Published On: Wed, Nov 2nd, 2011

Newcastle turns down FB co-op

NEWCASTLE – At a special meeting of the Newcastle School Board, members of the Board responded to a strong public showing and declined cooperative agreements for the football program from two separate schools.
Recently, Wynot Public Schools and Ponca Public Schools both sent offers to Newcastle. The neighboring districts offered an agreement to co-op their respective football programs with Newcastle.

After several meetings with little public input, the Newcastle BOE held a special meeting last Tuesday that was well attended by members of the community.
Once the Board saw the public in such large numbers and heard their concerns, they were ready to act on the two offers.
Rather than accept either offer, the Newcastle Board voted to decline both the Wynot and Ponca offers to co-op the football programs.

Locations of team practices, facilities, and the issue of transporting students for practices and games were cited as reasons for the ‘nay’ votes on both offers.

Wynot and Newcastle had already been working together with a joint program for junior high sports.
“I really hoped we would get something going,” said Newcastle and Wynot Supt. Joseph Lefdal, “Our numbers are down and both offers looked like a good opportunity for the [Newcastle] district.”
Lefdal said that with the limited number of students and a recent trend of low test scores threatening eligibility, it is becoming harder for Newcastle teams to remain competitive.
Yet, Ledfal respects the community and the Board’s decision. “They’re going to try to make it themselves,” he said.
Although the Newcastle BOE and community declined the offers now, Lefdal did not think that they would be against a possible co-op in the future.

“They were focused on football Tuesday because the state needs to know by November for the 2012 season,” said Lefdal, “Other sports will not be due until April. For the kids’ sake, I hope they continue to look at the option of co-oping sports programs.”