Fee Talk Has Coaches on Edge

East Hampton’s school board convened to consider various fees attending the use of the district’s fields and gyms

   Coaches of youth sports programs at a special meeting of East Hampton’s school board Monday night convened to consider various fees attending the use of the district’s fields and gyms here on weekends claimed that added costs would effectively lessen participation, and would in time erode the competitiveness of Bonac’s teams.
    Security, the Little League baseball, youth lacrosse, Biddy basketball, and Police Athletic League football coaches said, could continue to be adequately handled by coaches and volunteer parents — an assertion with which the board, which had charged P.A.L. football $20.75 an hour for security on weekends last fall, seemed to agree.
    When Jackie Lowey, a board member, alluded to what she thought was a high-priced $18,000 district security analysis about to be undertaken, Robert Aspenleiter said Protective Countermeasures, “a global security consulting firm” with which he is associated, would have done the work for half that provided the remainder was used to bolster youth sports programs.
    There was talk as well of off-season sports camp arrangements — whether, for instance, East Hampton coaches associated with them ought to be paid, a question the board is expected to mull further — and of adult user groups, limited for the present to rugby and running at the high school, and to men’s basketball at the middle school.
    Novella Waygood, a mother of three sons, one a ninth grader in the high school and one a fifth grader who’s a gifted athlete, said, with tears in her eyes, that she was extremely grateful to the youth coaches — Bill McKee, Chris Stuart, Don Reese and Dave Rutkowski among them — for making athletics affordable to her children and to others in need. Their children’s prowess would ultimately redound to the school’s credit, she said, in arguing that these programs ought not to be hampered in any way.
    For-profit groups apparently are forbidden to use school grounds at the moment, though Tim Brenneman, whose son, Zach, an all-American lacrosse midfielder when he was at Notre Dame, ran a successful youth lacrosse camp at the town-owned Stephen Hand’s Path fields last summer, said nonprofits made money too, and thus when it came to considering who could and who could not use school property for clinics and camps and such the question of money ought to be moot.
    And finally, the family of Bud Collum, who live on the other side of the football practice field, said that while they had nothing against athletics, couldn’t the porta potties alongside the bleachers and the hot dog and hamburger stands customarily set up next to the track shed be moved, and couldn’t the music, aside from that played by the band at football games, be toned down?