SPRINGFIELD, NJ - At Monday's Springfield Board of Education (BOE) meeting, one local Springfield parent had a request of the board regarding a proposed sports team, and the policy that he says could potentially hamstring it in its earliest stages.
Jeff Kaesshaefer, the youth lacrosse president in Springfield spoke before the board about a proposed girls lacrosse team at the high school. Kaesshaefer also has two children involved in Springfield lacrosse. His son Ian is a sophomore on the boys' lacrosse team and his daughter Sara plays seventh-grade lacrosse at Florence Gaudineer Middle School.
Kaesshaefer came before the BOE to point out one policy which he felt was holding the school back from committing to starting the program. Specifically, Kaesshaefer pointed to School Board Policy 6145.1, which says that any new team coming in needs to be fully funded by the parents for the first six years.
When the policy was created...some of the [current board members were not on that board at the time," Kaesshaefer said. "Ad I wanted the new board members that this policy will make us pay for all of it. Not just for a year or two, but for six full years. and then on the seventh year, they will only cover 25 percent of it.
"So we're not talking like three, four thousand dollars. We're talking a program costing roughly around 18 to 20 thousand dollars. That's a little more for the boys. So when you compile that year after year after year, by the time it's done, we're talking 120 thousand dollars for the girls to play lacrosse. All that money has to be raised by the parents.
He did note that while he found the program with some merit, considering that the bard can not just hand out money left and right because he noted it prevents just anybody from coming in and starting a team that will ultimately fall flat.
'The only piece here is that we would have to fundraise like crazy, and that's the only hard part," Kaesshaefer said. "We'll do it...but it's just tacking on another 18 to 20 thousand that we have to raise, and it just gets really tough."
Speaking after the meeting, BOE president Scott Silverstein said that he knew where Kaesshaefer was coming from, but that the BOE needed to double-check that they were not being hasty with their sports spending.
Silverstein said, "When the board implemented the policy, in conjunction with the [boys] lacrosse club, it was intended to ensure that we'd have essentially two full groups of students go through the program and make sure that we had a program that was continually sustaining, rather than simply one bubble of kids who were interested in playing."
"The board is always free to revisit policies," he added. "it was a policy that was intended to make sure everyone knew the rules of the road before they got in."