BoE gives nod for MHS competitive trap shooting team
If all goes as planned, Merrill High School will have a competitive trap shooting team as soon as this coming spring.
During its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday evening, the MAPS Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the team. The board then voted 8-1 on an amendment to furnish $2,500 in startup funds and match fundraising efforts by the team up to an additional $2,500; totaling $5,000 in district funding.
According to a Power Point presentation given by Brigid Reimann and Chris Lucas, cost to the district in fielding the team would be approximately $6,500 per season, $4,500 of which would be divided among the head coach, co-head coach and 2-3 assistant coaches. The remaining $2,000 is the estimated transportation costs to various shoots and tournaments. Reimann is an Agriculture teacher at MHS and the team’s prospective head coach, while Lucas is the head coach of Langlade County’s trap shooting team, nicknamed the Falcons.
The Langlade County team is comprised of four school districts; Elcho, White Lake, Antigo and Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
Lucas and Reimann indicated team participants would be responsible for furnishing their own firearm and ammunition. However, if a participant is unable to purchase a firearm, arrangements could be made to acquire one. Participants would be asked to pay an annual fee of $50, the fee would include: $15 Lincoln County Gun Club fee, $25 Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) registration fee and a $10 clay targets fee.
Insurance coverage would be provided by the Gun Club, SCTP and Pheasents Forever Inc., for both coaches and participants.
As Lucas described, a conference already exists for the team to compete in. The conference is currently made up of 10 northern Wisconsin schools including local teams Stevens Point, Wausau, Tomahawk, Northland Pines (Eagle River) and Langlade County. Other costs for the team would be offset by fund raising efforts, including on-going calendar sales.
“I motion to approve this tonight and start fund raising efforts immediately,” were the words of board member Kelly Collins who was seconded by board member Nubs Ashbeck.
The board then debated various options for funding contribution to the team.
“I know this is a group decision,” Reimann stated. “but it would be nice to have some type of funding to get started. We have put in a great deal of time and if we were to get started right away, time is of the essence.”
An initial amendment by Collins was to match fundraising dollars up to $5,000, however that motion was overruled 4-5.
A second amendment suggested by Brad Kanitz called for the district to invest $5,000 into the program, rather than match fundraising dollars. “I would like to show support for this as a district,” Kanitz stated.
Collins and board Vice President John Shull objected.
“I oppose this, I just don’t like it” Collins stated. “We would just be throwing money at this. I don’t like the attitude of it.”
“I agree with Kelly,” Shull added. “A few years ago we nearly closed a sports program. We haven’t created new sports in years due to funding being tight. I am in favor of this, but I want to make sure this is going to work before we start throwing money into it. What better way to do that than to match whatever funds they can raise.”
“We will make this happen,” Reimann countered. “The kids are willing to do whatever they need to do to make this happen, so are parents and members of this community.”
Shull’s amendment for a $2,500 investment and $2,500 dollar-for-dollar match would end up being the most favorable with the board, securing an 8-1 vote. Collins was the lone dissenter.
“We are very pleased with the board’s decision,” Reimann stated after the meeting, joined by approximately 20 parents and students who showed up in support of the program. “We are very excited to offer such a great opportunity for MHS students and hopefully even middle school and elementary school students in the future.”
Reimann stated an exact start date has yet to be determined, pending release of the team’s schedule and conference planning. She hopes the team will be up and running by March or April.
In other matters on Tuesday, Superintendent Wally Leipart stated the district is right in line with their required hours of instruction as dictated by the state Department of Public Instruction.
However if students were to miss another day, attendance would be required on May 22, which is currently set as a day off. Additional days would be addressed by the board if the situation presented itself. Leipart also advised the state has released preliminary budget figures.
As part of those figures, Leipart indicated schools transporting students 12 miles or more will receive $25 per student in state funding. The state also plans to increase rural school funding by $8.4 million.
The next regular meeting of the MAPS Board of Education is set for Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at the MAPS Central Office.