Mt. View faces soggy spring sports season

By Tom Fontana

“I have a bad feeling about this year.” Robert Taylor, Mt. View building maintenance director, told the school board Monday night, March 10.
The high school baseball fields that are usually soggy every spring may be even worse this year, he said.

“I walked out there today,” Taylor said, “and I walked all the way on hard snow. It’s still completely covered. And who knows how deep the ground underneath is frozen.”

He indicated that once it begins to thaw, it may take longer than usual to drain and dry. “Those fields are low,” he told the Independent, “and don’t get a good breeze going over, so the water just sits there. The field at the elementary school is higher, so it’s usually not a problem.”

Depending on the weather, Taylor predicted it may take longer than usual to have the high school fields ready for the baseball season.

On a positive note, Taylor was very pleased that the board approved the purchase of a small, but versatile 4-wheel drive utility vehicle – a Kubota RTV 1100 – from Timberline Lawn & RV Inc. in Montrose. Cost of the equipment was quoted at $21,700, but Taylor said the district should receive a $6,000 rebate through a state program.

“It’s smaller and lighter than the failing 30-year-old truck we’ve been using,” Taylor explained. “With the Kubota, we’ll be able to haul equipment out to the field, and pull the drags to maintain the baseball infield. It’s also small enough that we can put a plow on the front to clear snow from the sidewalks.”

He said the vehicle should be delivered in about a week. “If this winter weather breaks,” Taylor added, “we’ll be able to get started on those fields right away, but who knows right now what’s out there.”

Karen Voigt, director of curriculum, presented the board with a proposed “comprehensive plan” for the future of the district.

“This plan gets to the meat of what students need for the next six years,” she said.

She insisted that the district has a definite, clear mission: “to prepare our students for success…by encouraging them to master skills necessary to become independent, lifelong learners.”

Four goals include: academically challenge and support all students; assure students feel safe, valued and respected; increase the graduation rate; and maximize community involvement and resources.

“We also want to challenge our best students,” she added.

She said the comprehensive plan would be posted on the district website, or be available at the district office.

Board president Thomas Stoddard expressed his concern over admissions to the pre-kindergarten program, referencing a problem with a student who may not have been ready for the program this year.

“Is there a mechanism to determine if a student isn’t ready to be in that program?” he asked elementary school principal Christine Kelly.

“The grant for the program is based on targeting at-risk students,” she explained. “Receiving that money could be in jeopardy if we start turning away students who are at risk.”

In other business:
*The board approved updates of several harassment and bullying policies;
*Corrected the title of Rex Tiffany to be junior varsity softball coach, not assistant.

*Appointed co-coaches for girls junior high softball Megan Clough and Alisha Marmo.

Former board member Todd Adams asked the board to review the district’s policy on Sunday sports practices.

“Practices used to be banned on Sundays,” he said, “but there’s nothing in the handbook about that now. I would also like to see that added. And currently there is no assurance in the policy that students who don’t attend a Sunday practice will not be penalized.”

He said a policy banning Sunday practice used to be in the handbook, but was dropped several years ago as unnecessary when the board ordered the school buildings kept closed on Sundays as a cost-cutting measure.

Director Jason Richmond pointed out that girls’ varsity basketball games are sometimes played on Mondays. “In that case, it could be seen as a disadvantage to the team if they can’t practice on Sunday,” he said.
No action was taken on Adams’ suggestion, and there was no further discussion.