New Castle News

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September 28, 2012

New Castle Schools: Board to decide who gets rings

NEW CASTLE — Who really should receive token rings or other team-winning awards in the New Castle Area School District?

That will likely be determined by the school board as a whole, each time the occasion arises, based on a consensus reached among the board members this week.

The discussion during the board’s work session was prompted by controversy this summer over 45 people receiving trophy rings at the school district’s expense for the boys basketball WPIAL championship win this year.

The board is expected to adopt a policy at its Oct. 10 meeting, which will allow it to decide on a case-by-case basis on who should get the rings or other awards and when and how much should be spent.

The district spent $8,504 on the WPIAL basketball rings, only 17 of which went to players. The other rings went to coaches, junior varsity coaches, the father of a coach and others who had a connection to the basketball program Those included a scouting director, a public address announcer, scorekeepers, a videographer, statisticians and administrators.

The rings were purchased with money from the “umbrella fund,” which comes largely from vending machine profits. A couple of the adults purchased theirs with their own money.

Some board members questioned the cost for the rings and how they were distributed

Board member Barbara Razzano, who is on the policy committee, brought up the suggestion of letting the board approve the expenses each time. If an amount or limit is placed on the cost, “then you’re pretty much bound to that amount,” she said.

In discussing who would receive the awards, member Stacey Fleo suggested that they be approved each time, limiting it to players and coaches.

“Why not just give it to the players and not the coaches?” board member Anna Pascarella said, noting that is how it is done in the Olympics.

Board president Allan Joseph pointed out that the district receives money from the WPIAL for wins, and the recent amount was $15,000.

Razzano countered that the district spends $500,000 each year from its athletic budget.

“That’s a half a million going out,” she said.

Joseph emphasized that more people than the players and coaches should receive the recognition.

“The trainers are an important part of the program,” he  said referring to the basketball and football programs. “To say they are not entitled to a ring  ... “

“Then you can just keep that list going,” responded Dr. Marilyn Berkely, who raised the ring issue initially at a previous board meeting.

“Trainers are a part of the program,” Joseph insisted. “How can you say they can’t get a ring? That’s ridiculous. And how about the little ball boys?”

He believes the boys who retrieve the balls and equipment during the games and practices should receive rings for the wins as well, he said.

“Then you’re going to (have to buy) 100 of them,” Berkely responded.

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