Saturday, August 8, 2020

Re1J school district adds two sports to its roster

CB boys lacrosse, Gunnison boys soccer coming 2020-2021

By Kendra Walker

Gather up your cleats. The Gunnison Watershed School District has announced its commitment to add two probationary sports for the 2020-2021 school year, with boys lacrosse at Crested Butte High School (CBHS) and boys soccer at Gunnison High School (GHS).

The GHS boys soccer program will start the fall of 2020, and CBHS boys lacrosse will start in the spring of 2021.

According to district superintendent Dr. Leslie Nichols, factors that contributed to the decision to add to the athletic program included budget, the need and interest from student athletes, startup costs and financial sustainability, adequate facilities and impacts on existing sports, Title IX equity implications and human resources capacity to manage the programs.

“Expanding opportunities for our students in this way is a well-placed priority,” she said in a press release distributed December 20. “Athletics are a critical engagement and social/emotional support tool for high school students, as well as a great way to gather our community in support of positive youth development.”

The probationary period will last for four years for both sports, with annual reviews to determine if each sport continues and can be supported by the district. The district anticipates minimal impact on existing sports.

Title IX does not require the same number of sports for each gender, but does require that programming is approximately the same percent of participation for each gender. Female students will have the option of playing for the CBHS boys lacrosse program, while female GHS students will continue to have the option of playing for the CBHS girls soccer program.

Agreements between the school district and each sport’s advocacy committee are under review, and each committee will need to commit to fundraising for the program costs, including all startup and annual costs, uniforms, equipment, transportation and lodging costs for the four probationary years. According to the release, the first year of lacrosse startup costs a total of $7,000, and first year of soccer startup costs are $4,000. Ongoing annual costs to be covered by the committees for each sport are about $4,300.

The district will pay for Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and league fees, coaches’ wages, medical and training supplies and funds towards a five-year uniform replacement cycle. In addition, the district will also pay any outside facility use fees, as these sports will require the use of facilities in Crested Butte, Crested Butte South, Gunnison and  at Western Colorado University.

As stated in the release, impact to the district’s 2020-2021 general fund will be about $16,500 total for both sports. District revenue will include $125 player participation fees as well as facility use fees, which are $50 per player for lacrosse and $30 per player for soccer.

“The decision to add these sports comes very early in our 2020-2021 budget cycle, but the timing is necessary to meet scheduling demands of our leagues,” said Nichols.

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