By Sandra Haschemeyer
For the Star-Gazette
A group rallying to raise funds to reinstate extracurricular school activities presented funding proposals to the Beardstown School Board during the board's meeting Wednesday, March 26. Brittney Taylor of the Tiger Nation Booster Club gave a slide presentation showing a three-phase proposal to fund activities cut by the school board in February
Phase One calls for restoring middle school fall sports including boys football, girls basketball, coed cross country and cheerleading with a single coach. Phase One also targets funds for the National Honor Society, Student Council (both middle and high school) and Key Club, choosing these since they are considered important for transcripts of college-bound students, Taylor said. The projected amount needed for Phase One is $13,226.
Phase Two is aimed at bringing back middle school winter sports including boys basketball, girls volleyball and wrestling. This phase also restores funding for high school class sponsors and the yearbook. The total for this phase is $13,442.
Phase Three would include funding for middle school boys and girls track. For the high school, it would provide funds for instrumental/vocal music, Scholastic Bowl, Art Club, Skills USA, Physical Science Club, FCCLA and FFA. The amount projected for this phase is $13,728. The total for all three phases is $40,396.
Taylor also presented a second proposal in which coaches and sponsors are paid reduced stipends with coaches receiving $1,000 and sponsors $858. For sports, it would include coaches for football, girls basketball, cross country, cheerleading, boys basketball, girls volleyball, wrestling, and boys and girls track. For clubs, it would be sponsors for NHS, student council (middle and high school), Key Club, class sponsors (4), yearbook, music (2), art, skills, science, FCCLA, FFA, Elite/variety show, Tiger Classic and drama. The amount needed for this proposal would be $27,018 to bring back these activities.
“Our hope, our prayer,” Taylor said, "is that at our first big benefit, we will raise all this money.” The group is planning a major fundraiser on April 26 at the Round House in Beardstown that will include food, bands, a kids’ corner, bake sale, auctions, and other activities.
The school board scheduled a policy meeting for 7 p.m., Thursday, April 3, to discuss the process for bringing back the eliminated extracurricular activities if funds are raised and to meet with representatives of Tiger Nation.
Board member Aaron Stock said he believed the public should have the opportunity to decide if it wants to increase tax levies to raise more money for the district. Although he is neutral on the issue, Stock said “it’s up to the people in the community (to decide) if they want to step up and pay more taxes or say we pay enough taxes.” That will give the board additional direction, he said. A special meeting was scheduled for 8 p.m., Thursday, April 3, to discuss whether to place a referendum on the ballot to increase the Education Fund tax levy from the current $1.84 rate.
In other business, the board approved charging admission for school sports activities hosted at Community Park. Details will be worked out with the Park District.