Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 1018

Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs high school

SARATOGA SPRINGS – There have been new developments in the ongoing strain between the Saratoga Springs High School administration and local parents since the May 23rd edition of Saratoga TODAY, in which we covered the story of a local group of conservative women, the “Saratoga Conservative Chicks,” who took matters into their own hands when confronted with what they saw as severe bias in the Saratoga school system.

When a teacher gave an assignment comparing President Trump to both Hitler and Mussolini, matters rose quickly to the national spotlight. This led to two of the women, Marnie Messet and Julie Tellstone, appearing on “Fox and Friends.”

Subsequently, the Saratoga Springs City School District released an official statement, giving an account of the assignment, and an explanation, claiming that it did not violate any school policies. This provided no resolution to the parents involved, as the statement’s description of the homework assignment seemed to be at odds with the assignment itself.

As a result, the women involved met with school officials to discuss these and other matters. The first was their disappointment with the inaccuracy of the school's public statement regarding the assignment in question when compared to the assignment itself. The second was the unprofessional behavior of the teacher who gave the assignment, and allegedly used the classroom as a platform to refer to the parents who appeared on Fox News as “fascists,” even with the 10th grade child of one of those women present. Finally, while the school had released an official statement, the parents had never been responded to personally by the school, despite their attempts to reach out to the district about the high profile nature of the issue.

The aforementioned meeting was concluded with the school official’s assurances that the controversial assignment would not be included in next year’s curriculum, and that the instructor guidelines would be updated to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. When reached out to, a representative of the Saratoga school system confirmed that the assignment would see no future use. The representative also stated that the district's curriculum council had developed a guidance document for teaching controversial topics. However, nothing was mentioned of the teacher who had given the assignment and made accusations against the parents.

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Blue Streak history was made at the recent Section II boys tennis tournament.

Entering the competition on May 24 as the No. 1 seeded doubles team, senior David Romano and eighth-grader Nick Grosso went all the way, finally besting the team of Govind Chari and Shamanth Murundi of Bethlehem to become the Section II doubles champions.  Capping off an exceptional 18-0 season for the Saratoga Tennis program, Romano and Grosso helped bring home the program’s first ever doubles title.  This comes off of the program taking its first-ever sectional team title in 2016.  From this win, they will move on to compete in the State-level competition at Flushing Meadows, the same site as the US Open.

Both Romano and Grosso have been in the Saratoga Tennis program since their seventh grade years.  This was their first year working together as a doubles team.  As a senior and an eighth grader, they are working with an age-disparity that they say is very much not common in varsity tennis. 

“I’ve never seen it, in my six years,” Romano said about the age gap. “It works out, cause we both know and respect each other’s games a lot, and he’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve known, and I think together we make a great team.”

“Seeing David out on the court when I was little, you know, it just kept me moving,” Grosso said. “Kept me going, kept me trying every day to be a player like him some day.  I think that’s what kept me going, and that’s where I’m at right now.”

Coach Tim O’Brien singled-out the team’s ability to communicate on the court as one of the reasons that they have been so successful.  Romano attributes this to their knowledge of each other’s styles, including their strengths and weaknesses on the court, allowing them to cover for each other fairly quickly.

“There have been plenty of times when I shouted for help and he was right there,” Romano said. 

Romano will be attending Brown University in the fall after graduating.  While there is a very strong tennis team at Brown, Romano was hesitant to say that he would be up to the task of making the team.  He does, however, intend to offer his services to help the team in whatever way he is able.  Grosso, meanwhile, will be moving up from middle school to high school in the fall, and is not feeling too much pressure about it.  Given his experience with high schoolers during his two seasons on the tennis team, he feels confident in his ability to make the transition smoothly.  If anything, he expects the change to do wonders for his game. 

Elsewhere at the Section II championships, singles players Seungmin Kim and Max Lee made it to the quarterfinals.

“The key to it I think has just been having a foundation of great kids and leaders, on the court and off the court,” O’Brien said about what has made this season’s team so dominant.  “It begins with them.” 

Photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This year’s senior game carried extra importance for the Saratoga Varsity baseball team.

In addition to honoring the team’s senior players, the May 13 non-league game against Schuylerville was also used to raise money for cancer research. To this end, the team raised money in a number of ways, including selling t-shirts. Saratoga Coach Andy Cuthbertson decided that the money should be raised in the name of Tracy Hogben, a long-time Saratoga Springs City School District substitute teacher, recent full-time employee at Lake Avenue Elementary, and parent of five children currently enrolled in the district alongside her husband, Gordon. Three of their children – Gordon Jr., Harrison, and Griffin – play baseball for Saratoga.

On Oct. 18 of last year, Hogben suffered a seizure at home, which led to her diagnosis on Oct. 25 of a Right Frontal Lobe Primary Brain Tumor. After 13 days at Albany Medical Center and a craniotomy, Hogben was found to have an Oligodendreglioma, a Grade 2 primary brain tumor.

Hogben attended the benefit game and threw out the first pitch in front of around 500 people in attendance. Both the Saratoga Springs and Schuylerville communities have taken part in raising money, and have, as of May 16, raised $4,989. Donations are still being collected, and once collection is finished, the money will be donated to the Albany Medical Center Brain Tumor Research Fund.

“The community did a fantastic job of stepping up to support one of our own families in need,” Robin Chudy said. “The money raised will be a donation to Albany Medical Center as it will provide resources to continue to look for possible cures for cancer.”

According to Chudy, many parents got involved by setting up food tables for the game, as well as by creating a program for the game that included pages dedicated to the Hogben family, as well as pages for all seven senior players. Far from just working towards a noble cause, it was a great day all around for the Blue Streaks as they beat Schuylerville 6-0.

Al photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.

 

Published in Sports
Thursday, 11 May 2017 14:14

Blue Streaks to Serve Their Country

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A handful of senior athletes from Saratoga Springs will be embarking on an exciting new journey next fall.

Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS) seniors Matthew Chmiel, Hunter Choy, Dane Feldhaus, Will Navin, and Gregory Polmatier will each be attending military academies this coming fall after graduation. Chmiel, a member of the Varsity Tennis team, will be attending the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Choy, a member of both the Soccer and Track & Field teams, will be attending The United States Military Academy in West Point, New York; Feldhaus, a member of the Varsity Football team, will be attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; Navin, a runner with both the Cross Country and Track & Field teams, will also be attending West Point; and Polmatier, a member of both the Varsity Lacrosse and Boys Volleyball teams, will be attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Chmiel is a three-year veteran of the Varsity Tennis team at SSHS. Last year, he and the rest of the team made it all the way to claim sectional titles. He currently plays doubles. He first started considering pursuing a military career after high school only a few years ago while witnessing a friend go through the application process. Not having any military history in his family, it was not something he ever thought about in his youth. He attributes his decision to apply to the Air Force Academy to his interest in studying aeronautical engineering, as well as to a general interest in military aircraft.

“I’m very excited,” Chmiel said. “I’m humbled to have the opportunity. It was such a competitive process. I know that there’s gonna be a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m ready to put in whatever it takes.

As a member of the Varsity Soccer team, Choy made it to the position of Captain after serving as the starting goalkeeper. He has also competed in Track & Field events. Attending the Military Academy at West Point has been an almost life-long dream for Choy, ever since he read a biography of General George S. Patton in second grade that inspired him to serve his country.

“I’m super excited. It’s been a long time coming,” Choy said. “It’s been a very long process and I’m extremely humbled to be able to pursue this career in the army.”

Feldhaus’s athletic history at SSHS began on the freshman baseball and football teams in ninth grade, and since then he as played on both the JV and Varsity football teams. For a long time, he knew that he wanted to get involved with either the Navy or the Marine Corps, but was never sure in what way. Having been urged to study engineering by his mother, he found the Merchant Marine Academy at a college fair, and found that it satisfied both goals, to serve his country and to study engineering.

“It’s been a long process, maybe like a 13-month application. It just never really seems to end,” Feldhaus said. “So, I’m really excited to get there and get it going.”

Navin has been involved with the track team since his freshman year at SSHS. Over the course of his varsity career, he has been the Captain of the Track & Field team, competed in the Suburban Council All-Stars team two years in a row, and set a school record in the 4x800 meter relay. West Point has been his goal since elementary school, having always wanted to serve his country from a young age.

“It’s hard to believe it’s still true,” Navin said. “I really can’t believe it, and I’m really excited.”

Polmatier has been involved in athletics since seventh grade. His varsity career began in his sophomore year when he joined the Varsity Lacrosse team. He has since served as the Captain of that team in both his junior and senior years. He also played on the Varsity Volleyball team in his junior and senior years, serving as Captain for the team as a senior. He believes that his love of sports and his desire to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis are tied up in the same principles.

“When I’m having the most fun ever is when I’m competing with a group and working hard,” Polmatier said. “And that’s kinda the core of what the military is, just teamwork and relying on that person next to you, which is why I have a fondness for sports, and what’s led me to my interest in the military academies.”

Each of the student athletes said that they intend to continue on with athletics while attending their respective schools.

All photos by Thomas Kika.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Classic builds and vibrant colors returned to Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS) this past weekend for the third annual Saratoga Classic Car Show, held on April 30.

Hosted by former SSHS business teacher and classic car enthusiast John Grady, each year the show raises money for the SSHS scholarship fund. The fund provides graduating seniors with $15,000-$20,000 each year. According to Grady, the show raised $750 for the fund in its first year, and $1,000 in the second. Some of the cars at this year’s show included a 1976 Corvette Stingray belonging to Ron Delaney, a 1970 Volkswagen Baja Beetle belonging to Wendy Davis, a 1948 Austin A40 Devon belonging to Dave Insognia, and many others.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A crowd of cheering friends and families filled the bleachers in the Saratoga Springs High School’s blue gym as 14 young athletes embraced their futures.
In a special ceremony held on April 12, the Saratoga Springs City School District honored 14 senior athletes as they signed their letters of intent to play inter-collegiate athletics at the universities of their choice in the fall. Athletic director Peter Sheehan addressed the attended crowd – which included other student athletes allowed to attend before their various practices and meets by their coaches – before the actual signings, thanking them for their attendance and congratulating the athletes on their achievements.
“We are so very proud of each and every one of you, and of the time and effort you’ve put in to make this day possible,” Sheehan said.
The athletes honored at the ceremony were, in the order they were seated at the table from left to right: Sarah Winters, who will play field hockey at Skidmore College; Francesca Mangino, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Brockport; Cameron Parry, who will play lacrosse at Quinnipiac University; Emily Fischer, who will play lacrosse at Clarkson University; Tucker Pierce, who will play lacrosse at Westminster College; Elizabeth Maguire, who will play soccer at Le Moyne College; Gabe Olsen, who will play soccer at Mount Ida College; Daniel Varsames, who will play soccer at Utica College; Michael Moran, who will also play soccer at Utica College; Autumn Boxley, who will swim at George Mason University; Victoria Breslin, who will swim at Le Moyne College; Morgan Hoffman-Smith, who will swim at Ithaca College; Nick Cavotta, who will run track and field at Winthrop University; and Mary “Mimi” Liebers, who will run track & field at the College of the Holy Cross. Griffin Taylor, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Oneonta, was not present at the ceremony due to attending a meet at his soon-to-be school, but he was mentioned by Sheehan and was present on the list of athletes at the ceremony.
“I just loved the campus as soon as I stepped on campus,” Parry said about her choice of Quinnipiac. “I knew that that was the place for me. The coaching staff was just really welcoming, and all the girls on the team were super welcoming, and I just really got a good feel for the team and for the… kind of program that I’d be going to.”
“I’m very excited,” Liebers said about attending Holy Cross in the fall. “I’ve always known I wanted to do college sports, and track has been my main sport for five years now. So getting to continue track in college is a dream come true… I wanted a D-1 program, but I particularly liked the Patriot League. And I just loved the school, and I knew I needed to see myself at the school without track, so it all just fell into place.”
“I was looking at schools in the south, and I found Winthrop, it has my major in business and a minor in sports marketing, which is just awesome for me,” Cavotta said about his choice of Winthrop. “It’s a beautiful school. It’s down south, lot of warm weather. Not a huge school, which I like, so I can get some more individual time with my professors. It just has everything I could look for in a college.”
“Super proud,” Cavotta’s mother said about her son’s achievement. “I like the school. Like he said, it’s a nice small school, homey, they focus on academics and education, and parent involvement.”
Notably, two of the athletes at the ceremony, Varsames and Moran, will be playing the same sport, soccer, at Utica. This is fitting, as they have been close friends for years.
“That’ll help a lot,” Varsames said about attending school with someone he is so familiar with. “We both know how each other plays. It’ll help team chemistry, obviously. We’re best friends, so it’ll be fun… [We’ve been playing together since we were] probably like around 10, 12 maybe.”
“I think we have an outstanding group of coaches, we have very supportive parents who allow our student athletes to have opportunities, both in-school and out-of-school, that kinda give them a chance to compete at the collegiate level,” Sheehan said about the SSCSD athletics program. “I think that’s important to have that year-round commitment and to have those year-round opportunities.”

All photos by Thomas Kika.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A group of local students recently took a break from esoteric calculus and SAT prep to learn some more practical real world skills.

The Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar program decided to do something a little different for its yearly feedback session, during which they find out what their senior students like and dislike about the program for the sake of future improvements.  Responding to a complaint that has been common from students over the years that they did not learn enough about handling certain social situations, Mary Gavin and Kristie Roohan organized an “etiquette dinner” that would help their students learn to be more comfortable in such situations, in addition to giving them an opportunity to give their feedback on the program. 

Held at Sperry’s Restaurant in downtown Saratoga Springs, part of the goal of the dinner was to teach the students about restaurant etiquette, including using menus, how to order, which utensils to use, among a variety of other things.  Beyond all of that, the broader goal of the night was help the students learn to feel comfortable in social situations that might take place in environments similar to Sperry’s, whether they be meetings, interviews, parties, or any other similar sort of occasion. 

“It was so much better than we could’ve expected,” Mary Gavin said of the dinner.  “They loved it.” 

Students were encouraged to ask any questions they had about anything during the night, and they asked plenty, as many of them had never had experience with restaurants like Sperry’s before.  According to Gavin, questions ranged from wanting to know about certain menu items that they had never heard of, to asking if it was okay to ask to take their leftovers home.  To their credit, Gavin said that the wait staff at Sperry’s were courteous and grateful throughout the night, helping students with anything and everything they needed or wanted to know about.

The dinner also gave the program organizers their annual opportunity to solicit feedback about the program from the outgoing senior students.  According to Gavin, students expressed their satisfaction with the program as a whole, in particular with the mentors that they have been working with, while also expressing dissatisfaction with their mentors’ tendency to be gone certain days on official business, leaving them without guidance.  Gavin said that they will be taking that latter criticism into account moving forward.

Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar is a ten-year-old not-for-profit program that works with “financially-disadvantaged” students in the Saratoga Springs school system by assigning them mentors who help them to finish high school and prepare for college.  Many of the students in the program end up being the first in their families to enter college, according to Gavin.

Ultimately, Gavin said that one thing stood out to her the most as a sign that the night had been a success.

“I think the highlight was we didn’t see a single cell phone the entire night,” Gavin said.

What do you think of SSAS's etiquette dinner idea?  Should more school program's teach practical social skills?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

All photos in this story are by PhotoAndGraphic.com.

Published in Education
Thursday, 23 March 2017 14:55

Parents Push Back

SARATOGA SPRINGS – After discovering what they saw as a questionably one-sided graphic in their childrens’ schoolwork, a local group of conservative-minded women decided to take action, and soon found themselves in the national spotlight on the popular morning news and talk program, “Fox & Friends.”

“Saratoga Conservative Chicks” is a Facebook group that launched early on March 22, but prior to that, its members had been chatting daily through social media and sharing information since early last year.

The group has grown exponentially in the past 6 months,” said Amy, a member of the group who wished to be referred to only by her first name for the sake of her family.  “We chat daily through social media, etc., and last week a concerned parent brought to our attention the assignment by a classroom teacher at Saratoga High School.”

The graphic in question was from a power-point discussion in a 10th grade class at Saratoga Springs High School on the topic of the rise of fascism during World War II.  Within the power-point, cartoons depicting President Donald Trump with facial hair similar to Adolf Hitler, as well as comparing the President’s appearance to Benito Mussolini, were used to link the topic of the lesson with current events.  Once the concerned parent showed them the cartoons, the group mutually agreed that the content was “one sided and inappropriate.” 

The particular power point in question here was about WWII,” said another group member who wished to remain unnamed for the sake of her children.  “Trump was not president then and has no relevancy to that war. I would be equally upset finding a cartoon like that of Obama, or Bush, or Clinton inserted into this lesson in this manner. It is clearly biased, clearly pushing an agenda. The power point and the fascism debate handout support the lack of balance in this lesson. That is what is at the crux of this group and how we formed.”

At an earlier point, the graphic and its accompanying lesson were available online through the teacher’s website, for the sake of student reference.  However, as of March 22, the site has been closed-off from public viewing. 

Following this, a member of the group got in touch with conservative columnist and commentator Todd Starnes with the information.  Starnes, a frequent “Fox & Friends” contributor, conducted his own research on the issue for a column on his website.  According to Amy, Starnes’s involvement with is what led to their group’s spot on “Fox & Friends,” as the interview process “escalated quickly” after he began looking into the issue.  Starnes also states in his column that the lesson became blocked once he started asking questions about it.

We are very proud of the two women who represented us on Fox News,” Amy said.  “They did a great job in a short amount of time.”

As of 11 a.m. the day after their interview, their segment had received 144,000 views on the “Fox & Friends” Facebook page.

Amy said that the group’s hope moving forward is to encourage members of the local community to join them in debate and discussion of these issues.

“Especially young girls,” Amy said.

In an official statement, the Saratoga Springs City School District (SSCSD) said that after an investigation into the lesson, they found that it did not violates the district’s rules about keeping classroom activities non-partisan, as the images were used to visually display the idea of potential media bias.  Further, the school found that the lesson was used to teach students to debate and research fascism on their own terms.

We continue to reinforce the District’s policy which states that employees will in no way impair the non-partisan position of the schools,” said Michael Piccirillo, superintendent of schools for SSCSD. 

Do you have any feelings on this issue?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The 18-year-old was between classes and walking through the halls of her high school last week when the actions of a fellow student jarred her into consciousness. “A kid from one of my classes, who I don’t even really know did the Nazi salute. I stopped and looked at him and didn’t even know what to say,” said senior class student Channah Goldman.

She continued walking, to the school library, where she sat at a desk, took out her books and looked down at the series of symbols carved into the desk top. “There were swastikas all over the desk,” said the student, who has visited concentration camps overseas and has seen the fingernail scratches on the chamber walls of victims who were killed. “I felt physically ill and moved to another desk. And there was another one.”

Goldman said a librarian was apologetic and immediately set to the task of cleaning the desks. The student’s captured images show carvings embedded so deeply the desks required a sanding-over and new artwork drawn atop them to obfuscate the hate symbols. Both the incidents were brought to the attention of the school, and it appears they are being resolved internally, according to Goldman, but when her 14-year-old brother, who is also a student in the school district, noticed an Instagram account which appears to represent “Saratoga High School Fourth Reich,” and referenced neo-Nazis, the police got involved.

“My brother came across it and showed it to me,” Goldman said. “He showed it to my family and everyone was really concerned. The school started looking into it and taking it seriously.”

“When we first learned of the Instagram Account, we were involved from the get-go,” said city Police Lt. Robert Jillson. “At this point, we haven’t deciphered the creator of the account, but we did go in and interview in excess of 30 students who followed the account.” The city police department has a school resource officer, or SRO, who works at the school full-time. Investigators determined that students who had opted to follow the account did so based on the name recognition of their high school, but had not delved deeper into the account to learn of its neo-Nazi references. “The intention of the people who created the account, that could be concerning, and we’d like to know and the school would like to know the intention behind it,” Lt. Jillson said.

Swastika graffiti has recently been discovered in at least two locations in the city – near the Caroline Street elementary school and on the Spring Run Trail, as well as other places in the region. The anti-Semitic acts are not new, internationally, or regionally. One hundred and forty years ago, Joseph Seligman, an American banker and financial advisor to the administrations of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, was famously said to have been barred from staying at the fabled Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs because the hotel’s owner, Judge Henry Hilton, insisted that Jews be excluded from the hotel. According to historian Lee Livney, the “Hilton-Seligman Affair” was featured and editorialized in newspapers coast-to-coast at the time, and has come to be known as a focal point of the origins of American anti-Semitism.

A letter penned by Michael Piccirillo, Superintendent of Saratoga Springs Schools, on Wednesday informed members of the school community about the Instagram account.

“I wish to make clear that the views expressed on this site (SHS4R) are not representative of the school district’s beliefs nor are they authorized in any way or representative of any club or activity associated with the school district. The Saratoga Springs City School District denounces any speech which promotes acts of hatred or violence against any individual or group,” Piccirillo said. “The SHS4R page directly refers to a site that espouses white supremacy and anti-Semitic rhetoric. In addition, the moniker SHS4R inappropriately and without any permission directly relates the name of our high school to concepts expressed by Nazi Germany.” The letter concludes: “It is incumbent upon us to take an active role in exposing intolerance and teaching our children to celebrate diversity as a strength. We ask all parents to speak with their own children about such ideals and encourage the same diversity and inclusiveness we promote at school. Together we can strengthen our culture and build a strong foundation supported by acceptance and the celebration of our diversity.” Piccirillo was away from the office mid-week and unavailable for direct comment, according to a school spokesperson.

“This is not new and it’s not specific just to the Saratoga School District, but the urgency in which they reacted is commendable,” said Goldman’s mother, Kelly Hillis. “I cannot be more satisfied with what the school did. They could’ve kept it quiet but chose to bring it out into the light and make it a learning opportunity. As far as the kid giving the Nazi salute, the kid was spoken to the next day. With the swastikas, I immediately spoke to someone at the school and within 24 hours someone at the school called me to apologize,” said Hillis, who added she believes the hateful symbols were carved into desks by kids who don’t know any better and that the school can only do so much. A large part of the responsibility of teaching acceptance for, and the beauty of diversity takes place in the home between parents and children, she said. “They haven’t been taught that the symbols are hateful symbols.

“My hope is by bringing this into the light, other kids will say: hey, here’s a kid in my school. She’s my friend. She’s one of us, and look how others are making her feel bad. Just to bring that home,” she said. “Just to bring that home.”

Published in News
Friday, 19 August 2016 10:03

Pay-to-Play in High School Sports: Bad Idea!

Paying for the privilege to participate in high school sports is still a relatively new thing for me. ‘Participation fees’ is actually a better description since no one is really able to guarantee playing time. I never had to pay to participate in high school sports back in the late 50s and early 60s, while growing up in New York. Other than a few dollars to buy football cleats, socks, basketball shoes etc., New York State is where property taxes and other levy’s funded all academics and extra curricular activities. Up until the 1980’s most states were also this way with regard to funding athletics. Then of course funding challenges in public education, Title IX equity mandates, recessions and expenses of growing athletic programs began to chip away at available funding and the practice of charging pay-to-play fees became more and more common to keep public school athletic programs afloat. New York State does not permit pay-to-play, even though some local school districts experimented with the idea. Here are some pros and cons. Pros: there is no advantage here, so there are no pros. So, what’s wrong with the concept? Increasing the cost of playing sports by implementing pay-to-play, without a doubt, keeps some low-income students from participating, at a time in their lives when they should be trying new things, and at a time in our country when kids are less active than ever. Officials are finding it hard to resist using fees beyond athletics, risking the creation of an a la carte-style education where only students with means can take full advantage of what is offered through public schools. Not to mention that the concept might have the potential to widen the gap between students based on their financial resources. Both must be avoided. The last 40 years of public education have been defined by the demand for more: more classes, more clubs, more services and more sports, especially with the addition of Title IX. For much of that time, those demands have been accompanied by more money. Since the 2008 economic crash, however, pressure on state budgets and property taxpayers has produced sharp cuts in the money sent to schools. In New York State, as a result of underfunding, students are being shortchanged as schools have inadequate supplies, overcrowded classrooms, insufficient numbers of guidance counselors and social workers, understaffed and under resourced libraries, underfunded arts and sports programs, lack of sufficient tutoring and other supports for struggling students and reduced curriculum offerings and after school options. These classroom cuts have the greatest negative impact on students in high needs schools with large concentrations of students in poverty, students with disabilities and English language learners. So school districts across the state are looking for other means to fund certain “extracurricular” programs, like the sports programs, in order to sustain some quality in academics. Andrew Cuomo’s two percent tax cap had short-changed many school districts across New York State, as a result Governor Andrew Cuomo has failed to live up to his constitutional obligations to New York State’s school children. Governor Cuomo has consistently failed in his obligation to provide the resources necessary for all New York State students to receive the “sound basic education” that is guaranteed by New York State’s constitution. Cuomo is delinquent in the amount of $5.9 billion that is owed to the New York State schools as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE). Governor Cuomo’s delinquency perpetuates inequality with the funding gap between wealthy and poor districts being at $8,733 per pupil. So, the athletic programs have become part of this tendency of negligence, for most of New York’s public schools. This information comes from The Public Policy and Education Fund, in an article about the Governor’s failure to keep public schools on track. As a matter of fact Governor Cuomo has butted heads with the NYSUT (teachers’ union) since the day he was voted in as New York State’s leader. The above scenario, of gubernatorial cuts and delinquency funding strategies, has become an issue for at least 35 states across the country. There has been discussion, as well as the implementation of pay-to-play in many states because of the concern of budgetary slashing. Many ideas have evolved to remedy and solve ways for the funding of sports programs. So far, there hasn’t been an ideal model that actually works. In general, it has been, for the majority of the states, to fund public education through property taxation. To use a sports related analogy, school districts, teachers’ salaries, the extracurricular programs, especially athletics have become a political football. I see it in a very different way. I feel, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo, like some other governors across the states, have this thing about teacher’s unions, let me use the prehistoric label called “union busters.” The concept has been reincarnated from the early 1900s - it might be the underlying force behind cuts to education, and one result being cuts in athletics. But, the subject of the pay-to-play scenario has unfortunately become a bad idea, turning into programs for elitists, for those who can afford to pay to participate. So, not all students would have the opportunity to become involved with athletics, because of the costs. Some states have districts that are charging up to $1,200 for the school year athletics, some states have school districts charging $250 to $600 dollars per sport. So the student who comes from a single parent family and whose mom (usually) who makes barley a sustainable income for her family, might not be able to pay for her child, or children to play school related sports. As a coach, I can see so many related problems. If a child is paying $1,200 to participate on the football team, the coach is pressured to use that kid more than he has planned maybe because the kid just might not be strong enough to physically compete. The biggest problem with pay-to-play might even come from the parents: “I just paid all of this money and my kid isn’t getting the time “I” think he deserves!” Pay-to-play is a dangerous concept, and I see no winners in this game, it changes the scholastic environment from a chance for all versus only a game for the privileged. Quite frankly, it’s the “haves overshadowing the have-nots.” Thoroughly a true opposite of what public education represents.

Published in Sports
Page 3 of 4

Blotter

  • COURT Thomas J. Dingmon, 30, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded Sept. 8 to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth-degree. Sentencing Nov. 10.  Joseph H. Labia, 48, of Elmont, pleaded Sept. 9 to aggravated family offense felony, in Mechanicville. Sentencing Nov. 18.  Daniel J. Green, 25, of Catskill, pleaded Sept. 9 to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, a felony, in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing Dec. 16.  Jonathan H. Fajans, 20, of Galway, pleaded Sept. 9 to criminal sexual act in the first-degree, a felony., in connection with an alleged incident December 2020. Sentencing Nov. 12.  POLICE Joseph…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Rodney Bower sold property at 153 Goode St to Duemler QualityHousing Enterprises LLC  for $575,000. Darlene Bower sold property at 149 Goode St to Elizabeth Ann Realty LLC for $372,500. Paula Rock sold property at 120 Lake Rd to Brian Lucas for $215,000. BDC Cornerstone LLC sold property at 34 Anthony Place to Michael Gilbert for $285,788. Raymond Baker sold property at 1 Main St to Sandra McMillian for $170,000. Ashley Newsom sold property at 1 Howard St to Ginger McGehee for $242,500. Hope Matis sold property at 161 Hop City Rd to Daphne Allen for $268,000. Heritage Builders…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association