The Unit 50 Board of Directors reassured Teutopolis parents this week that the addition of a softball facility and other improvements to the district’s athletic facilities are underway.
The board met Monday to hear updates and reports on the state of the district just one day before the start of the 2022-23 school year. Some parents in the district have expressed concern and frustration over the “unacceptable” condition of the school grounds and the district’s inability to provide the school’s female athletes with the same facilities as male athletes.
The council is under pressure to move forward with plans to build a softball facility for the district after a concerned parent spoke to the council about what she describes as a significant disparity between sports programs male and female in the school.
Carrie Copple, parent and assistant at Teutopolis Elementary School, spoke to the board regarding what she sees as a significant disparity between softball and baseball facilities in the district. She blamed the board, criticizing members for being “complacent”.
“My example is that Unit 50 provides baseball diamonds for its male athletes in middle school and high school, while Unit 50 provides no softball diamonds for its female athletes,” Copple said.
Copple says this disparity between boys’ and girls’ athletic facilities violates Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity in schools that receive federal funding.
“After all, the educational and athletic opportunities available to our daughters have increased dramatically since Title IX legislation took effect in 1972. That development, however, has stalled,” she said.
Copple reminded the board that she made a similar request for a softball facility 16 months ago, but to no avail. She is considering legal action to pressure the board to act.
“If no course of action is in place in the near future, I will be forced to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Office,” she said.
Council members reassured Copple and other parents that they are indeed working to address these issues. The board plans to partner with the chairman of the local park board to discuss ways the school district can improve its current athletic facilities and begin work on a softball facility. They also plan to use these meetings to help the council reassess some of their spending on items, such as lighting for the district’s sports fields.
“Nothing is really on the table,” said Unit 50 board secretary Chandler Hewing.
Other school districts in the area, including Effingham and Dieterich, say they haven’t heard any complaints or issues with any kind of disparity between their boys’ and girls’ athletic facilities.
“I am not aware of any disparity or any of these concerns here,” said Effingham Unit 40 Superintendent Andrew Johnson.
According to Dieterich Unit 30 Superintendent Cary Jackson, this is due to the district’s efforts to keep their men’s and women’s athletic programs “as fair as possible,” whether in supplies, equipment or the installations. The district also has its own softball field, which Unit 50 is still working towards.
In addition, the Board of Directors of Unit 50:
• Approved a motion to schedule the District Budget Hearing for Monday, September 19 at 6:00 pm. He approved the draft budget, which is available for public review on the district’s website.
• Approved a resolution to continue with the existing dangerous bus routes.
• Approved the review of the District’s Safe Return to School Plan recommendations.
• Authorized the contribution of $20,000 to Music and Fine Arts Amplifiers for new music uniforms.
• Discussed the district goal setting sessions held last month and scheduled a final listening session for parents, community and staff on August 30 at 6:00 p.m. in the school cafeteria. junior high school. The council will hold a special meeting on September 7 to review feedback from the listening sessions and to formulate district goals.
• Authorized the payment of a bonus to current employees for services rendered from 2021-2022: full-time employees will receive $1,000, part-time employees $500 and paid employees will receive $250.
• Approved the resignation of Kyla Hall, Counselor at Teutopolis Secondary School.
• Approved the internal transfer of Lori Mette from Teutopolis High School Special Education Teacher to Teutopolis High School English Teacher.
• Approved the hiring of Billy Martin as a baseball volunteer at Teutopolis Junior High School.
• Approved the hiring of Jennifer Swingler as Accountant effective August 1, 2022.
• Approved the hiring of Minda Tarr as caretaker at Teutopolis Primary School effective July 25, 2022.
• Approved the hiring of Sarah Wendt as a teacher at the Teutopolis primary school.
• Approved the hiring of Kelsey Hutmacher as a special education teacher at Teutopolis High School.
• Approved the hiring of Rachel Habing as a volunteer cross-country assistant coach from Teutopolis High School.
• Approved the hiring of Antonio Munoz as a volunteer assistant volleyball coach at Teutopolis High School.