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Brushton-Moira will keep JV team on the court

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BRUSHTON — Junior varsity basketball at Brushton-Moira Central School District is safe –– for now.

The district’s Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of an agreement to save the program that was reached with the Brushton-Moira teachers’ union during a special meeting Thursday night. The decision was met by a round of applause from the 45 to 50 people present, which appeared to be mostly concerned parents and students.

The board went into a half-hour executive session before the decision was announced, members citing personnel as the reason.

Board President Marcie Bright made the announcement after the board went into regular session.

“A tentative agreement was reached between the board and teachers’ union to fund JV basketball,” she said.

A third of the JV coaching staff’s salaries will come from the donations of two coaches –– Randy Todd, boys’ varsity basketball coach, and Roland Moquin, girls’ modified basketball coach –– who said they would donate some or all of their coaching salaries for the cause. Another third will come from the district’s athletic’s budget. The remaining will come in the form of a reduction in the salaries of the coaching staff through an agreement with the teachers’ union.

The decision is contingent upon a memorandum of understanding from the teachers’ union, according to Ms. Bright. The board also approved creating the two coaching positions, which Ms. Bright said are at 66 percent of the original cost set up in the contract.

The board agreed to have the two positions posted internally as well as externally. Ms. Bright said the board will reconvene in five days to appoint the new coaches.

Board members noted that the agreement is only for the current school year. Next year’s JV basketball depends on the school’s budget for that year. The failure to commit to the program long-term worried at least one member of the audience.

“It’s just that it seems like the sports are the first things to be cut and it affects these kids,” said Andy Aubrey, a concerned parent.

The board noted that it took around two hours to come to a compromise with the teachers’ union.

Paul Jadlos, BMC teachers’ union co-president, thanked Ms. Bright, Superintendent Donna Andre and board Vice President Chad Dufrane for the work they did to help come to a compromise.

“We are all very much for what’s best for our students,”Mr. Jadlos said. “It’s not always easy to get there, but we appreciate your efforts and the entire board’s efforts for coming back and finding a way with us.”

The board also issued an apology to Norwood-Norfolk Central School District for comments made by a member of the Brushton-Moira School District during Tuesday’s board of education meeting regarding the school district’s athletic programs.

——-

Here’s a portion of the story that reporter Olivia Pepe filed after Tuesday night’s school board meeting at Brushton-Moira.

To save the JV basketball program, board of education members two years ago signed a waiver with the American Federation of Teachers Brushton-Moira Teacher’s Association to allow for certified volunteers to work as coaches.

Now, the union is saying that it doesn’t want volunteers in the program, according to Athletic Director Adam Britton.

Seventh-grade physics teacher Randy Todd currently coaches the boys’ varsity basketball team.

He told board members if it came to that point he would surrender his pay of $3,426 for a boys JV basketball coach.

“I don’t do it for the money,” Mr. Todd said.

Roland Moquin, the girl’s modified basketball coach, also said he would donate half his salary for a girls JV basketball coach.

Board vice president Chad Dufrane said board members will continue to work on an agreement with the union to allow for the JV program to continue to take place with the current volunteers.

No representatives from the union attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Dufrane said board members are expecting to have an answer and special board meeting on Thursday.

Normally, the levels would be as follows: seventh through eighth-grade modified, 9th and 10th-grade junior varsity and 11th and 12th-grade varsity, according to Mr. Britton.

Mr. Britton noted that if there was no JV program modified basketball would consist of grades seven through nine and varsity would consist of grades 10 through 12.

Currently there are 22 girls and 30 boys participating in the modified program. There are 13 girls and 20 boys trying out for the varsity squads, according to Britton.

However, eight of those players will have to get cut, when they normally could have had a spot on a junior varsity team, according to Mr. Britton.

He said the JV level was a good stepping stone for players.

He also noted that without the program, the other levels of play, such as modified, could easily be affected.

“We want to provide kids playing time,” Mr. Britton said, noting that the worst case scenario is having 30 boys on the modified team.

According to his calculations, Mr. Britton said players wouldn’t have an adequate amount of playing time on the court.

He said that the school doesn’t cut at the modified level and gives every player equal playing time.

“If there is no JV, there is no reason to have a varsity,” Mr. Todd said. “Kids lose too much.”

Todd noted that Norwood-Norfolk Central School District also cut its JV basketball team about four or five years ago.

Todd noted that there are 25 students on the varsity team because the school didn’t want to cut any students.

“Norwood is not competitive [because of the elimination of the JV program],” Todd said. “They’re a laughing stock.”

Todd also argued that sports can benefit students in the long run.

“It teaches them the right way to win and lose,” he said, adding that being part of a sport allows for children to have a support system that they may not normally have at home.

Mr. Moquin added that sports can provide students team-player skills in the workforce.

He also noted sports can help increase academic grades and reduce drug use.

“We can keep them on the straight and narrow,” Mr. Moquin said.

Craig Rowe, the father of Madison Rowe, a ninth-grader who would be on JV but was asked to move up to varsity, said eliminating the JV team affects the varsity team.

“They’re going to have a lot more players,” Craig Rowe said.

Madison Rowe said students will be cut and those that don’t make it onto varsity, who would normally make it onto JV, would miss out on a whole year of basketball.

Craig Rowe said his daughter is also worried about her younger friends who aren’t as talented.

Tenth-grader Alexis Snyder compared going from modified to varsity to making a huge jump in academics.

“That would be like cutting out algebra and throwing me into geometry,” she said. “I’d be a laughing stock. It’s fundamental.”

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