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July 2, 2008 - 2:00pm

The youth football debate gets strange... and confusing

posted by Philip Anselmo in Daily News, school board, youth football.

OK, so this little blurb about Daily News reporter Joanne Beck's article on yesterday's school board meeting was supposed to be just that: a little blurb. But fool that I am, I let myself get pulled into the article, pulled into the futile quest for comprehension. Is it too much to ask that I want to walk away from the occasional news article feeling like I understand a little more about something, instead of becoming more confused and understanding less?

I'm not yet putting the blame on Joanne Beck here. Not this time, anyway. Sometimes the events themselves are baffling and the reporter gets caught up in the senselessness. Of course, this is part of the challenge of being a reporter who must face committees and boards and councils, because bureaucracy really can't help but breed senselesseness. It's your job, reporters, not to pass that confusion on to your readers. Otherwise, what are you there for? To warrant picking up a paycheck, I guess.

So, somehow the city school board's reorganization meeting yesterday turned into a debate on the youth football program — check out our earlier posts for more on the history.

Beck writes:

City school Board President Pat Burk is willing to consider allowing Youth Football to play on a piece of school property. The president had put a request on Tuesday's agenda for the Building and Grounds staff to review North Street extension as a possible site for the football group.

Then everything changes. Dan Jones stands up and berates the school board for not letting the program play at Van Detta Stadium. The way Beck writes it, Burk was flabbergasted — it "came out of the blue" he told her — and had no idea why Jones "brought up the issue."

"It's unreal to me to say there would be more damage done by Youth Football at Van Detta than by the Batavia Blue Devils," Jones said. "I want to express my disappointment with the board."

So... does everyone follow? Dan Jones comes out of nowhere to yell at the school board who sheepishly has no idea what's going on and seems a little offended that their honor would be called into question. Am I reading too much into this? I don't think so.

From there, after making Jones sound a little crazy for "reprimanding" the board, Beck takes up his argument that city taxpayers will pay for youth football twice if the city relocates the program from Dwyer to a city park.

What!? Where does that come from? What does that have to do with the school board? And how would people pay twice for it? Where is the connection?

[Jones] is concerned that city taxpayers will have to pay twice for Youth Football to play. That would happen if City Council approves funding — a move it has been considering — to move the sports group to another city park. City taxpayers already pay school taxes and therefore would be paying again, Jones said.

That's the only answer we get: "That would happen if..." But why does Council's approval of funding mean the taxpayers pay twice? What's the connection with school taxes?

Taxpayers could get some relief if the school district would allow Youth Football to play games at a school-funded field.

I just don't understand this. I don't understand why Beck inserts it in the article. I don't understand why Jones says it — maybe he can explain it a little more clearly and in detail for us on here.

Howard B. Owens
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Maybe it's time for a bake sale? Are the taxpayers already paying for youth football at Dwyer? I thought the taxpayers paid for baseball at Dwyer, and that by moving football out of Dwyer, it would mean no extra taxpayer money would be required to support youth football at that facility? Certainly, it's going to cost somebody something to have them play either on school grounds or in a public park, but is it really paying twice if they're not playing at Dwyer? Or am I misunderstanding something?
Daniel Jones
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Well Phil, the reason why I brought it up is because the School District, to their credit, is doing well with managing revenue, since the school district has a large reserve fund and maintenance budget, they won't have to increase their maintenance budget by large sums because youth football is playing there, that seemed to be their issue with Youth Football, spending more money, which I find ridiculous, 60 pound kids wouldn't require you to spend that much more money on field maintenance. The City would have to drop an additional 10 thousand dollars, at the least, to set up a new field. It would have cost taxpayers less to have both football programs play at Vandetta, now its costing them more to have it played at two different facilities.
Loren Penman
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Wow, I wish we could generate this kind of passion/attention/need to understand for INSTRUCTIONAL issues that face our schools and community...!
Daniel Jones
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I agree, it seems that the School District, which has nearly twice the budget that the city does doesn't seem to be concerned with the families that are hurting due to a sluggish economy, nor do they seem to want to assist youth sports program that are helping the community. I think that the school district needs to look for ways to be part of the community, after all, people in the community sacrifice to make it great. I also believe that the teacher unions have so much influence and power in the district that they hurt the taxpayers and the students, forcing the district to spend on teacher luxury items instead of focusing on whats best for the students. Getting rid of paper was for show, I don't believe that the district has tackled any serious issues with teacher to student attention issues, administrative involvement or auditing teaching capabilities. I was on the board for a year, I saw these issues fly right before the board with no avail. They would rather focus on small pilot programs . Its time for a change. I also don't think that public officials should hide behind vocabulary such as an "official request", the informal request got the answer that was the rational for the youth football program not being able to play at Vandetta, it all was enough for me to say something.
Mark Potwora
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Just wondering how much money is spent to repair John Kenndy after soccer is played over there...who pays to repair that damage..and to ever said that the school district is managing revenue well then i would think they would be needing less of my tax dollars...school population is declining,and were building on to some of these schools..good management..
Daniel Jones
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Mark it looks like we actually agree on the priority allocation of funds.

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