Committee on JPS athletics hits standstillThe group tasked with implementing a strategic plan to address concerns with Jamestown athletics is at a standstill and will stop meeting until a solution is found, the Jamestown Public School Board learned at its meeting Monday.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The group tasked with implementing a strategic plan to address concerns with Jamestown athletics is at a standstill and will stop meeting until a solution is found, the Jamestown Public School Board learned at its meeting Monday.
The group of community members on the Athletic Committee has been working on implementing changes from the Strategic Planning Committee, which were made following a report from the Athletic Co-Curricular Activity Committee.
Athletic Committee de facto chairman Dustin Jensen said a problem arose with implementing vertical articulation in all sports.
Vertical articulation would require each high school head coach to serve as head of that program at the middle school and younger youth programs.
“It’s a matter of where the programs reside,” said JPS Superintendent Bob Toso. “The middle school programs sometimes have different philosophies than the high school programs.”
Toso said the district has no right to mandate what Jamestown Parks and Recreation programs teach as far as fundamentals in its youth sports offerings. Different organizations could teach different skill-sets.
But he said the problem has been between high school and middle school coaches and the high school and middle school activity directors.
“We can reach out but we can’t change,” Jensen said. “As much as we talk about it going from top to bottom in the district — it’s really not happening.”
The Athletic Committee is made up of volunteers who aren’t able to implement the changes needed to achieve vertical articulation. JPS administration would need to make those changes in policy, Jensen said.
Essentially the committee stalled while working between two documents — the strategic plan, which calls for vertical articulation, and the district’s current policy, which does not.
“There’s an issue there where it’s a completely different structure,” he said.
Board member Terry Anderson, who worked on this before he was elected, was disappointed something hasn’t been agreed upon.
“All of these people had an opportunity to be part of the planning,” Anderson said. “I’m very dismayed to hear there are people in this group who say vertical articulation is not going to work; vertical articulation can be done.”
Jensen asked the board to champion the cause and work with administration in developing a plan that will fix the problem.
“At this point I would also recommend that our committee is put on hold until that document is done,” he said.
The board agreed to put the committee on hiatus and work out a solution to the problem with administrators.
Jensen, however, did have some positives that have come as a result of the Athletic Committee meetings.
One positive is the creation of a coaches’ council, which puts young and veteran coaches in a position to take leadership.
The other positive was the hiring of an athletic trainer, in which the cost is split with Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
The board later tabled a decision to hire William Nelson as athletic development coach, one proposal called for in the strategic plan.
Nelson was on the agenda to be hired for the winter and spring season separately. Board members wanted to see a year-round position for program consistency, not just the proposed two seasons.
“I strongly feel we need the same person in place to have a consistent program,” said Tanya Ostlie, board member.
Anderson also questioned if Nelson would be up to the task year-round as he already is a teacher and assistant football coach.
In other news the School Board approved a resolution urging Congress to amend the Budget Control Act to avoid cuts in education funding.
“If you read the news you’ll hear about the funding cliff that’s facing Congress in believe in January,” Toso said. “If Congress doesn’t agree to a budget compromise between tax cuts and spending cuts, then there’s automatic cuts in spending that take place, and that would hit our title programs and special education programs very hard.”
He estimates the district could lose about $50,000 in federal Title One funding, which could lead to a decrease in staff for students who need extra attention.
“Sometime between Election Day tomorrow and Jan. 2 they’re going to have to deal with this issue and I hope they deal with it in a positive manner,” Toso said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com