Due to budget constraints, the Bass Lake Elementary District was forced to eliminate the competitive sports program at Wasuma Elementary and Oak Creek Intermediate schools this year, but an effort is underway to recruit volunteer coaches to reinstate the program.
The sports program used to involve Friday afternoon girls volleyball, boys flag football, cross country, track and boys and girls soccer and basketball games between Mountain Area elementary schools including Coarsegold, Rivergold, North Fork, Spring Valley and Raymond.
Schools used to play each other on a rotating schedule and would compete in an all-day tournament at the end of the season to declare a champion.
According to Glenn Reid, district superintendent, the sports program is valuable because it teaches the fundamentals of a sport along with teamwork, building school spirit and student involvement in extracurricular activities.
"Sports can also be a motivator to some students who need a little encouragement to complete their homework and demonstrate proper behavior to be able to participate in the program," Reid said.
Reid said he has been approached by several parents from both affected schools who would be willing to volunteer as coaches in order to reinstate the valuable program.
"If we utilized volunteer coaches, we would not have the expense of a stipend, nor would we have the expense of a substitute for the coach's class on game days," Reid said.
The stipend is generally $450 for the year, the cost of a substitute for the afternoon of the game is about $90 plus the cost of transporting the teams to other schools for games. Reid said that a balance between home and away games is always attempted so that no one district has to travel every week.
According to Reid, the cost to the district for the sports program is about $29,000 a year.
Reid said there are some challenges to reviving the program, including all volunteer coaches and drives would need to be fingerprinted at their expense ($55- once for life). Also, students may be transported in private automobiles to and from games provided the volunteer drives meet vehicle insurance requirements and agree to a DMV driver's license check.
"These obstacles can be overcome," Reid said. "With parent and community assistance, we have made changes to how the MASS ski program has been offered and it is as successful as ever. We have made changes, with parent and community assistance, to how we provide music instruction for our students and it is also as successful as ever. We can adapt to this change and still serve our students with this opportunity to participate in a worthwhile sports program."
Interested coaches and potential drivers should contact the district office (559-683-1555) or either OCI (559-642-1570) or Wasuma (559-642-1585).
Bass Lake Unified School District