School board approves cheerleading program

Robert Galbreath photo Sublette County School District No. 1 trustees elected on Nov. 6 are sworn in for another term. Pictured from left are: Mary Lankford, Sublette County clerk, Jamison Ziegler, Robin Schamber, Charles Prior and Chris Nelson. The board members elected officers for the 2019 fiscal year at their Dec. 13 meeting. The officers are: Jamison Ziegler, chairman, Chris Nelson, vice-chairman, Charles Prior, clerk and Clay Olson, treasurer.

PINEDALE – The Sublette County

School District No. 1 board of trustees

passed a motion to add a cheerleading program

at Pinedale High School at its regular

meeting on Dec. 13. The program will be

funded up to $10,000 to cover the stipend

for a head coach and possible travel expenses

for the team.

The vote in favor of adding the cheerleading

program was 5-1. Trustee Stacy

Illoway had an excused absence from the

meeting. Trustees Robin Schamber, Mary

McGuire, Clay Olson, Jamison Ziegler and

Charles Prior voted in favor of adding the

program. Trustee Chris Nelson was the

single vote of dissent.

The motion was passed to go into effect

immediately, but District Superintendent

Jay Harnack told the board that the logistics

of hiring a coach and creating a funding

formula for the program needed to be

worked out before the program can start.

The board agreed to Harnack’s request.

Harnack told the Roundup in an email

that the district can move forward with

advertising for a head cheerleading coach

position at this time. But the board still

needs to finalize how it will fund the

coaching stipend and “determine the number

of cheerleaders that will be on each

Forest Collaborative discusses what’s next

team for each season before the program

can begin,” he said. The last two items will

come before the board at the January meeting.

A cheerleading program was first proposed

to the school board at the Nov. 8

meeting by Pinedale High School English

teacher Brittney Brunski-Deckert and a

delegation of students interested in joining

the program.

Ziegler opened discussion with the

statement that he heard a lot of input

from the community both in support of a

program and against it. Schamber spoke

in support She and Illoway attended the

Pinedale boys’ basketball tournament

over the weekend, she said, and they were

impressed with the way the other teams'

cheerleaders guided the audience.

“The cheerleaders were really positive

for the crowd,” she said.

Schamber added that some community

members expressed concern that cheerleading

uniforms were “degrading” to

females. Schamber replied at the meeting

that cheerleader uniforms were “no more

degrading” than the uniforms the volleyball

team wore.

Olson stated that “a lot of girls” showed

interest in the program, and he supported

“providing more opportunities” for students

to participate in activities.

McGuire referred to the fact that fewer

female high school students are involved

in activities than their male counterparts,

and said that adding cheerleading was a

positive way to increase female participation

in athletics.

Jake Rich, Pinedale High School activities

director, reported to the school board

at the Nov. 8 meeting that athletic participation

rates for high school boys was 71.24

percent versus 55.72 percent for girls.

Zeigler stated that he “grew up with

cheerleaders” as a high school athlete, although

he added that the community had

“mixed feelings” about the program.

“Cheerleaders keep the kids guided

at games,” he said, “They keep kids a

little less out of trouble.”

Zeigler suggested that any proposed

cheerleading program have a leadership

and service component.

Nelson stated that he did not support

adding a cheerleading program when

cuts were already made to other athletic

programs.

“I can’t justify adding something

else when we cut the sixth-grade athletic

program for financial reasons,” he

said.

Nelson added that he supported indoor

track because part of the costs

were covered by the school district in

Star Valley. A funded cheerleading

program, on the other hand, will be

the full responsibility of the Pinedale

school district.

Brunski-Deckert said at the Dec. 13

meeting that 33 girls were interested in

the program. If the program is accepted,

she said that the team does not intend

to compete at the state meet this year.

However, she added that the girls are

anxious to start forming “good building

blocks” and cheer at varsity games for

the Wranglers.

The school board also took the following

actions:

• The board voted to purchase a new

security badge visitor management

system from Raptor Technologies. The

new system will update the “paper and

pencil” badges currently used by the

school with technology that can screen

all visitors, volunteers and contractors

against the national sex offender registry,

customs databases and custody

alerts, forms submitted by the district

said.

Raptor Technologies submitted

quotes for the new program ranging

from $6,800 to $7,996 with the purchase

of a kiosk station. Funding for

the system will come from a grant

through the Wyoming School Facilities

Division, the district said.

• The board voted to approve a new

employee recognition program offered

by a company called Kudos. The estimated

cost for the program is $5,610.

The program will now go before the

board finance committee for funding

approval.

• The board voted to approve the

creation of an early learning liaison

position that will be funded by Sublette

BOCES.

• The board directed the superintendent

to revise Board Policy BBB on

school board elections and membership.

The suggested revision includes

changing all board seats to “at-large”

due to concerns raised over the lack of

candidates running in specific residencial

areas. The board policy committee

will introduce the revisions for a first

reading at the January board meeting.

The full school board is required to

present the revisions as a resolution

for two readings at the January and

February meetings.

• The board voted to accept a bid

from Cheeney Landscaping of Pinedale

for snow plowing. The hourly

rates will remain at $70 per hour for

a skid steer, $60 per hour for a truck

with a v-plow and $32.50 an hour for

hand labor.

• The board voted to accept a bid

from M&M Transfer of Pinedale to

remove snow piles. Three companies

responded to the district request for

proposal. Trustee McGuire recused

herself from the vote due to possible

conflict of interest. n

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