CASSADAGA - The Cassadaga Valley School Board gave its approval to the Cassadaga Football Boosters to continue planning for a football game to be played at night.
The event is scheduled to be held Sept. 28. The Cassadaga Valley Varsity Team would play Westfield. The night game and other events surrounding it, such as a chicken barbecue, would be a fundraiser for the football boosters.
Games at Cassadaga Valley are played during the day. The field has no lights. One huge part of the undertaking is the lighting system. The boosters researched portable diesel powered lights to illuminate the field.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
A relieved group of football booster members smile after the Cassadaga School Board voted to let them go ahead with plans to sponsor a night football game for homecoming. Left to right: Sue Muscato, Mary Jo Bauer, Cheyenne Morano, and Lori Johnson.
The boosters have attended several board meetings asking for permission to hold the event. Board members asked numerous questions, and requested further information. At the June meeting, the boosters brought an example of the light that would be used. About 13 lights would be used for the football field.
At July's meeting, board member William Carlson began the discussion. He noted that there were previous events that the boosters started that had resulted in charges to the school district. He noted in one case the school paid for the item while in another case it was not responsible for the charges.
"My point is do you have a budget for the event and is it funded?" he asked.
Lori Johnson assured him that the boosters has enough money to pay for the lighting in its treasury.
Carlson's next concern was insurance. The boosters does have liability insurance for the event. Carlson said the district's carrier, while not saying the event couldn't be done, pointed out it would put the district at increased risk.
"We are opening ourselves up to a situation (of increased risk)," he said.
S. Carl Perry, board vice president, wanted to know who would be responsible from the district to see that the game was canceled in case of weather or the condition of the field.
Carlson introduced the idea of a "kill switch" saying someone would have to be responsible if weather or other conditions, such as a muddy field, made it prudent to call off the event.
Mary Jo Bauer, one of the boosters, noted that an overly muddy field would not be something that would be a last minute determination.
After a long discussion and more questions, board member Jeanne Oag moved that the committee be allowed to go ahead with their plans. Perry seconded the motion. During the discussion before the final vote, the board members cautioned the boosters.
"Do not let it (the event) fail. ... This is a huge project. Please do not burn us again. ... We (board members) have a fiduciary responsibility to the community," Carlson said.
"If this is approved tonight, it is not automatically an annual event," Board President David Christy warned.
The board unanimously approved the resolution.
Mary Jo Bauer promised that the lines of communication would remain open with the board and said they were welcome to attend any meetings of the booster club committee responsible for the event.
After the meeting, the committee members said they were looking forward to getting to work on the event, which they hope will be something for the entire community to enjoy.
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