Talawanda School Board may cut field hockey to save money

Talawanda School Board may cut field hockey to save money

By Alex Lavine

A handful of parents at the Talawanda School Board meeting April 27 said they opposed a recommendation made by the district’s athletic director to eliminate girl’s field hockey for the 2023-2024 school year.

The recommendation was the newest proposal from the district to cut costs following a failed levy campaign last year. The district has already approved plans to reduce bus service, raise athletic fees to $900 per sport in high school and $350 per sport in middle school, and eliminate gifted services.

“I know that the increased athletic fees will cover some costs,” Athletic Director Jake Richardson said. “But there are other costs below the surface level we are missing.”

The district did not take votes on any additional cuts at the meeting. Richardson said the girls’ field hockey team was selected for possible elimination because it does not have high student participation and has had turnover in staff.

However, board member Rebecca Howard said that lacrosse is more expensive than field hockey, and that the boy’s sport has less student participation.

“For the 2023-2024 school year, we have exceeded our goal for budget cuts,” Howard said.

Parent Emily Greenberg said she was unhappy about proposed cuts and those already approved.

“For some kids here, sports are a way out of Oxford [and to college],” she said. “Cutting gifted services is concerning to parents and kids. Our plan to put kids first has failed so far.”

In other news, Director of Communications Holli Hansel said Talawanda has won a grant to get new security cameras and fences around the football station and security and radio systems for the elementary schools.

Superintendent Edward Theroux said that the district is getting a supply of the overdose treatment drug Narcan to keep in the high school nurse’s office. The nurse will receive training in its use. He said it is unclear who will pay for the training and supply.

The school board meeting concluded with an informational presentation about possible levy options for the future. A fixed rate levy, fixed sum levy, and income taxes were discussed.