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School to include competitive cheerleading

Carrie Moore
Published: Thursday, June 20th, 2013

By Carrie Moore
At the end of the June 10 Custer School District Board of Education meeting, the board approved the competitive cheer proposal, allowing students to participate in competitive competitions against local schools. 
The addition of this female sport would not only address Title IX sport equality percentages within the district (which sideline cheer did not), but more opportunities will be given to participants. Many colleges offer scholarships for cheerleading athletes and this form of cheerleading will allow more stunting and competition experience in order for girls to qualify for scholarships. The current cheerleading coaching staff is already certified for competitive cheer and they already have a suitable facility for training. 
The season runs during football and basketball seasons. Cheerleaders may not be able to attend some away meets in order to attend their own competitions. Since there is no spring flooring in the district, Custer will not be able to host a competition.
The estimated budget for competitive cheerleading is around $1,390.08, with participation at the Belle Fourche, Spearfish, Douglas, Sturgis and Rapid City invitationals, as well as the state tournament, which would include a hotel stay. The estimated expense during football and basketball seasons is $1,518.42.
Before the board voted to keep both Spring Creek and Fairburn schools closed, the idea of bussing was brought up and briefly discussed. 
“We’ve not fully discussed if these schools are closed, if they can have systems with bussing,” said board member Brian Lintz said. “I think we need to come to a consensus about that. They’re already looking at this as an expense, not a savings. I don’t think we’ve done a job worthy enough to show them an opportunity. We’ve shown them plenty of costs, not opportunities.”
“A lot of times we don’t know our funding options until the legislative session begins,” said board member Anne Sandvig. “But I do think we need to have this discussion.”
“It’s a hard pill for me to swallow to say we need to wait for the legislature,” Lintz said. “It’s a moot point. We don’t have to wait for them; we pay it all here. Our tax base covers it.”
Bussing is available from Hermosa to Custer, but not from the surrounding areas.
“I want to have something for the town, whether that’s a school or some other opportunity,” Lintz said. “We need to come up with something.”
“We never said we weren’t going to entertain bussing options,” board president Tim Wicks said.
“But what are our true savings?” Lintz asked. “Does it take it from a reasonable savings to a miniscule saving? Is it worth taking the kids out of the community?”
“The biggest concern I have is that gravel road,” said Mel Whitney, rural school parent. “If we have a real South Dakota winter, you’re asking me to either drive my child through snow or trust my child on a bus through snow and nasty roads? It’s not going to happen. There were times when teachers couldn’t even make it to the school.”
Whitney and other rural school parents didn’t see the appeal of bussing since it would cost the district additional money, which could have been put into the two schools. Road conditions were also a huge factor.
“What happens when our children miss so many days they are beyond the days they can miss?” Whitney asked. “There are times when Hermosa doesn’t close, but our kids can’t make it. It’s not safe. I’m not going to put my child in a car and drive off the road. School is not more important than my child’s life. That’s going to come first. That’s my priority.”
Also during the meeting:
• The board approved contingency transfers for the 2012-13 school year and adopted the supplemental budget for the 2012-13 school year. The board also approved the transfer of $250,000 from the Impact Aid fund to the general fund to balance this year’s budget. They also acknowledged the five-year capital appropriations plan which showed all scheduled debt payments through fiscal year (FY) 17, as well as budgeted revenues and expenditures for FY13 and FY14. They also adopted the 2013-14 budget resolution (which had no changes since the May budget hearing) and the tax levies.
• The board adopted and renewed the Associated School Board of South Dakota’s (ASBSD) workman’s compensation insurance and property/liability insurance and approved the lunchtime program with Lunchtime Solutions as well as breakfast/lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year. 
• Supt. Scott Lepke updated the board on the $25,000 grant the district received from Homeland Security in order to install electric keypads, which would require visitors at the elementary and junior-senior schools in Custer and the Hermosa School to be buzzed in by office staff. The district will have to provide additional funding for the keypads, which will come from the sale of the old administration building.
The next Custer School District Board of Education meeting will be Monday, July 8, at the administration building in Custer.

At the end of the June 10 Custer School District Board of Education meeting, the board approved the competitive cheer proposal, allowing students to participate in competitive competitions against local schools. 

The addition of this female sport would not only address Title IX sport equality percentages within the district (which sideline cheer did not), but more opportunities will be given to participants. Many colleges offer scholarships for cheerleading athletes and this form of cheerleading will allow more stunting and competition experience in order for girls to qualify for scholarships. The current cheerleading coaching staff is already certified for competitive cheer and they already have a suitable facility for training. 

The season runs during football and basketball seasons. Cheerleaders may not be able to attend some away meets in order to attend their own competitions. Since there is no spring flooring in the district, Custer will not be able to host a competition.

The estimated budget for competitive cheerleading is around $1,390.08, with participation at the Belle Fourche, Spearfish, Douglas, Sturgis and Rapid City invitationals, as well as the state tournament, which would include a hotel stay. The estimated expense during football and basketball seasons is $1,518.42.

Before the board voted to keep both Spring Creek and Fairburn schools closed, the idea of bussing was brought up and briefly discussed. 

“We’ve not fully discussed if these schools are closed, if they can have systems with bussing,” said board member Brian Lintz said. “I think we need to come to a consensus about that. They’re already looking at this as an expense, not a savings. I don’t think we’ve done a job worthy enough to show them an opportunity. We’ve shown them plenty of costs, not opportunities.”

“A lot of times we don’t know our funding options until the legislative session begins,” said board member Anne Sandvig. “But I do think we need to have this discussion.”

“It’s a hard pill for me to swallow to say we need to wait for the legislature,” Lintz said. “It’s a moot point. We don’t have to wait for them; we pay it all here. Our tax base covers it.”

Bussing is available from Hermosa to Custer, but not from the surrounding areas.

“I want to have something for the town, whether that’s a school or some other opportunity,” Lintz said. “We need to come up with something.”

“We never said we weren’t going to entertain bussing options,” board president Tim Wicks said.

“But what are our true savings?” Lintz asked. “Does it take it from a reasonable savings to a miniscule saving? Is it worth taking the kids out of the community?”

“The biggest concern I have is that gravel road,” said Mel Whitney, rural school parent. “If we have a real South Dakota winter, you’re asking me to either drive my child through snow or trust my child on a bus through snow and nasty roads? It’s not going to happen. There were times when teachers couldn’t even make it to the school.”

Whitney and other rural school parents didn’t see the appeal of bussing since it would cost the district additional money, which could have been put into the two schools. Road conditions were also a huge factor.

“What happens when our children miss so many days they are beyond the days they can miss?” Whitney asked. “There are times when Hermosa doesn’t close, but our kids can’t make it. It’s not safe. I’m not going to put my child in a car and drive off the road. School is not more important than my child’s life. That’s going to come first. That’s my priority.”

Also during the meeting:

• The board approved contingency transfers for the 2012-13 school year and adopted the supplemental budget for the 2012-13 school year. The board also approved the transfer of $250,000 from the Impact Aid fund to the general fund to balance this year’s budget. They also acknowledged the five-year capital appropriations plan which showed all scheduled debt payments through fiscal year (FY) 17, as well as budgeted revenues and expenditures for FY13 and FY14. They also adopted the 2013-14 budget resolution (which had no changes since the May budget hearing) and the tax levies.

• The board adopted and renewed the Associated School Board of South Dakota’s (ASBSD) workman’s compensation insurance and property/liability insurance and approved the lunchtime program with Lunchtime Solutions as well as breakfast/lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year. 

• Supt. Scott Lepke updated the board on the $25,000 grant the district received from Homeland Security in order to install electric keypads, which would require visitors at the elementary and junior-senior schools in Custer and the Hermosa School to be buzzed in by office staff. The district will have to provide additional funding for the keypads, which will come from the sale of the old administration building.

The next Custer School District Board of Education meeting will be Monday, July 8, at the administration building in Custer.



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