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Carthage sports events still free to public

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WEST CARTHAGE — A question on Monday night about reinstating ticket takers at Carthage High School events became a debate about charging at any event.

Carthage Teachers Association President Patricia A. Sheehan said at Carthage Central School District’s Board of Education meeting at the high school that she doesn’t think it is fair to charge admission to plays and musicals but not to sporting events.

“I think what we have is a double standard,” she said.

For more than a year, the district decided not to charge admission to football and basketball games to save money in its budget. As part of contract negotiations, ticket takers must be teachers union members. Previously, they were paid $71 to take tickets at an event. New negotiations reduced the pay to $40, to be split between the Booster Club and the school district.

Assistant Superintendent Andrea K. Miller asked the board whether to reinstate admission for bigger events.

“We’re talking about football, basketball, homecoming,” she said.

The board agreed that students should not be charged.

“I just want to play devil’s advocate,” board President Barbara A. Lofink said. The parents “were happy when they did away with ticket takers. They want to watch their kids play, and they say they’re funding the school in other ways, such as taxes.”

Board members Tod Nash and Kent D. Burto asked whether there could be a donation jar instead of charging admission.

However, Ms. Sheehan found fault with charging for any school event if sports events were going to be free for the community.

Mrs. Lofink said there is no admission charge for concerts, but musicals and plays are “specifically there to make money.”

“The athletic program is a moneymaker for the Booster Club,” Ms. Sheehan said. “What’s the difference?”

Board member Mary Louise Hunt said she sees the two types of events completely separately.

Plays are “like community events,” she said. “The football games will only attract certain people. This way, we are recouping costs for the programs. In sports, the salaries for the coaches are already set.”

She said the sets, costumes and rights to the play all cost the district money. She also requested the Booster Club come to the next meeting.

Ms. Miller said that volunteers, not Teachers Association ticket takers, collect admission for art department events.

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