Tamaqua district clarifies its policy on athletic gear
No one makes clear bags for golf clubs or ski gear, which might pose a problem for some student-athletes in the Tamaqua Area School District.
During a meeting of committees Tuesday, members of the Tamaqua Area School Board discussed revisions to existing school policies, such as the one for dress and grooming for students. According to the current policy, students must use clear, "see-through" backpacks to tote their school supplies, including sports gear.
Due to the difficulty of finding clear, duffel-size bags for sports items, such as skis, golf clubs and baseball bats, the district has been allowing student-athletes to bring in their equipment in non-see-through bags. Those bags were then individually scanned and placed in a secure area, not in student lockers.
Directors want to make additions to the policy to clarify how students should handle bringing such gear into the school in the future.
The addition reads,
"Any educational item or athletic gear brought to and from school will remain in the student's locker during the school day, except to carry items to a designated classroom or carry gear to a practice or game.
"If an item requires a cover, a clear bag or clear utility bag must be used. Advisers, coaches and/or teachers will provide specific instructions regarding these items and gear.
"Golf bags, ski gear, band uniforms and musical instruments may be brought to a designated area in the school for inspection and storage.
"These items must have visible identification labels and will not be accessed during the school day. Advisers/coaches/ music teachers will provide directions for specific items."
The proposed change will affect a very small minority of students, says Tamaqua Assistant Superintendent Raymond Kinder.
"There are clear duffel bags available online that will accommodate most sports gear and the golf team members usually travel to the courses by private vehicle, making it unnecessary to bring their clubs in to the school," Kinder said.
The district's Pay to Participate fee will also be up for discussion. The fees are expected to remain the same as last year $40 for the first sport, $30 for the second and $20 for the third.
An anonymous donor supports the Pay to Participate program annually with $10,000. That donation is used to cover the cost of student athlete physicals, as well as provide a reduction in the cost to the student.
Before the policy was first passed in 2008, student-athletes were paying for their own physicals, with no fee to participate in a sport.
In May 2008, the school board enacted the Pay to Play Policy, charging students $10 per sport. The anonymous donor immediately came forward with the $10,000 offer.
At that time, the donation covered the entire cost of the participation fee, as well as the cost of the physicals, with change to spare.
When the fees were increased, the donation no longer covered all of the costs. It now provides for a $10 discount.
A student participating in three sports will have to pay the district $30 for the first sport, $20 for the second and $10 for the third, for a total of $60.
Directors have also written a policy which will give guidelines for students who are enrolled in post-secondary courses.
Through agreements with LCCC and Penn State University, Hazleton, students may take college courses. The school board will vote on the policy revisions during its meeting July 15.
Kathy Kunkel contributed to this report.