Returning To The Gridiron

WESTFIELD – Last September, following the tragic death of Westfield-Brocton junior football player Damon Janes, the Westfield Academy & Central School Board of Education unanimously voted to cancel the remainder of the 2013 season.

On Jan. 13, the board voted to continue its combined football program with Brocton and return to the field this coming fall, although it is not known yet in which league division the team will play.

WACS athletic director Jake Hitchcock told the board that there have been so many mergers and proposed mergers of football programs amid smaller districts that it has not yet been determined by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Westfield/Brocton belongs to Section 6, which covers the Buffalo Niagara Region.

“What it looks like is that we will be in the Class D division,” Hitchcock said, noting that this division has three leagues. “There are fewer teams in D because of mergers. A lot of smaller school districts are merging or talking merger and this will determine where WACS will be.”

Earlier in the meeting, the board told Hitchcock that it would work to provide guidance for future decisions regarding shared sports transportaion for the 2014-15 year.

In other business, district superintendent David Davison told the board that the district would have to decide on what to do if more snow days are needed. The district used up three snow days during the extreme cold period in early January alone, he said, and it is always a difficult decision to close school.

“You take into account wind and wind chill, the predicted amount of snow, the temperature, neighboring districts, BOCES. It is never an easy decision,” he said. “You are on the phone at night with other superintendents trying to gauge things. There’s an awful lot that goes into it, but in any decision, the number one consideration is the safety of the kids.”

Davison also told the board that the district’s Annual Professional Performance Review plan has been accepted by the state Department of Education.

“About 35 percent of districts had to revise their plans. We are always looking for ways to streamline it,” he said.

High School Principal Ivana Hite noted that the district sponsored a special celebration for WACS music educator Kent Knappenberger who won the Grammy Music Educator Award earlier this week.

“We couldn’t be prouder of him,” she said.

The board approved the first reading for its revised policy regarding the district’s ability to charge for the use of its facilities. The revised policy shifts the focus from fees based on the organization to fees based on the purpose of use.