School board lifts controversial ban on middle school sports travel

first_imgCommunity | Juneau | Juneau Schools | SportsSchool board lifts controversial ban on middle school sports travelApril 12, 2017 by Quinton Chandler, KTOO Share:The Juneau School Board on Tuesday decided to reverse a 2013 decision forbidding middle school athletes to travel to sporting events outside Juneau.Dan DeBartolo is one of the six board members who voted to lift the ban. He didn’t like that sports travel was singled out.Emil Mackey, left, Sean O’Brien, middle, and Dan DeBartolo, right, all voted in favor of lifting the ban on middle school sports travel at the school board meeting in the Thunder Mountain High School library on Tuesday night. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)“It could be one thing to say, ‘You know, we’re not going to allow middle school travel for music and arts and activities,’” DeBartolo said. “But to have such a fine line for this one particular thing seemed to me inappropriate.”Andi Story was the only board member who voted against the reversal. Story and Sean O’Brien are the only current board members who also served on the 2013 board that voted to put the original ban in place.Story said there are still unanswered questions that she wants resolved. She wants to know how often students will travel and how students who don’t travel will be affected when their teacher leaves class to go on trips. She’s also worried that if travel is restored, not every student will have the same opportunity to go.Andi Story (right) was the only school board member to vote against lifting the middle school sports travel ban on Tuesday night. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)“Our policy says the activities athletic travel should be for as many students as possible at the least amount of resources as possible,” Story argued. “So, how do we have a plan to making sure when you’re 11, 12, 13, that, if we’re going to allow travel, that a wide variety of students are doing that and not just the same students doing it for the next three years and then four years in high school?”The board’s vote Tuesday night does not guarantee middle school students will get to travel for sports. It means the board has effectively given the district administration the authority to decide.“It is true,” DeBartolo said. “If we’re in a situation where funding or academic considerations would have to limit or prevent travel for a short period of time, we’re going to rely on the administration to look at that, but it’s no longer going to be, what I call this iron gate, this barrier that just said, ‘We’re going to ban it completely.’ And I think that with responsible regulations, you’ll find that some travel will happen. It might not be a lot, but I think some will.”Andi Story said sports travel will cost more money and the board hasn’t changed the budget to allow for an increase, so she believes they are giving Superintendent Mark Miller and other district staff an unfunded mandate.Two members of the public testified in favor of lifting the ban Tuesday. No one testified against the change.Share this story:last_img read more

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