New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | April 14, 2024

CC athletics, pay cut restored; GPA requirement unchanged

By Alan Chamberlain | April 29, 2009 2:26 pm

Money has been found to restore high school sports, a 2 percent pay cut, and five of six jobs on the chopping block in Charles City schools. And county School Board members have voted to leave intact the current 2.0 grade-point average students must achieve to be eligible for sports and other extracurricular activities.

In March, school officials announced the demise of high school sports as part of drastic measures to deal with revenue shortfalls for the next school year. Officials also imposed a 2 percent pay cut for all employees and eliminated six positions including the assistant principal post at the middle school and the system’s in-school suspension monitor. But that was before federal stimulus money kicked in.

During an April 14 work session, school superintendent Janet Crawley revealed that stimulus dollars have enabled school officials to free up the $70,000-$75,000 needed to fund coaching stipends and effectively reinstate athletics.

“But that’s just for this coming year,” she said in a separate interview. “The next year, [sports] could be gone.”

The $341,000 stimulus package also helped schools cancel the 2 percent pay cut and reinstate the assistant principal and in-school suspension posts along with two classroom aides. Special education money, meanwhile, picked up a secretary position slated for elimination, leaving a bus driver job as the only position slashed.

During the board’s April 21 meeting, members voted 4-1 to maintain the current 2.0 GPA eligibility requirement for students participating in sports and other Virginia High School League-sponsored activities.

At issue had been a policy the board adopted in 2005 whereby the GPA would be raised from 2.0 to 3.0 in increments over a span of three years. That policy had never been enforced due to frequent administration changes at the high school.

The matter resurfaced last year for discussion during which board member Royce Paige pushed for raising the GPA requirement. Paige, however, encountered stiff opposition from other board members.

During last week’s meeting, Roy Campbell, who was not on the board when the original policy passed in 2005, reiterated his stance opposing the measure.

Campbell said Charles City’s average already ranks higher than the VHSL minimum 1.75 GPA. He reported that Charles City students engaged in athletics boast an average of 2.6 compared to 2.45 for the rest of the student body.

“I think we’ve got the cart before the horse,” he said. “We need to look at ways to improve the GPA of those not involved in athletics. It seems our athletes set the standard.”

Paige, meanwhile, pointed to the 2005 policy as installing a gradual GPA increase to the 3.0 level and accused other board members, who voted for the measure at the time, of developing cases of amnesia. Paige cast last week’s lone dissenting vote.

After the decision, board chairman Barbara Crawley, part of the 2005 board, said she agreed with an earlier assessment made by Campbell who said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“We cannot discriminate against the student who may be a little slower learner than another student,” she said. “Athletics could get them to do better in the classroom.”