Board clarifies policy on sports donations and uniforms
School officials cleared up their policy on accepting donations for sports uniforms and activities at their October 16 meeting.
The issue came up after sports officials at Berkeley Springs High School refused a soccer parent's offer of $500 for new boys' uniforms.
After a meeting of the Athletic Committee, Superintendent David Banks set out the donation policy for school board members and concerned parents.
According to Banks, any donations to athletic programs at county schools can be accepted or rejected at the discretion of the Athletic Director.
Donations are encouraged for any "out of budget" items – things not funded by the school budget. Banks said sports uniforms are fully covered by the school budget, so donations earmarked for uniforms could be applied to future purchases.
Berkeley Springs High School Principal George Ward explained that sports uniforms are purchased in "rotations." Each sport's uniforms get replaced every three or four years so the quality of jerseys and equipment stays equal for each sport and team, Ward said.
Board president Laura Smith asked how the contracts for uniform purchases are handled.
Ward and Banks said the schools put out a request for bid for each year's new uniforms and choose from among three bidders.
Fat Boys of Berkeley Springs has been the chosen provider of many uniforms because of their quality and price, said Banks. He added that there is a distinct advantage to having a local company handle the uniforms, because they can fix problems more quickly.
Board member Margaret Gordon asked that School Treasurer Nancy White review the process of contracts and bids to be sure they are handled correctly.
Soccer parent Debbie Blackwell asked why the offer to purchase the boys' soccer uniforms was rejected by the high school's athletic director.
Principal Ward said the rotation system for buying new uniforms ensures that all sports have equally good equipment and uniforms are consistent. He said it wasn't fair to the fundraisers of the Athletic Boosters, the taxpayers or other athletes to have one team receive more money than another.
Gordon said any such donation should be accepted with appreciation.
Blackwell said the donation was offered to make the soccer team look good, since there aren't enough jerseys and shorts for all the soccer players. Some boys have to wear girls' jerseys in order to play, said Blackwell.
Banks, Ward and other board members were surprised by the news that the soccer team was short of uniforms.
"If we knew there were kids out there who were wearing uniforms that didn't match, we would have fixed it right away," said Banks.
Heat index for sports
In other athletic business, Banks said there are no state rules dictating when sports games or practices should be cancelled because of extreme heat. While no maximum heat index is spelled out, coaches are directed to use their discretion about the schedule and length of practices in hot weather.
Banks said coaches will now be trained on the issues of hydration and playing in extreme heat.