EFFINGHAM – The Effingham Unit #40 Board of Education approved a measure Monday night that will establish a Junior High cross country program in the district effective next fall. Discussions of starting the program at the Junior High emerged after there was concern that students in the High School Cross Country program weren’t as prepared as they should be coming in as freshman. Board Member Chris Koester said the solution was to get kids running earlier.
“If you talk to high school cross country coaches, including Jen Kirk who’s wonderful, you really need to have the kids start running in sixth and seventh grade rather than being a freshman,” Koester said. “And given the fact that it’s inexpensive, and such a worthwhile activity, it seemed to make a lot of sense and I’m glad the board members agreed.”
Superintendent Mark Doan estimates that operating the program will run the district between $4000 and $4500 a year. Some of that cost, around $1500, will be subsidized by the Effingham Sportsbackers. Around 25 students, both girls and boys, expressed interest in the program.
Board member Carol Ruffner voted no to establishing cross county at the Junior High level. She said that she’d rather see the money spent on education instead of athletics.
Chris Koester on his support of the program.