Super: Funds will save sports

The problem of how to fund middle school sports in Barbour County will be solved Monday, officials said.

During Monday’s Barbour County Board of Education, members of the One Step at a Time Walk and the Barbour All County Sports Organization fundraising groups plan to present the $34,000 that the board said it needed to reinstate middle school sports coaching jobs for the 2013-2014 school year.

“On Monday, we will present a check to the Barbour County Board of Education for $24,000,” Nick Mayle, one of the founders of the One Step at a Time Walk, said this week. “A private donor will pay the remaining $10,000.”

Superintendent of Barbour County Schools Dr. Joseph Super said he applauds what coaches Mayle and Marcus Johnson, and members of the Barbour All County Sports Organization, did to support middle school sports.

“I am sorry we had to make the cuts because of our financial situation and that they had to do something like this,” Super said. “Regrettably, you will see many other county school systems facing these same issues.”

Super said he is glad the group raised the funds for middle school sports.

“Once we have the money, we will rescind the reduction in force and reinstate the middle school coaching positions,” Super said. “I am glad to be able to do that. They are very good people.

“I am thankful for their work,” Super said. “We had the opportunity to avoid this by passing a levy, but folks are facing tough times and it was their call. We had to make some tough decisions.”

Representatives of the Barbour All County Sports Program tried to persuade the Barbour County Board of Education not to eliminate the county’s middle school sports coaching contracts during the board’s meeting Feb. 25, but later in the meeting the board voted to do just that.

Following a work session with the group, board members met for nearly an hour in executive session. After they returned, members voted to eliminate the coaching contracts by a vote of 3 to 2.

Board members Joanne McConnell and Doward Matlick voted against Super’s recommendation to eliminate the coaching positions, while members Robert Wilkins, Eric Ruf and Dana Stemple voted in favor of eliminating the contracts.

Mayle and Johnson organized the One Step at a Time Walk, a 177-mile journey from Philippi to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, earlier this month. The two made the trek entirely on foot, to raise money to save middle school sports in Barbour County.

The Barbour All County Sports Organization has raised money through various fundraisers in recent months.