Athlete program approved for Concordia Parish schools

Published 12:12 am Friday, May 9, 2014

NATCHEZ — Though some board members expressed reluctance, the Concordia Parish School Board voted Thursday to authorize a $15,000 summer conditioning program for the parish’s high school athletes.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Nelson brought the program, which will include all three parish high schools, to the board’s attention.

The program, which would allow the high schools to open their weight rooms by paying coaches to be there, will not violate rules in place about summer practices, but will allow student athletes to keep up their conditioning, Nelson said.

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“When you are trying to compete with high schools around the state that are doing this, it almost kind of makes you have to do it, too,” he said.

Board member Fred Butcher expressed support for the motion, but said he wanted to make sure the coaches or other staff members who kept the weight rooms open keep a detailed time card.

Butcher likewise said he wants to make sure students who use the weight room sign in every time so the school board can keep track of how much the program is being used.

School Board President Raymond Riley said he would like teams using the program to have a majority of players utilize it.

“If a coach has 12 players on a team, I would like to see at least seven players show up,” he said. “If they don’t, with only five players, you are babysitting.”

Board member Gary Parnham expressed concerns about the program in light of the fact the school board had to reduce its budget by $1.5 million.

“When you wanted to do this, it should have been considered six months ago,” he said.

“When we make this motion, it should be written down what we want to do. You have got to set goals and see if they are achievable. What are we going to do, throw money  out there if three (students) show up?”

Nelson said once the conditioning project is completed, the school district will collect the data and show how many hours were spent using the program and how many athletes from different teams showed up.

Butcher said the district should try the program.

“If after the first three or four months you don’t have the participation, scrap it,” he said.

Butcher made a motion to create the program with the caveat facilitators would have to keep detailed timesheets and records of student participation, which would be turned in weekly to Nelson’s office.

Board member Darlene Baker seconded the motion, and Baker, Butcher and board members Mary Campbell, Warren Enterkin, Jeffrey Goodman, Charles Minor and Cheryl Probst voted for it.

Riley and Parnham abstained from voting for the motion.