In the event that the ORCSD in any way tries to terminate, manipulate and or interferes with the growth of football within the first 4 years of this agreement, ORCSD shall be responsible for the initial startup expenses. Prior to the start of the first season ORYA will provide a detailed accounting to the ORCSD of all startup expenses.I've been to every meeting and this is news to me. I heard many times how the program was cost-free to the district. I heard many times that the board could just approve now as they would have a second opportunity to pull the plug in a couple of years when the club team becomes a varsity team. No one mentioned that canceling comes with a substantial bill.
Actually, as I read this, a board member just saying he or she might not support the varsity team approval could count as the district trying to terminate or interfere with the growth. Perhaps even just putting the varsity team vote on the agenda is sufficient to trigger the bill.
Do you want to know how a football program fully funded by ORYA becomes a football program fully funded by the taxpayers? According to the proposed agreement, it's up to ORYA:
While it is not the intent to terminate, ORYA reserves the right to terminate its involvement in this agreement with 90 days'[sic] notice. Any and all additional expenditures from the date of notice forward shall be the responsibility of the ORCSD.
Wow. Is "date of notice" a little extra screwage? If the district has to start paying on the date the notice is issued, what's the 90 days for?
Update: My wife points out this post is humorless. She's right. What did the mother of the first Jewish president say on Inauguration Day? "See that boy with his hand on the Bible? His brother is a doctor."
The two page contract is riddled with ambiguities, grammatical errors and typos. It's mostly about how ORYA handles all the money and how the district has to fork over more to them when certain things happen. The district doesn't even get to hang onto the money it collects: it has to hand it over to ORYA and hope it gets it back.
The contract clearly indicates football is not free to the taxpayers. The last two points are:
- The program and or ORYA will not be charged for any administrative charges provided by the school in supporting the operations of the program.
- The ORCSD shall provide any and all required athletic trainers as required by its school policies.
So, the document indicates that multiple trainers and administrative charges are explicitly paid for by the district. That doesn't sound free. While clear on some things it won't pay for, the document is pretty vague about what ORYA actually will pay for. Use of existing facilities? Wear and tear on the field? Achieving a particular safety standard? Fees and equipment for underprivileged players? Staff time? Renting lights? The document doesn't say. Is this intended to be the entire agreement between the district and ORYA?
On March 6 we did previously get a presentation with a sample budget:
The proposal gives ORYA a weird incentive to lowball individual budget line items as the taxpayers may be liable for overruns. The superintendent refers to $10,000 in costs not in the ORYA budget in this clip:
What started out to me as a wholesome and enthusiastic group of families trying to get football into the high school now has me feeling a bit like I'm being deceived. For a program that was billed as cost-free to the taxpayers ORYA's proposal has the district paying for substantial parts of the program, with lots of traps triggering additional district payments. ORYA proposed they be allowed to end their support immediately whenever they like while the district is hit with tens of thousands in penalties if it even thinks about opting out.
Who's going to pay for a varsity team as fundraising wanes in the years ahead? Who's going to pay for the girl sports impelled by Title IX? Who's going to pay for the cheerleading squad and the marching band? Are the taxpayers really in the mood to fund any of this? The people who would normally show up to complain about the spending have largely remained silent. It's my turn to be the grumpy old man.
I'm not that grumpy. If the district wants to go down a path toward a fully funded varsity football team with cheerleaders, a marching band and girls curling I'll pay my share. I'd just like to know how much it costs ahead of time.
Let's close with the clip of Superintendent Morse's comment on this proposal. He refers to the document as an "MOU" (Memorandum of Understanding), as did the March 6 presentation, though the document refers to itself as a contract, which to me denotes something much more binding than an MOU.