A hot-button issue the past several months concerns student-athletes at two Churchill County schools.
The topic of if or how Oasis Academy, a state charter school, students will participate in athletics at Churchill County High School was answered earlier this year by the Churchill County School District Board of Trustees.
Oasis welcomes its first-ever high school students, grades 9-11, on Aug. 17
Since there is no other option in the district or at Oasis for those students to compete, they are allowed, by state law, to participate at CCHS.
In addition, the board approved for those non-district students to pay an additional sport-specific fee plus the $70 for the athletic registration packet.
Rumors swirling around town have lead to many ideas and theories, but CCSD Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon spoke about the district’s policy for Oasis student-athletes.
The policy, she said, follows state law (Nevada Revised Statute 392.705, 392.070 and 386.560), which details participation for charter, private and home-schooled students.
“In the spring the board approved a policy that said Oasis students could participate in sports and/or classes on a space availably only (basis),” Sheldon said. “That goes along with the NRS. The school district is going to follow the law and that is what the law says.”
First, Oasis or any other private or home-schooled students must complete a declaration form indicating whether they are taking a class or extra-curricular activity at CCHS. It must be submitted, along with all required documentation, to the principal of the school the student is applying to compete for, in this case, CCHS.
The principal, as a board of trustee designee, in consultation with the superintendent, will approve or deny all applications. The principal may also revoke the approval if it is determined a student fails to comply with all rules and regulations of the school, district or state.
The enrollment guidelines detail a student must meet the same requirements as district students such as immunization, birth certificate and proof of residence to name a few. In addition, the student-athlete must be age appropriate to participate in any class or activity.
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding the issue, though, concerns teams with limited roster spots, or cut sports. Traditional cut sports include volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.
“I think what the board did was look at the NRS and said what are we required to do,” Sheldon said. “Then they followed that NRS and that’s the route they went. It is a hot-button issue.”
A homeschooled student must be allowed to participate in sports sanctioned by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association regardless of space availability if a notice of intent has been filed.
Charter and private school students, meanwhile, may try out for cut sports, but will be “limited to one to every 10 district students enrolled, rounding up the number of charter/private school students.”
Parents and guardians must provided students with transportation to and from the activity, although CCSD will allow the athletes to travel with their respective teams, if space is available, Sheldon said. Charter, private and home-schooled students must also pay any expenses required of CCSD students.
Oasis Academy Administrator Melissa Mackedon said she is curious to see how the policy will work out. In addition, Oasis welcomes any student to compete in the school’s lacrosse program.
“I think we will see how it plays out,” she added. “As the school year rolls out and athletic events come to pass and if students are playing or not playing, (we’ll) just see what happens.”
As for the specific costs, football runs the most expensive at $300, while the cheapest is cross country at $55. Of course, the cost of each sport varies as football includes pads and helmets, while in cross country the uniform fee ($15) is the highest priced item.
All sport fees include concussion testing, medical supplies, drug testing and equipment/gear. Some sports have additional cost due to overnight trips and fees for venues the district must pay for its teams to compete.
Sheldon said football could be a concern should the program run out of helmets as the district would not pay for new ones.
“The district isn’t going to go out and buy gear for unlimited players,” she added. “If there is space available, then they can play football.”