Montgomery School Board hears sports program proposal

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Last week, parents had their chance to discuss the city's plan to hand Junior High School sports over to the school board.

Tuesday, MPS board members listened in as the city tried to pitch the proposal.

"The offer, through a memorandum of understanding is being made, that the City of Montgomery shall fund for at least two years," explained Jeff Downes, the Mayor's Executive Assistant.

Even an offer to ease the financial burden was in vain.  The board weighed fiscal responsibility with reality.

"We're operating in the red, so to speak, anyway.  You say you're going to assist us. You can't assist us when you don't have any money," said board member Mary Briers.

"If you're having a problem financially with this thing, and you give it to us, the financial problem isn't going to disappear, is it?," asked board member Robert Porterfield.

City workers maintain the long-standing system is flawed.

"Anybody that coaches has to work under a direct supervision of the principal and be a certified teacher," explained Wiley Steen of the City's Department of Parks and Recreation.

However, with a shaky financial future at best, some board members are worried tough times ahead may mean making the hard choice.

"If we're going to have to put some money somewhere, I'd rather put it in something that would make our education system better," Briers said.

City staffers agree to disagree, citing the importance of athletics to the education of a child.

"You have an incentive to make your grades to stay eligible because you want to play sports. That's an incentive to make better grades," Steen said.

The board heard the proposal on an informational basis only.   No word yet on when the measure will come to a vote.

©2009 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.