Sports returning to Dennis school

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DENNIS TOWNSHIP – Extracurricular activities are slowly making a comeback in Dennis Township schools after being cut in this school year’s budget.

On Dec. 19, the Board of Education approved fielding middle school winter girls and boys basketball teams. The sports join co-ed soccer and girls field hockey reinstated in September, Superintendent Mark Miller said.

He said spring sports – softball and baseball – are expected to be added next.

“It [sports] binds the community together,” he said. 

Bringing back winter sports is costing around $8,000-$8,500, he said. Miller said he found money in the student activity account when looking over the district’s finances.

The 2012-13 budget posted on the school district’s website lists expenditures as $16.1 million.

Miller worked on the return of extracurricular activities when he began his job in July, said one school board member during the Dec, 19 Board of Education meeting.

The fall sports teams cost about as much as the winter sports, Miller said.

Other activities are expected to be brought back in January, said Principal Joe LaRosa. They are homework club, yearbook and chorus.

Even as the sports were cut, the booster club did not disband, Miller said. He said the group continued to raise funds.

Miller said basketball is expected to start Jan. 10. Two coaches were to be named after a Board of Education closed-door session Dec. 19. Miller could not be reached for comment the day after on if the board made a decision.

Dennis Township resident Jeanie Donohue expressed appreciation to the finance committee members of the Board of Education for recently meeting with booster club representatives.

“And we’re excited that on the agenda is the reinstatement of winter basketball,” she said. “We look forward to a continuing dialogue with the board and working hand-and-hand with the board. We’ll keep up our fundraising efforts, and we hope all the booster club activities that were I think eliminated in the spring will be reinstated as the year goes on.”

Miller said he wants to fund extracurricular activities, including sports, in the 2013-14 budget.

“Regarding the activities, as everyone knows, all the learning in the school doesn’t happen in the classroom,” said LaRosa.

He said the sports offered at the school district are the same provided by the township’s recreation department.

“And I would like to have the honor society, the science club, the chess club, the stage band, things, areas, that aren’t redundant have some type of priority if possible” in the 2013-14 budget, he said.

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