July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Hoops season canceled

MEDINA — After 33 years of bringing kids to the court, the Medina Junior Basketball Association has voted to cancel its 2010 season after Medina City Schools raised gym rental rates because of a failed tax levy.

Jim Frame, president of the association, said the new fees would cost the organization an estimated $40,000 per season compared to the previous cost of $3,000 per season to use Claggett Middle School’s gym.

This year, the 450-player association had a $65 enrollment fee, but waived that fee for 50 players who received full scholarships. Frame said the association considered raising the rate to $175 per player and discontinuing the scholarships, but a poll concluded at least 20 percent of players could not afford the higher rate.

The decision to cancel the season “was based on the ethos of not leaving kids behind,” Frame said. “We are a rec league. Our goal is to supply for the C, the D player, and the kid with no money. What we cared about was keeping these kids out of trouble. And I think we did a darn good job of it over the years.

“We weren’t there for strictly basketball.”

Frame said the new school district fees include $45 per hour to use two gyms one night per week and all day Saturday. A gym custodian would cost the association $38 an hour, and there would be an additional $25 a day administration fee for filing gym rental paperwork every day the group rents the facilities.

Snow removal also would cost the group $45 as needed.

“Prior to the levy, we had essentially supplemented what it cost to supplement our facilities including custodial costs, utilities,” said Randy Stepp, superintendent of Medina City Schools. “ … No longer can we supplement the costs of our facilities.”

Stepp said that while all for-profit third parties paid for operational costs, the school district supplemented the costs for nonprofits like the Basketball Association.

After the 11.9-mill operating levy failed Nov. 3, the district considered barring use of its facilities to all groups unassociated with the schools, but then decided to open its facilities “to those who could afford them,” Stepp said.

He added the school district calculated the new fees to cover all the operating costs and also studied the fees of other area districts to determine the fees were fair.

“We’ve had a number of groups that are now using alternative sites. Some are going to churches. We still have some groups that are renting,” Stepp said.

For now, Frame said the association will “reassess” its position and try to find a solution, including a cheaper space. He said there are few places in Medina that are big enough to support the 450-player league.

“We’re not upset with the school board; the bottom line is that the levy failed,” Frame said.

“I’m angry but I don’t know at who.”

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@ohio.net.