By Tim Linscott
It may be a can of worms he is opening, but it is a can the Perkins County School Board feels needs to be opened.
School board member Jayson Bishop pondered the question at the March school board meeting, “Are there too many offerings for activities with the number of students at PCS?”
“I know this is a can of worms but it is something I’ve wanted to ask for a while,” Bishop told his fellow school board members. “We can’t offer a big number of class offerings here but we have good offerings for extra curricular. We have less kids now and more program offerings than when I was in school. I am not sure we can sustain that.”
Carlie Wells, activities director for PCS explained that once a program is cut, it is hard to bring back, especially a sport.
“Sports are hard because of scheduling once they are cut, things like speech and quiz bowl aren’t too hard,” Wells said.
Looking at scheduling for students needs to be considered as Wells told board members that if a student is in FCCLA and FFA, they will miss an entire week of school due to conventions in the near future.
“If a kid is in track, spring play, things like FCCLA or FFA, they aren’t at school a lot,” Wells said. “It can wear on them. Some kids are up at 1 a.m. doing homework because of all of the activities.”
Tim Johnson, a senior at Perkins County High School, participates in sports and One-Act. He said a typical day for him is getting to school at 8 a.m. and is home by 6 p.m.
He explained he rarely gets stressed with juggling activities and homework. He likes the wide range of activities you can pick from at the school.
“You can pick what you want to be involved in, so it is up to you, really, on how busy you want to be,” Johnson said.
PCHS senior Elizabeth Krajewski is in FCCLA, FFA, swing choir, volleyball, basketball, the fall musical, spring play, band and chorus.
There are days that she is at school at 7 a.m. and does not get home until 7:30 p.m.
Despite being at school for over 12 hours in a single day, Krajewski would not have it any other way.
“Without all of the activities I would get bored,” Krajewski said, adding she doesn’t really feel like she has stress to balance her schoolwork and activities. “When I was an underclassman, maybe, but my senior year hasn’t been that bad. I like being busy.”
She said she is thankful to have that many choices in the school district.
PCS Superintendent William Hakonson told board members that a survey of students for future participation should be done now so that next year coaching staffs, sponsors and volunteers, not to mention schedules, can be properly formulated. He also explained that once contracts for coaches are in place, the school has to honor that whether there are students participating or not.
“It is good to have options but if you have a sport or activity and you hire a coach and spend money on the program and only one or two kids are out, is that worth it?” Hakonson asked school board members.
School board president Shawn Turner explained that girls golf has already gone through a similar situation where five golfers are required to make up a team and the numbers were not looking good for a season.
“The girls went out and recruited some other girls to fill out the team,” Turner said.
The wrestling team had nine wrestlers at the beginning of the season and only four finished the season. However, last year PCS had a state champion and this year a student medaled at state wrestling.
Hakonson suggested to the board that a list be made of activities that are vulnerable due to lower numbers in recent years and survey the students.
PCHS principal Dean Friedel suggested possibly alternating between a spring play and fall musical each year. With mock trial and the one act play being in close proximity of each other, looking at options to help free up students’ schedules was discussed by the board.
A survey has been sent out to students to gauge the situation.
The issue will be discussed further at next month’s school board meeting.