After writing Monday's opinion piece about possible ideas for sports at Juneau-Douglas High School and the soon-to-be-open Thunder Mountain High School, two loud and clear points emerged through my e-mail and phone line.
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First, there is no shortage of opinion or concern from the public concerning the sports situation.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, is that I botched my numbers.
When I suggested that TMHS and JDHS would move down to Class 3A if they both offered sports programs, I didn't check my numbers.
The enrollment range for Class 3A is between 101-400 students, according to page 50 of the Alaska School Activities Association handbook. Juneau-Douglas High School's student enrollment is about 1,800 students, according to the school's Web site. Dividing that amount of students between the two high schools would keep each school in Class 4A, which is for schools with enrollments of 401 students and more.
Regardless of my mistake, however, there was no shortage of views or opinions about this subject.
Here's a smattering of what people had to say. For full responses, check out my blog at www.juneaublogger.com/sports.
KEEP THUNDER MOUNTAIN SMALL
I have long advocated that our high schools be very different from each other, both in size and program. Differences provide real choices. Keeping JDHS a large traditional school with 1,200 students while opening and operating TMHS as a genuine, innovative small school with 400 students would serve students and the community well, both educationally and financially.
TWO SCHOOLS MAY END HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING
People who sit by and say, "Oh, two programs will allow more people to participate," know nothing about wrestling. If you split the present program in half, the kids will not be able to compete with the other schools. They will not be able to practice. You have to have someone close to your weight to workout with. It is just not feasible for this program.
Geoff Harben, Floyd Dryden Middle School wrestling coach
DEVELOP A FUND TO SUPPORT JUNEAU SPORTS
My proposition is to create a Southeast Alaska Youth Activities Fund that is similar in principle to the Permanent Fund Dividend. Each Southeast community wishing to be part of this organization would be responsible for securing money ($1 million?) from oil companies, the cruise industry, and anyone else who would like to contribute (Carlos Boozer - isn't it about time you gave back to your hometown?) to establish the principle fund that would then be invested exactly like the Permanent Fund. Interest made off the principle would then get divided between each participating Southeast community to be spent on youth activities.
TOO MUCH FUNDRAISING
There aren't many people who want TMHS to avoid joining ASAA indefinitely, but it makes sense to hold off for at least one year before doing so. By not waiting one year the Juneau School District is essentially saying, "You must have two sport programs because we support kids ... in spirit, but not financially." It is an un-funded mandate to double the already overwhelming amount of fundraising that takes place in this town already.
JUST ACCEPT IT
For decades now, Juneau has stomped the smaller regional competition and now, when the playing field is about to be leveled and dynasty dismantled, it appears that playing by the rules every other large city in Alaska has abided (read: Mat-Su, Kenai-Soldotna, Fairbanks, Anchorage) might just be too much to ask. It's simple: two schools, two sports programs.
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Sitka (via e-mail)
Keep the ideas and conversation going at sports editor Tim Nichols' blog at www.juneaublogger.com/sports. Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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