Let the games—and activities—begin! At a special meeting of the Mokena School District 159 Board of Education, board members voted unanimously to reinstate on a pay-for-play basis extracurricular sports and activities, all of which were cut last year.
Costs have yet to be determined, however.
The meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Mokena Elementary School was convened after months of planning and research that dates back to June of last year.
“This was the soonest that the board felt they could come to a conclusion, [that the board] felt that they could decide,” Mokena Junior High Principal Mike Rolinitis said. “The bulk of it, I mean once we were given some direction about what we wanted to do, what they want to come up with for [this] proposal, that's really come about in the last month or so.”
During the hourlong meeting, Rolinitis outlined a plan for restarting all sports previously offered by the district for the current school year, with the exception of cross country because the season is already over.
He also outlined a plan to reintroduce several clubs and activities at each of the three schools in the district, including intramurals, yearbooks and student councils.
Because parents will be bearing the cost of sports, there will also be a new philosophy behind sports within the district. Mainly, playing time will now be given equally in all non-conference games, in conference games every participant will play in the game—although it may not be equal—and in tournaments, playing time will be decided based on which players give the team the best chance to win.
No decisions regarding pricing have been made, but Rolinitis said basketball could cost $250 per player, volleyball could be $260 per player and student council could cost $65 to $90, depending on the school.
The approved plan will be implemented immediately, although there are several policies that must be fleshed out. Policy discussion centered on students who are part of the free or reduced-price lunch program receiving vouchers for participation, costs for participation, scheduling difficulties and the possible carry over of the program for the following year.
The district will hold a meeting for girls basketball and boys volleyball at Mokena Junior High at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, for all parents and students interested.