Financial Woes Leave Head Phys-ed Post Up In The Air

SIDELINES

October 23, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

One big "Q" needs answering as we jump into today's bundle of "questions without answers."

And remember, if you have any answers, comments or "Q's" of your own, please give me a call on the 24-hour Sportsline, 647-2499.

* Is the county going to fill the coordinator of physical education position when Paul Rusko leaves next Thursday?

His wife, Barbara, said that Rusko, who is in New Jersey this week for the Middle States Evaluation Conference, will make Oct. 31 his last day. He had retired at the end of the last school year, but stayed on via a personalservices contract.

"Paul told them Oct. 31 will be his last day,"said Barbara, who added that Paul had no idea what the county would do after that.

Rusko's personal services contract was up Sept. 30,but he was talked into staying another month while the naming of hissuccessorwas delayed.

A hiring freeze, the result of a county budget crisis, has prevented the from naming Rusko's successor. Six candidates, including two from the county, interviewed for the job, whichpays nearly $68,000.

Old Mill High athletic director Jim Dillon and Chesapeake High golf coach and physical-education teacher John Irvine were the only locals to apply for the job.

A recommendation has been made to Superintendent Larry L. Lorton, but a decision has been delayed while the hiring freeze continues.

The recommendation has not been made public. Cornelius B. Carter, the deputy superintendent, is filling in for Lorton, who is resting at home after becoming ill several weeks ago. He is expected back soon.

It is not known whether Lorton will name Rusko's successor uponhis return. The urgency is there with Rusko leaving next week, but the urgency of the budget crisis is far more important at this time.

The budget crisis, unfortunately, could temporarily cut athletics. With less high school sports, the job of physical education coordinator would be reduced to supervising in-school phys-ed programs.

Let's face it, the county could save money by hiring a part-timer to be coordinator during such tough times.

Tomorrow, County Executive Robert R. Neall is expected to present the school board with the amount of money they need to cut, putting the ball in its court as to what goes.

Warning shots already have been fired with the proposal to cut transportation and coaches' salaries for the winter and spring sports seasons. Such measureswould bring the high school sports program and other extracurricularactivities to a screeching halt.

Are parents ready to face the reality of "pay to play" in the future? Isn't paying a registration feefor high school sports, just as is done for youth and recreation sports, a way out of this mess?

Even if the coaches agreed to coach for nothing, does that mean the referees and officials should do likewise? How about bus drivers?

* Was Meade High girls soccer coach John O'Neill, who was suspended Monday for the rest of the season afterthe Columbus Day fiasco, made a scapegoat because he didn't have as much expertise in circumventing rules as some of the more experiencedcoaches?

Meade's girls team skipped school and practice Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 14 to play in a prestigious Washington Area Girls Soccer Tournament. Because he was honest about allowing them to play, O'Neill was suspended.

Severna Park coach Joyce Stefancik, North County's Marianne Shultz and Lin Sullivan of Chesapeake also had girlsplay in the WAGS, but none of them got nailed as O'Neill did. Is that fair?

All right, guys, who's going to be the first hoops coach (that's if we have basketball) to send his team as a club team on a tournament vacation to the Bahamas? Remember, don't worry about taking off school, that's no sweat. But don't forget to call off practice the days you are away.

Maybe the following should be etched in the student handbook: "Avoiding high school practice and game conflicts with outside teams should take preference over skipping class. Skippingclass is only a minor offense and not as criminal as skipping practice on a school day."

* Did you know that Al Smith, an air traffic controller, has been the public address announcer at every high school football game that Old Mill has played since the school opened in 1976?

* Can you believe some people out there actually thought I would be interested in cracking on the Old Mill marching band because it missed Saturday's homecoming?

Well, for your information, you bunch of agitators, the band was in Baltimore competing in a state tournament, and certainly that takes preference over any homecoming? Right?

* Wasn't it neat that host North County High arranged for the superb Severna Park High marching band to perform after the football game Friday night?

* How about that 28-20 North County upset of Severna Park Friday night? By beating one of the big boys in Class 4A, didn't Chuck Markiewicz finally put the seal of credibility on his run-and-shoot offense?

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