GROTON — It’s full speed ahead for a new football program at the high school.
A vote by the Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee last week approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the district and a football-and-cheerleading club that will support the new program for its first three years of existence.
The vote came after concerns about advertising and disposal of unused donations were settled in a review of the document’s language by the district’s legal counsel. Also included was wording that preserved the district’s independence of the football program.
Key provisions of the MOU included wording that insured the new programs would have no impact on the district’s operating budget, that the program be under the supervision of the district’s athletic director, and that the director would be under no obligation to contribute to fund-raising for the club. Finally, a proviso was also included reading “no promises are being made to guarantee that these two programs will be included in the school district budget for fiscal year 2012.”
At earlier meetings, the School Committee was told by Athletic Director Dan Twomey that through a combination of private donations, user fees, gate receipts and Booster Club donations, enough money could be raised to begin a football program and outfit varsity and junior varsity teams of 40 players as well as a cheerleading squad of 15 members.
Although the target for cash on hand for the first year of the new program would be $50,000 Twomey has estimated that year one could cost as much as $60,000 with expenses dropping to $50,000 in year two. Year three would see a further drop in spending to $45,000 and, after all the bugs are worked out, to a base of $35,000 in year three.
Ultimately, if and when the district finally takes over the program in year four, annual expenses would be no more than $35,000 with much of that covered by user fees and gate receipts.
Twomey has already begun meeting with parents and students interested in joining the football program. He said he has been encouraged by the fact that 45 to 50 students have expressed a desire to join any new program at the high school.
With the approval of the MOU at the committee’s meeting of April 2, the new football program is on schedule to start up with the new academic year beginning in the fall.