball where you can sub (players) in or out.”
Braun and Andrew were concerned that students from Mt. Pleasant may have their playing time cut.
“We will reach out to the kids to get this going (shared baseball and softball programs),” WACO Superintendent Jeff Dicks said.
He also said WACO will be transporting the athletes to practices and arrival times to meet the bus for games. “We will wait and see about the numbers (of athletes participating) before we decide on transportation. I think our goal should be to provide transportation.”
Last year, the WACO High School baseball and softball teams played a high school junior-varsity schedule.
The baseball sharing program involves students who are currently in grades 8-12 while the softball sharing includes girls who are now in grades 7-12. It is not known how many WACO students will play baseball and softball this summer.
The sharing agreement will not bump either Mt. Pleasant or Columbus up a class.
In another athletic topic, the school board approved the purchase of new scoreboards for the varsity gymnasium. Initially, the school was looking at Fair Play scoreboards but soured on the company when it heard that the company did not always provide good service.
WACO Athletic Boosters will fund $4,000 of the $16,296 cost of the Nevco scoreboards. The scoreboards on each end of the gymnasium will be able to be run separately Dicks said, affording the opportunity to have two games occurring at the same time.
“This is something that we are not going to do for a long time,” Dicks told the board. “We want to get something we are happy with.”
Dicks also spoke to the board about the master contract negotiations and collective bargaining process. The Iowa Legislature has not yet approved a school supplemental aid (allowable growth) bill, and currently there is spirited debate in the Legislature over mass changes in collective bargaining.
GOP leaders in the Iowa House and Senate, along with Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, are supporting a bill, which would significantly reduce the collective bargaining rights of public employees (which include teachers). The legislation would prohibit negotiation over health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay among other items. The bill is expected to pass the Legislature and be signed by the governor. However, Democrats in the Legislature are attempting to amend the bill.
The superintendent said the district wants to wait on negotiations until the smoke has cleared from the capitol. “There is no reason to start negotiations until school funding and collective bargaining is settled,” he said. “There have been a few agreements by school districts on the master contract, but settlements have been extremely low, between 2 and 3 percent.”
He said the WACO Education Association approached the district about working toward a three-year contract.
“Our intent is not to harm (people), but treat everyone fairly,” Dicks said. “There is a lot to be hashed out. Hopefully, we can come together and work for the betterment of the district.”
Board members also approved, after a review, board policies on organizational meeting procedures, regular meetings, personnel and purchasing/bidding.
The school board will meet again in regular session Monday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m., in the secondary building’s media center.