New Castle News

Closer Look

April 4, 2013

New Castle board gives OK to buy basketball rings

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle High basketball team’s successes this season have generated almost enough funds to buy their celebratory rings.

At a special budget session Tuesday, the school board cast a unanimous straw vote to approve the purchase of 37 championship rings for the players, coaches and others who were instrumental in the team’s efforts this year.

Absent from the meeting were Mark Kirkwood, Mary Ann Tofel and David DiGiammarino, board president.

Last year, the subject of the trophy rings became a matter of heated controversy among the board members.

This year, there was no debate.

The rings are to go to 19 basketball players, head coach Ralph Blundo, 10 other coaches affiliated with the program and the team manager. Rings also will go to two stats keepers, two videographers, a ticket manager and the director of basketball operations.

District business manager Joe Ambrosini distributed a chart to the board members showing the playoffs generated $17,475 from the WPIAL and PIAA shares of admissions plus student payments toward bus tickets.

After playoff costs — totaling $9,395 —were subtracted, total revenue from the playoffs was about $8,080.

The rings will cost $9,472. The revenues from the playoffs will cover most of that and the district would supplement it with about $1,400 from its umbrella fund. That fund, made up of profits from the schools vending machines, currently has $72,116.

While last year’s rings cost $188 each and were silver, this year’s will cost $256 apiece and will be made of yellow lustrium with a silver metal top.

Assistant superintendent Stanley Magusiak said he had received an email from Blundo asking the board to approve the purchase so they can be ordered in time for the recognition banquet.

The members informally agreed. They will vote officially at their regular meeting next week.

“We’ve broken all kinds of records this year, and with the number of tickets we’ve sold in the playoffs, too,” board member Anna Pascarella commented.

“So they’ve more or less earned it,” member Allan Joseph agreed.

He asked the other members “what has changed this year,” that the board is willing to approve the rings without argument.

“The protocol is correct this year,” returned Dr. Marilyn Berkely, referring to how the expense was presented for approval.

After last year’s debate, the board adopted a policy that allows it to decide case by case who gets rings or other awards in the district and how much should be spent.

“The protocol is that it’s an election year,” Joseph responded. That’s where I’m going with this.”

“You’re unbelievable,” Berkely told him.

She explained the ring approval was done correctly this year and the expense was requested before the bill arrived. She said after the meeting that she felt the students had earned the rings and had generated the revenue to pay for most of the cost.

“So in other words, you broke policy this year,” Joseph said, pointing out a decision was made by a few board members not to allow the basketball team to travel by coach bus to the playoff games in Edinboro.

That decision did not go before the school board, he pointed out.

“Why didn’t all the people on the board know about that?” he asked. “Because you didn’t want to give it to them?”

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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