The annual spring-break trip to Florida for the West Jessamine High School baseball team will be up for school-board approval this month, with one board member already questioning “funny math” that makes the trip meet cost-limit guidelines.
The trip was a point of contention last year when the team had to travel to a more-expensive complex in Florida and made up for the cost by having students travel with parents if possible, eliminating the need for a charter bus.
A Jessamine County Board of Education policy limits out-of-state field-trip costs to $100 a day per student. David Beckley, treasurer for the West baseball boosters, said last year that the spring 2012 trip cost was $73 a night per student without a charter bus and would have only been $96 a night if a charter bus had been included. The board approved the trip 4-1, with the lone dissenting vote from JoAnn Rohrback, who moved out of the county and left the board last month before her term expired in December.
The 2013 trip will be on the agenda for the school board’s Oct. 22 meeting. Superintendent Lu Young told board members at Monday’s work session that the West team believed every player on the trip would ride with a parent this year and that the trip as presented, without having to account for a charter bus, came in under the $100-a-day limit.
Three of five board members had preliminary discussions Monday, with Amy Day absent and Fran Settle having had to leave earlier in the meeting. Hallie Bandy led the charge, saying that while the trip meets the letter of the guidelines for field trips, it did not meet the spirit.
“The costs do exceed $100 per day; it’s just nobody has to write a check for that,” she said. “But the parents still have to pay it, because they still have to transport their kids. It’s just not being paid to the baseball team; it’s being paid to BP and Shell on the way down.”
Bandy and board chairman Eugene Peel echoed discussion of last year’s trip — that the high cost that only covers two meals a day would be a hardship on families whose students wanted to participate. The boosters are required to pay all expenses for students who are eligible for free lunches and half the expenses for those eligible for reduced-price lunch, though board members have indicated the cost could be a burden even on families not eligible for the lunch program.
“The spirit of our guidelines are to make sports accessible to as many people as possible, and when you’ve got an $800 trip, that is not accessible,” Bandy said. “And I don’t care if it meets the letters, it’s only because the majority of the parents on the team are willing to spend another $1,500 to take the whole family.”
Bandy and Peel both voted in favor of the West Jessamine baseball trip last year. The other board member present for Monday’s discussions was Debbie Hood, who was the only candidate to file for
Rohrback’s seat and took office this month after Rohrback left.
The Oct. 22 meeting of the Jessamine County Board of Education will begin at 7 p.m. in the Herbert H. “Pete” Royse Administration Building at 871 Wilmore Road in Nicholasville.