Athletics and Activities

Athletics and Activities

Athletics, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities have a critical role in schools. We often talk about our mission to focus on learning for every student every day. Many years ago, we asked a student in visual arts to create an image to capture different aspects of learning. A few of those ideas are shared here as we think about athletics and activities.

Vision PictureInside and Outside signifies that learning happens within the walls of the school but also happens on the field, in the gym, in the pool, on the stage, etc.

Achievement and Growth helps us measure learning and can be considered at the individual and team levels; within an event, the season and across many years.

Effort and Persistence is so critical. Whether it is tied to skill in sports or music or other related areas, students understand the tremendous commitment of time, energy and focus needed to develop and refine a specific set of skills over years. Effort and persistence are a foundation for growth and achievement.

Finally, the books on the bookshelf reinforce the idea that it takes all of us – students, staff, parents and community – to foster the ideal learning environment.

We specifically elevate outside the classroom activities such as athletics, marching band, student clubs, the musical, forensics and other clubs because they are essential for helping students develop. In these activities, students often find a passion. Students form connections. Students learn critical life lessons. It is also about family and community. We understand how important seasons, games, concerts and performances provide opportunities for gathering and engaging.

Over the last eight years specifically for facilities, the district has taken a number of steps that reinforce these beliefs. One example is expanding the number of teams and opportunities for student-athlete participation. We also have an increased number of clubs and activities for students. At the recommendation of the administrative team, the district conducted a comprehensive athletic facilities study in 2016 to ensure a strategic and systematic approach to long-term planning. The Pine-Richland School Board fully supported this approach and one member of the board participated as a member of the core team. The study lasted from January 2016 through August 2016 and was led by an outside architect. It was presented to the board and community on August 4, 2016 (Visit this link for the presentation.).

 The study process itself was inclusive by design. A small core team worked with the third-party architect to gather initial input. The expanded team included representative participants from across all programs to discuss areas of need and/or facility requirements. Two open-invitation community town hall sessions were held to ensure that any interested person could offer his or her voice and perspective. As the system-wide plan was being refined, the potential projects were taken through an action-priority matrix. This approach allowed the design team to identify and prioritize projects that would have the maximum impact on the most students. The action-priority matrix helps us ensure fiscal responsibility and discipline. The final list of projects was then embedded within the ten-year capital funding plan. This strategic approach combined with long-range financial planning have impacted thousands of students and will impact thousands more. It is important to note that these improvements to facilities support learning for many groups throughout the day. A few examples include: physical education; marching band; and outside community groups.

While this message focuses specifically on athletics and activities, the capital funding plan and overall approach to long-term financial planning and health is the foundation of sustainability in educational programs and services. The district has a history of sustained investment in textbooks/resources, technology infrastructure and software/devices to support learning. Mrs. Kirk, director of PRSD Financial and Operational Services, shared the following highlights:

  • In seven years, the Pine-Richland School District has only raised taxes once by 1.97%.  This tax increase was slated specifically to help offset a portion of the ten-year capital funding plan. 
  • ‘Pine-Richland School District reported a tenth-consecutive general fund surplus in fiscal 2020, a reflection of the district's good and proactive management team’ (most recent bond rating report issued by S&P Global Ratings).
  • The district has been able to appropriately manage student enrollment to ensure all buildings continue to have capacity for future growth.
  • The district exercises discipline in its approach to staffing to ensure levels are appropriate to maintain programming while remaining fiscally responsible.
  • A ten-year capital funding plan was developed many years ago with annual revisions to prioritize major projects (e.g., roofs, HVAC, paving, energy efficiency projects, technology and athletics).
  • General fund budget surpluses have allowed for multi-million dollar capital maintenance and improvements without incurring additional debt. As a result, the overall cost of these capital maintenance items and improvements is substantially lower to the taxpayers in the community.
  • Debt service costs as a percentage of overall annual expenditures have been decreasing for many years. The school district actively pursues any opportunity to refund existing debt to lower interest costs and to shorten the overall term. As mentioned above, the school district has not incurred any additional debt to finance the capital funding plan.

Please click on the image to view a slide show with athletic facility information.

Ram Cage