A group of parents and students made an impassioned plea recently to the Big Horn County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees to allow a combination agreement with Lovell High School that would permit a relatively small group of four boys from Rocky Mountain High School to play golf on the LHS golf team.
Despite their pleas, the board of trustees voted against the idea at their regularly held board meeting on Aug. 10 at the district offices.
The district currently has similar agreements with both Lovell and Powell for activities like swimming, indoor track, soccer and speech and debate. A combination agreement allows the students to participate on the team of the neighboring school in cases where there aren’t enough students to make up a team at their own school.
Though initially allowing the four boys (Ethan Price, Lathan May, Colby Davison and Brenen Hinckley) to practice with the Lovell golf team, Supt. Shon Hocker and RMMHS Principal Tim Winland expressed that they were against the idea of entering into the combination agreement with the LHS golf team.
Winland explained that with only 67 boys enrolled at RMMHS this year, he didn’t feel there were enough students to support three fall sports–football, cross country and a boys golf team and expressed his concern that spreading the population of students thin with so many choices could over time destroy the football program. Football coach Richard Despain was present at the meeting and agreed with Winland’s comments, though he added that he didn’t necessarily expect the boys to play football if they weren’t allowed to play golf.
Hocker commented that he also felt offering too many options could hurt the development of existing teams. He expressed concerns about possible Title IX violations, since girls were not being offered a similar opportunity.
Parents attending expressed their concern that the decision limited choices. One parent expressed concern about the safety issues connected with football, in particular head injuries associated with the sport that she had heard about in national news reports. Several argued that offering more choices benefited individual students.
Since the decision, three of the boys have elected to participate on the football team and one is now attending Lovell High School.
The trustees met in executive session to discuss personnel matters and matters regarding the purchase of a property.
Following the session, the trustees authorized Hocker to make an offer to purchase a property discussed in executive session but did not disclose the location or any other details about the property.
The trustees also approved a number out of district applications and the adoption/revisions to policy file EF Food Services Management on its second and final reading. A copy of the policy is available on the district’s website.
Trustee Tricia Aagard was named as the Wyoming School Board Association delegate for 2017, with chairwoman Koleen Sponsel named as an alternate should Aagard be unable to attend WSBA activities.
The board accepted the resignation of Amanda Foley, a special education paraprofessional at Burlington Schools, and approved the employment of Marianne Olsen for the position of secretary at Burlington Schools, Kandace Jolley as assistant cook at Rocky Mountain Elementary School, Sarah Collins for the position of paraprofessional at Rocky Mountain Middle School and Margaret Davidson as special education paraprofessional at Burlington Schools.
By Patti Carpenter