The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night gave it's blessing for the DeKalb West School to establish a baseball program for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students on a one year trial basis.
The team will be made up of students from both DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School since there is no baseball team at DMS.
Approval would be required again next year if the program is to continue.
Jeff McMillen, speaking on behalf of a group of interested parents and students at DeKalb West, made the request during the September school board meeting.
McMillen had also sent a letter to Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and to DeKalb West School Principal Danny Parkerson on August 7th.
In the letter, McMillen wrote "The DeKalb West Baseball Team will be made up of students enrolled in DeKalb County grades 6th, 7th, & 8th (including DeKalb Middle students) provided DeKalb Middle does not have a baseball program.
"Students will need to maintain their academic grades as they would if they participated in basketball or cheering at DeKalb West."
"The team would have a head coach that will be a parent volunteer who will be approved by the principal and or director of schools and will attend any training classes that other coaches in the county are required to attend. Any other volunteer coach that will be present on the field or in the dug-out, may also need to be approved (but may not be required to attend any classes)"
"The baseball team would use the existing field at DeKalb West. Games can start as early as 3:30 p.m. so lighting will not be a problem. Transportation to and from practice and games will be provided by parents or guardians."
"DeKalb West parents will form a Booster Club at the discretion of the principal and director of schools for providing funding . There will be no cost to the school system for uniforms, or equipment for startup of the league unless volunteered to do so. Any required monies will be deposited with the school at the schools request such as gate receipts and umpire fees, etc."
Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during Thursday night's meeting, asked McMillen and the three other members of the DeKalb West baseball committee if they would be interested in forming a school support organization for the program, similar to the manner in which booster clubs and PTO's operate, independent of but in cooperation with the school. To be a school support organization, groups must apply for a charter and file and annual financial report with the state and those documents would also have to be on file with the Director of Schools along with the organization's by laws.
The board recessed the meeting to give the committee an opportunity to caucus. When the meeting went back into session, McMillen said the committee felt that the baseball program should be a school activity, instead of a school support organization.
Meanwhile, it appears DeKalb West School will not have it's own Girls Fast Pitch Softball Program. The school board took no action on the proposal.
Board members Johnny Lattimore, Kenny Rhody, and Joan Draper all said they have not received any calls in support of the program, but have had several in opposition.
Lattimore said some of the calls have come from parents of west school students who want their children to play on the DeKalb Middle School girls softball team, which is already well established. "Well, I've had a few phone calls and I've not had the first phone call from anybody in favor of the softball program. In fact, I've had some parents to call that don't want a softball program at the West School because they want their kids to be able to participate in the Middle School program."
Terry Bess Malone, who favors a girls West School team, said it not that the west school students don't feel welcome in the Middle School program, "it's that we thought we had an opportunity to give twice as many girls a chance to play. I've never said we didn't feel welcome."
Robert Don Malone said several kids will miss out on an opportunity to play softball if the West School cannot have a team. "She (Middle School Coach) can only take 12 kids on her team. There will be 12 kids at West School that won't get to play until they get in high school. There will be two or three good enough from the West School to play with her team but the other kids will not get to play at all until they get in high school and then they will be three years behind the others."
In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since September.
Those employed include:
Neal Brown as a substitute bus driver
Dwight Knowles as a substitute bus driver
Elizabeth Parsley as a special education assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Ronda Northcutt, transferred to special education assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Leave of Absence:
Harold Ashford, bus driver, leave as requested
Peggy Sutton, special education assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Ronda Harpole, Library assistant at Northside Elementary School
The board also adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring school custodians.
Chairman Robinson read the resolution which states as follows:
"Whereas, school custodians are responsible for the first impression of a school to all who come through the doors; and
Whereas, school custodians are often the first employees to arrive in the morning and the last employees to leave at night; and
"Whereas, our dedicated schools custodians provide a critical service to the children and teachers on a daily basis by providing a clean, safe, and secure environment for teaching and learning; and
"Whereas, they keep all school system facilities running smoothly to the extent that without their excellent efforts this school system could not easily function; and
Whereas, they help build understanding and public support in the community for the school and school district; and
Whereas, they provide support for school and community use of school facilities outside of school hours including recreational activities; and
Whereas, they frequently go beyond the call of duty to assist students, teachers, and visitors to the school in numerous ways that reflect well on the school and the district; and
Whereas, they exercise the above mentioned responsibilities and functions with pride, skill, care, compassion, humor, and sensitivity.
Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved that the Board expresses deep and heartfelt appreciation for the efforts made by custodial staff each and every school day!
"Be it further Resolved that the DeKalb County School Board declares that October 15th, 2009 be recognized as Custodian Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Public Schools and urges all parents, students, and employees to join in congratulating all custodians for jobs well done and in saying Thank You to them."