C-L approves amendment to football co-op

By Brett Kriebel



Changes in the football co-op agreement between Clarion-Limestone and the status of available ambulances at football games took up a large portion of the dialogue during Clarion-Limestone's recent school board meeting.

Board member Dave Schirmer motioned to table an agenda item regarding approval of an amendment to the junior high football cooperative sponsorship agreement.

Schirmer cited the decision to amend the agreement was being made without having all financial data available to review from this season.

According to the amendment document, the purpose of the amendment is to extend the length of the junior high co-op to align it with the varsity sponsorship agreement and to set payment terms.

The agreement states the original pact between the two districts is to be amended from a per athlete fee to a flate rate of $7,500 per season, starting with the 2019 season. The rate will remain in effect for three years, ending with the 2021 season, at which time the cost is intended to be reviewed.

The term of the agreement was also changed to extend to the 2024 season, which brings it to the same time period as the varsity agreement's term.

Payment of the flat rate will be by the end of the first week of PIAA mandated practices.

The Clarion Area school board approved the amendments to the agreement during its Oct. 8 meeting, but Schirmer's motion to table the item garnered discussion on the logistics of the changing co-op.

Board member Mike Meals noted the C-L board had already discussed the potential amendment during its August meeting. Other board members agreed discussions had taken place.

The motion to table the item was defeated by a 5-3 vote. Board members Jamie Mahle, Roger Powell and Dave Schirmer voted for the tabling, with vice president Terry Leadbetter abstaining as he did not attend the August session.

Meals explained that through the amendment, the junior high costs would total $7,500 because of its conversion into a flat rate.

In conjunction with the flat rate varsity and junior varsity already implement at approximately $22,500 per season, total program costs would be $30,000.

"According to the numbers we had (at the August meeting), we're getting a deal on that," said district superintendent Amy Glasl.

Glasl pointed out that changing to a flat rate this season would save the district roughly $2,000.

"Last year we paid $6,400 per player I think," Meals said. "Last year we would have lost. This year, we're ahead. They're both in the ballpark. It seems to be a fair number. There's a recalibration period after three years for either school. In three years if we only have two kids, that's pretty steep to pay per athlete, so it allows the chance to see the numbers and if it's still a fair deal."

Powell questioned whether the district was locked in to the co-op agreement for a period of several years, or if the agreement was able to reviewed following each year as he understood it.

Board president Molly Greenawalt acknowledged the deal is to be reviewed every year, prompting Powell to ask if the district could opt out of the co-op at any time.

"Your board's going to sit there and vote, that'll be you Roger," answered Meals.

"That's my point," Powell said. "We have another board coming in two months and the people that I've been talking to that are coming, they're not for the co-op."

"Hey, you guys can decide it," said Meals."

"That's right, we're going to," answered Powell. "Because I'm going to be here and so is Dave (Schirmer)."

Powell voted against approval of the co-op with C-L in January.

The board terms of all but Kathy Henry, Powell, Schirmer and Gary Sproul are set to end this year.

C-L legal counsel Peter J. Halesey explained the agreement could indeed be reviewed after each year.

The amendment to the agreement passed by a 7-2 vote, with Powell and Mahle voting against.