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Monty School Board Looks into “Viability” of Clubs, Sports, and Arts during COVID

By Barbara A. Preston

If theater programs are virtual, should schools pay stipends for teachers to serve as directors or choreographers?

Since there are fewer football games, should the videographer get paid less accordingly Should the coaches get less? Should there be football?

The board expects to vote on extra-curricular spending at its Tuesday Sept 29 meeting at 7 pm.
Check to see how they voted.

The board usually decides on stipends for clubs, sports, arts programs, and other extracurriculars in August of each year. Because of the pandemic, this year is different.

Montgomery High School football started in September. The Montgomery School Board will vote on September 29 on whether it, along with other extracurricular activities, will be funded during COVID.

The school board decided to wait until its September 29 board meeting to “have their questions answered” before voting on teacher stipends, according to a letter to parents.

Meanwhile, the Montgomery football team has been practicing, and had a scrimmage game at its home field against Hopewell Valley Central High School on September 25.

Please visit for full coverage on how the Montgomery School District plans to budget for extracurriculars.

Parents have contacted The Montgomery News with lots of questions.

“I am hearing through the grapevine that Montgomery High School has eliminated all performing arts for the upcoming school year due to COVID — no band, marching band, choir, orchestra, school play or musical, etc,” one parent emailed to The Montgomery News. “It is unclear if teachers are being furloughed as a result. Can you investigate to see if there is any truth to this? Thank you.”

The Montgomery School Board has addressed some of this in the letter to parents, stating that “some sports funding was approved in August. There were a few teacher stipends that needed approval before September,” the school board said in its letter. “The board held an emergency executive meeting on August 3 for that purpose. The board did not vote on approving any stipends, the board only confirmed their willingness to fund immediately needed positions such as school advisors.”

If some stipends needed approval before September, but the board “did not vote” on approving any stipend — as stated in the letter — it is unclear what exactly happened at the closed meeting.

“NOTHING at the executive meeting indicated the board’s support or lack of support for specific types of clubs such as arts, career, or service,” the letter stated. “We have not said ‘no’ to any club or stipend. Do NOT believe the rumors. Rather, we are looking at the viability of clubs for this year.”

The letter further stated that it “is important for the community to know that the board is still awaiting more complete answers to their questions.

“Again, the board is requesting information on the number of participants this year and specific plans for virtual clubs, which is essential for the board to make fiscally responsible decisions in the best interests of our students.”

The school board letter also hinted that “a club can still exist without teacher stipends, if interested students and teachers come together to form voluntary clubs and activities.”

The board said it encourages transparency and communication with the community. Contact any member of the board with ideas, questions, or comments at:■

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