Medford charter school athletes: what’s next?

Medford, Ore. — Charter school students, will have a lot to decide about after-school activities after a Medford school board decision Monday night. The board will give charter school high school students 18 months, until a revised policy takes them out of public school activities. That includes OSAA sports, music, and drama. The revised policy is already in effect for middle school students.

The move comes to make room for students already enrolled within Medford School District schools with sports programs. Now charter schools are having to look into what they can do for their students, before fall of 2018.

“The district has stated they wanted to give us time, this 18 month time table to build our own sports program,” Logos Public Charter School Executive Director Joe VonDoloski says, “well, that sounds cool, but it’s not realistic, it can’t happen.”

About 30 kids, or less than 5% of Logos Public Charter School students participate in school district sports. 12 of those live within the 549C district, and are impacted by the school board’s decision to exclude charter school students from OSAA activities beginning fall of 2018. However, the other 18 are still eligible to play sports within the districts they live in. So now Logos staff is busy brainstorming, what, if anything they can do.

“If I start one high school sport well instantly I have to become a full member of OSAA and that would make all of our students ineligible to play anywhere else,” VonDoloski says, “so I don’t have enough students interested in forming a team and even if I did, it would harm several other students in several other districts where there’s no problem.”

The other issue is finding the funds for facilities, coaches, and equipment.

“If the district were to allow me to have the 900,000 dollars I gave them last year that would go along way,” VonDoloski adds,”I could hire an athletic director, I could rent fields, I could build fields.”

Under state law school district’s are required to pass on at least 80% of state funding to charter middle schools, and 95% to charter high schools, meaning the district can retain up to 20% and 5% respectively.

We asked if the Medford School District would consider taking a lesser percent, and 549C communications specialist Natalie Hurd says that would be a question for the state but that the amount of pass-through funding is written into the school’s contract which is in effect until 2021.

Hurd adds, “on the other side of that coin they are getting 80% and 95% to provide programs from their students. Logos has money in the bank that they’re choosing to use to build a new building for their students which is great, and that money could also be used to provide programs for their students.”

It’s unclear what the charter school will do in regards to sports, but Logos says it will continue to provide as many opportunities for it’s students as possible.

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