School board to discuss winter sports season

The Massena Central School Board of Education will discuss the status of the winter sports of hockey and basketball during its meeting Thursday night. Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Central School District’s Board of Education will be discussing the status of winter sports during its 7 p.m. meeting Thursday, and the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue.

“We’re offering the opportunity for the public to provide feedback and ask questions due to the interest in this issue,” Superintendent Patrick Brady said.

The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department requires each school district to submit a safety plan approved by the district’s medical director and Board of Education in order to have authorization to provide the winter sports of hockey and basketball. In Massena’s case, it would be boys and girls hockey and varsity and junior varsity basketball.

“The winter season with hockey and basketball could start as early as the 13th of February,” Mr. Brady said.

Wrestling, which is typically a winter sport, has been moved to what’s called a Fall 2 season.

“The Fall 2 season at this time is planned to be wrestling, girls swimming cheerleading, football and girls volleyball. They are also considering putting modified basketball in there as well,” he said.

Typical spring sports would begin after the Fall 2 season.

Mr. Brady said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s authorization to begin winter sports was contingent on the local health departments in every county providing their authorization. The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department has released criteria that they wanted to see in each district’s safety plan.

Because of pandemic safety considerations, the board meeting will be streamed live through the district’s YouTube channel at http://wdt.me/z6S5UX. Following the presentation, the board will open the meeting up for public questions and comments. Anybody wishing to comment can use the chat feature on the YouTube live broadcast of the meeting.

Thursday’s meeting will also include the first of three public forums on the draft 2021-22 school budget.

“We’re still relatively early in the budget process. On Thursday night I’ll present the status of our budget preparation. We do have the governor’s budget proposal, but there’s still quite a long way to go” with the state Legislature needing to come out with their own plans in early March, Mr. Brady said.

Although Gov. Cuomo has released his budget proposal, Mr. Brady said the district’s budget’s figures remain preliminary as administrators and the Finance Committee continue to gather information to present the final budget for board approval on April 19.

He said this year’s budget process is more complex because of issues such as the state’s budget deficit and how much federal aid will be allocated to districts.

“The message tomorrow night will be that there are still some outstanding questions here and we’ll continue to move through them. We’ll have a more clear picture in mid-March when we see what the state Legislature is going to do,” Mr. Brady said.

Voters will be asked to approve the budget on May 18.

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