Referee issue may affect basketball season
DUNDEE--Dundee Central School District Superintendent Kelly Houck announced during the Thursday, Nov. 14 school board meeting that referee issues may impact the boys varsity basketball season for every school district in Section V, which includes Yates County. Houck said that she has already been advised by section officials to at least expect a delay to the season.
"Be prepared for a very long delay for the season and maybe no season at all," Houck told the school board.
Houck said that referees, who are all members of the Rochester District Basketball Officials Board 60, which is in turn a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc., have refused to provide their availability to games for this season with the beginning only two weeks away.
"They are still upset over contractual change two years ago where they lost mileage compensation," Houck said.
She added that the referee who traveled the farthest prior to the contract game would be compensated for his mileage traveled, which could often be as much as $150, $50 more than the $100 referees currently make officiating a game. That mileage stipend was removed in the last contract but the stipend was increased as a result.
"They want to (us) reconsider and it's not time to renegotiate the contract," Houck said.
Instead of asking for the mileage stipend, referees are asking to be able to assign their own games, along with personal security to their cars after games. Houck said that Section V superintendents and athletic directors met and unanimously voted against those demands.
"It would set a precedent, because we all know that once something becomes temporary, really it's permanent," Houck said.
As to security, Houck said individual school districts with a history or problem with referees being accosted should have to provide security.
"They are only thinking about it from a financial perspective," and not of the kids, Houck said.
Houck said that discussions are underway as to whether replacement referees can be used, but until a resolution can be reached the basketball team is practicing as usual while a tournament scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend was moved to December.
"We'll find out more, and I'll keep you updated as I do," Houck told the board.
When asked by board members if this constituted a strike, Houck said no because officially the Board 60 is not a union.
"It's complicated," she said.
Randy Shepard, auditor from Bonadio Group, gave the board a positive update of the audit his firm performed.
"All financial decisions were made on solid footing," Shepard told the board.
He added that while there were no adjustments needed to accounting done during the year, the one downside to the report was that there was a 4.84 percent overage of the fund balance.
"Such an arbitrary number... I'm not worried about that at all and neither should you," Shepard said, adding he has seen districts with 17-18 percent overages in the past.
It was announced during the board meeting that the bus garage construction is going well and construction is expected to be completed by Dec. 8. The bus garage, along with new security cameras and a basketball court, are part of a bond authorization of $7,708,588. Houck said many of the new cameras have been installed and are a massive improvement over the old analog system.
District officials gave a presentation on test scores for the elementary school and grades 7-8. Most grades were within the range of area averages with some outliers like high sixth grade reading scores and the underperformance of first and second grade reading scores.
"First and second grade (reading) levels are concerning," said Laurie Hopkins-Halbert, elementary school principal, to the board.
School officials agreed that moving away from having students take standardized math tests on a computer and going back to paper testing would have a demonstrably positive impact on test scores due to the inherently complicated nature of the program and specialized keyboard used.