Youth hoops parents blow whistle on NB school board

December 14, 2012

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Parents in New Boston are calling ‘foul’ at the New Boston School Board, whom they say have a large, new gymnasium but no place for the youth basketball league to practice.

The league has never had a place to practice, really, but has always played its games in the gym at Glenwood High School. When the district moved to a new building last month, it sold Glenwood to the South Central Ohio Educational Services Center for $1. The SCOESC has agreed to let the league continue playing its games in the gym on weekends, but the league still has nowhere to practice. Lowell Howard, SCOESC Superintendent, was not available Friday to discuss their agreement with the league.

Meanwhile, the new school has a new, larger gymnasium, which can be divided by a wall of retractable bleachers to allow a high school gym on one side and a smaller, elementary gym on the other. Now parents want to know, “why can’t the kids practice in the new school?”

“Up to this point it has never been a concern before, because there was no place to practice. They hadn’t been practicing previously,” New Boston Superintendent Mike Staggs said.

The New Boston School Board met for its first meeting in the new school building Thursday but did not meet in the new board room. So many people were expected to attend to discuss the youth basketball league, that the meeting was moved to the larger art room to fit everyone. Staggs said actually not as many people showed up as the district thought might.

Staggs explained the problem is just scheduling. With six youth league teams and the high school teams that use the gym for games and practice also — the gym might be bigger, but there’s still only so much space to go around.

“If you go to a school like Wheelersburg, they have three gyms. That makes it pretty nice, and that’s the ideal situation. We have one gym still, or one-and-a-half gyms for six teams that have to practice. So we still end up with kids practicing until nine o’clock at night,” Staggs said. “If we have six teams that have to practice, and they practice for an average of two-hours, and they use a gym-and-a-half, that’s six hours.”

Staggs said the school board was sympathetic to the community’s concerns.

“The school board understands, and the school board wants to see kids be the best they can be. I don’t think there’s anyone that disagrees withe the parents that kids need to practice. I think that’s true,” Staggs said. “It’s something we haven’t been able to do before. Now we may have a chance to do it, so they wanted us to look into it.”

He said the school board has agreed to take their request under advisement, and a board representative will meet with members of the youth league next week to try to work out a deal. The next school board meeting ,he said, is 6 p.m. Jan. 10.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@portsmouth-dailytimes.com.