December 5, 2009


McGraw board to review athletic program

Staff Reporter

McGRAW — The modified girls’ basketball team will be replaced by intramural basketball this year, as the Board of Education reviews the whole district athletic program.
The board has been discussing what to do about girls’ basketball this fall, after cutting the sport last spring due to low numbers of players but having students and parents ask for it to be reinstated on the modified level.
Superintendent of Schools Maria Fragnoli-Ryan told the board Thursday that she, High School Principal Mark Dimorier and Athletic Director Kathy Rutan agreed that it was too late to schedule games for this season. They recommended, and the board agreed, that intramurals for grades seven through 12, using the gymnasium twice a week, would be a sound alternative.
The intramurals coordinator would be paid a $1,409 stipend, compared to the $4,654 budget for a modified girls’ team. The money comes from a $50,000 “bullet aid” grant Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Ithaca) arranged last year for the district.
Controversy over who was chosen for the boys’ basketball teams, meanwhile, caused the board to decide that it is time to examine athletics as it would examine any academic program.
Board Vice President Barb Closson said the board should try to understand the impact of cutting teams, beyond the financial aspect. She said that with girls trying out for boys’ teams, after their team was cut and after they met state-mandated physical requirements, cutting the sport had ripple effects.
Village resident Jeff Sherwood, who has objected to the board in recent weeks concerning how boys were chosen for basketball teams, told the board he wants guidelines for how coaches make cuts.
Sherwood said an 11th-grader was chosen for the junior varsity, but older boys should be on varsity so they can learn and improve. He said boys should be on the teams more according to their grade.
The varsity roster has a ninth- grader and the JV roster has an eighth-grader. Board President Dave Bordwell and member Matt Tracy said the athletic program should be evaluated for its educational purpose and direction.
In other business, the board’s search for a new school superintendent will involve focus groups meeting next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with consultants from the Rural Schools Association. The focus groups will consist of residents, students, faculty and school staff. Fragnoli-Ryan will retire next summer after 10 years as superintendent.
On the topic of the H1N1 flu pandemic, Fragnoli-Ryan said 65 elementary students and 25 middle or high school students were vaccinated for the flu by the Cortland County Health Department in its recent clinic. Others have been vaccinated by their physicians.
The McGraw district has had two cases of H1N1 flu, according to the students’ parents, she said.


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