BROCTON - The Brocton Board of Education held its first meeting of the new school year on Thursday. Unfortunately some members of the public missed the beginning of the meeting. The doors at the School Street entrance were locked. One woman said that she had tried all the doors and was unable to find one that was unlocked. Finally, a passing maintenance worker unlocked the door.
When the locked-out public members entered, the board was beginning a discussion of a request by the Chautauqua County Stampede, an amateur adult football team, to rent the football field for five to six games. Their season would be in May through August of 2013. They proposed to pay the school $500 per game. Games would be scheduled on Saturday to fit around current high school and youth league schedules.
District superintendent John Hertlein said that he had consulted with board president Thomas DeJoe and denied the initial request.
"I have had experience with this in two different districts, and it was not favorable," he said.
Hertlein went on to describe that the locker rooms were in need of cleaning after the games and the fields were damaged.
The current information from the group was more complete and included a promise to clean the locker rooms, if supplies were provided, as well as clean the field and the stands.
The Stampede stated a willingness to help with marking the field.
The organization wants to create an opportunity for local players to continue to play football.
"The Stampede will be committed to the Chautauqua County region through community service in the areas of youth mentoring, community cleanups, and outreach for young men. It will also hold special events such as a Breast Cancer Awareness game, a night to honor veterans, and a youth football night," the information provided said.
The members of the board had a number of thoughts.
Susan Hardy liked the idea of the regional nature of the organization.
"They are willing to keep the field up," Todd Mcfadden pointed out.
Mike Riforgiato noted, "Barry (Wright, one of the coaches and contact person) is not a bad guy. I would have no problem telling him we would go on a game-by-game basis."
David Hazelton outlined his three major concerns.
"First, there is the liability issue. Second I am concerned about the comportment with the event. ... This is a school ground and I don't want to hear the language we don't allow from the children. Third, there are more possible injuries in an adult game," he said.
Betty DeLand, district treasurer, said that she was surprised that the Stampede were going to carry insurance of $3 million. She also pointed out that the field was very hard and dry this summer, and playing on it could "destroy the field." She suggested the field might need to be reseeded and watered.
DeJoe summed up the discussion, "There are issues that need to be addressed." Nevertheless the consensus was that the idea would be discussed with the coaches listed on the letter, and the results would be brought back to a future meeting of the board.
On Sept. 20, the board will conduct a joint meeting with Westfield. It will be held in the auditorium at Brocton at 6 p.m. At that time, the team of consultants for the merger study will attend. A timeline for the study will be discussed. Afterward a meeting of the Brocton School Board to conduct its business is scheduled to take place.
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