Supt. Jim Smith said Wednesday that the Hillsboro City Schools district is looking at starting school a week later next year than it did this year.
At the school board meeting, Smith said the tentative first day for students next year is Aug. 15. The first day for students this year was Aug. 10.
“It will make it a little easier for our staff for in-service days before the school years starts,” Smith said.
Many school districts across Ohio have adjusted their schedules to start earlier, with some officials citing the state testing schedule as a primary reason.
Ohio has no specific guidelines for when the school year should start, leaving that decision to local school boards.
In another matter, two parents who said their son thought he made a basketball team only to find out two days later he had been cut voiced their concerns Wednesday to school board members.
Rodney Captain, a longtime Hillsboro City Schools coach, and his wife Jaymara, addressed the school board during the public participation part of the meeting. They said their freshman son was led to believe he had made the basketball team on a Saturday, then returned to “unannounced tryouts” two days later on a Monday and was cut.
“This has weighed on me for two weeks now… This has been tough for me. …I’m still looking for clarity on why my son was cut,” Captain said. Captain said he had talked to other school personnnel and had not received an answer. “As a graduate of Hillsboro the only thing I want to see is our kids have success. Anybody that knows me knows that.”
He said that 13 students went out for the team and one of them ended up ineligible. He said his son was told on a Saturday that no cuts would be made, then when he asked his son the follolwing Monday evening how practice went, the son told him he didn’t make the team.
Captain said only 26 to 27 total students in grades 9-12 went out for the freshman, reserve and varsity boys basketball teams this year. He said that because of those numbers, it’s likely that some freshmen will be playing reserve or varsity. He said the optimum number of players on a team is 12.
“I get it if we have numbers or don’t have enough uniforms. But we don’t have numbers. If the numbers are 26 to 30 now, where are they going to be next year?” Captain asked.
Captain said his son was cut a year ago, but that made sense because 15 to 20 kids tried out for the eighth-grade team. He said his son has worked hard to get better.
“He’s not where he needs to be, but if he goes through 85 to 100 days of practice, he’s going to get better,” Captain said.
Captain, who said he has coached football and basketball for the Hillsboro City Schools for 15 years, said Hillsboro athletics are in a down trend that needs turned around.
“It’s embarrassing to go to Clinton-Massie and get beat 70-0. It makes us question ourselves as coaches. What can we do to get better? We need kids,” Captain said.
His wife said that after the Saturday practice in question the freshman were sent to the lockerroom and told that if anybody was going to be cut, they would be notified then. She said no one was cut and coaches told the kids they’d see them Monday.
She said that when they arrived at practice Monday, unannounced tryouts were held. She said her son had been at every conditioning practice but was cut, while one student who’d been at just one conditioning practice was not cut. She said that student did not play a fall sport, indicating he didn’t have an excuse for not being at conditioning.
“If he was going to get cut he should have got cut Saturday. All the other (teams) made cuts on Saturday. I’m just giving you some facts because nothing adds up,” Jaymara Captain said. “We just feel there’s been a huge injustice here.”
She asked the board to put themselves in her and her husband’s shoes.
Marva Captain, who said the young man in question is her cousin, spoke in support of Rodney and Jaymara Captain.
“What was done to (Jaymara’s) son should not be done to anybody’s son,” Marva said. “You tell someone they made the team, then somebody else wants to try out and makes the team; that should never happen. I don’t care if you’re black, red, white, green, rich or poor.” The Captains are black.
“That should never happen,” said Marva Captain. “It made me sick to my stomach to hear that. You guys, being school board members, should take charge and do something about it.”
The board’s policy is not to respond to complaints during board meetings. The policy is to respond in writing within 10 business days of the meeting. Board president Terry Britton told Rodney Captain he will have a response within 10 days.
In other news from the meeting, high school principal Jason Snively recognized Heith Brown and Emma Reno for their efforts with student council. Snively said the seniors had their own ideas, took input from their peers, then followed through to create a pep assembly and rekindle an old tradition of a bonfire the night before a football game. Both students will also be mascots during the upcoming basketball season.
Snively estimated that 300 people attended the bonfire.
“These are quality young people who play sports and are involved in other things, but they just don’t do that, they support the rest of the student body,” Snively said. “I hope your peers will step up and do that as well.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.