Anyone attending the Scott County Board of Education meeting Thursday received a marvelous lesson in civics and civility from supporters of the Scott County High School baseball team.
The room was packed with players, coaches and parents concerned board members planned to require the team to play its 2020 season at a field at Lemons Mill Elementary instead of Sutton Field because of inadequate lights.
SCHS has played at Sutton Field for decades and everyone expressed the importance of continuing that tradition. Three coaches, two players and two parents urged the board to reconsider, but they did so in a respectful yet powerful argument. SCHS baseball coach Scott Willard presented the heart, school Athletic Director Steve Helton presented the head and football coach Jim McKee lifted the mood.
They were effective as the board tabled plans to improve the field at LME until more research could be completed.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub believes there is a misunderstanding at the heart of the matter. A board attorney warned members the school system could not pay for lights at Sutton Field because it is owned by the county and managed by the Georgetown/Scott County Parks & Recreation Department. Earlier this year, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association warned SCHS lights at Sutton Field, which is located across from the school in Brooking Park, were inadequate and no games would be sanctioned until the lights were replaced.
No agreement has been made but it would seem the Scott County Fiscal Court is willing to work with the school system for new lights, but would expect the school system to share in the cost. That is reasonable. How that is structured can certainly be handled by attorneys so that all legal requirements are met, as the two have shared Sutton Park longer for decades, some say going back to at least the 1980s.
Beyond that, the optics for the school board are poor.
Some $23 million plus is being spent on an athletic complex at Great Crossing High School, yet the board hesitates to help upgrade lights at a field SCHS has rented for decades.
Because of finances, SCHS has played its football, baseball, softball, tennis and other sports off campus for years.
SCHS supporters made an impassioned but eloquent case supporting Sutton Field and the school board responded but stopped short of supporting the installation of new lights.
We trust the school board, fiscal court and Parks & Rec along with its attorneys can find a legal and reasonable solution that allows the SCHS baseball team to remain at Sutton Field for the foreseeable future.
And kudos to those who spoke on SCHS’ behalf Thursday night. You taught everyone attending a lesson in civics.