Gender equality in athletics at WASD questioned by board member

There was discussion over boys sports receiving more funding than girls athletics during the Williamsport Area School Board meeting on Tuesday.

The Williamsport Area High School baseball team requested approval to take 30 team members plus coaches to a six-day tournament in April at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

According to board member Jane Penman, the trip will cost $20,000.

Penman claimed there is disparity putting more money into boys sports over girls.

“We turn our head the other way at girls sports; that really bothers me,” she said.

The board does not get to see the athletic budget and Penman said she questions whether money is distributed equally for both genders.

The board voted 5-1 in favor of the baseball team’s trip. Voting yes were Lori Baer, Scott Williams, Jerene Milliken, Nancy Story Somers and Robin Knauth. Penman voted no.

The board also approved for the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation hosting the Harlem Wizards for a fundraising event on Feb. 6 in the high school gym and it voted to hire Bernadette Ulrich Boerckel, secondary curriculum supervisor, at a $103,000 salary and Natasha L. Marnon, part-time instructional support aide at Jackson Primary School at $13.20 per hour.

As of Oct. 3, there are 4,992 students in the district, which is down by 50 from last year, according to Director of Student Services Dr. Richard J. Poole.

Since the 2011-12 school year, there has been a decrease of 476 students, he said.

The next school board meeting is 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at the District Service Center, 780 W. Fourth St.

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