There’s talk of changing how letter jackets are awarded at Hagerstown Jr.-Sr. High School.

Nettle Creek Schools board members agreed on Aug. 9 to ask the school’s athletic director to consider whether changes should be made to a system that has been in place for as long as anyone remembers. Board member Shaun Lieberman brought up the subject, showing the board a written statement made by someone who did not want to present it in person.

The statement compared letter jacket procedures at Hagerstown with those used by nearby schools. Hagerstown’s is based on a point system that is much more rigorous than any of the others, board members agreed.

“We make no considerations for achievements within sports,” Lieberman said. “You could be a four-year letter winner and go to state and not get a letter jacket.”

Board President Dan Davis Jr. said the subject has come up before because it is impossible to get a jacket by participating in only one sport. Most of the time, only seniors receive jackets. Using his daughter as an example, he said it was not possible for her to earn a jacket without working as a manager for the baseball team. He said a previous athletic director expressed worry that changing the standards might reduce the number of students participating in multiple sports.

But, said Davis, “Why do we not want more kids walking around with our letters?”

Board member Sandi Schraub said she agreed that students should be able to earn jackets earlier. But, she said, discussion should include reasons for establishing the present policy. Davis reminded the board that students could participate in four sports a year when the policy was established; now, it’s three.

Schraub also recalled, “When I was in school, girls got a ring, we did not get a jacket. It wasn’t allowed.”

Superintendent Emily Schaeffer said she would ask Athletic Director Scott Snodgrass to start a conversation about the letter jacket policy, including the Tiger Boosters, who pay for the jackets.

In other business, the board decided to sell a bond issue to raise money to update school facilities and for the purchase of school buses. The general obligation bond would raise about $1.2 million to be spent over five years. It would increase the school property tax rate by about 40 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Davis said even with the increase, Nettle Creek would have the lowest property tax rate of any Wayne County district.

Schaeffer told the board to expect a drop in revenue of about $100,000 this year because the state legislature has made it illegal to charge families for school textbooks and other materials. It’s expected that the state will provide about $150 additional per student, but that will not be enough to cover the lost funding.

The board also confirmed the following personnel changes that Schaeffer recommended.

Noncertified hirings: Alyssa Evans and Sarah Hall, both preschool/day care assistants; and Kylee Evans, HES instructional assistant.

Resignation: Sarah Coomer, nurse assistant.

The next regular board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, in the Hagerstown Elementary School LGI room, 299 N. Sycamore St. The public may attend.

Nettle Creek enrollment up

First-day enrollment increased at both Nettle Creek schools.

Principals at Hagerstown Elementary and Hagerstown Jr.-Sr. High School shared enrollment with the school board on Aug. 9. Tiffani Hokey said HES had 638 children enrolled. Josh Hallatt said the high school count was 534. Superintendent Emily Schaeffer said the grade school figure is up 16 since last spring, and the high school has 25 more students.

The elementary count includes preschool, which added a new section for 15 children aged 3 years old this fall. Hallett said 51 students at his building are new to the district.

The official enrollment count, which determines how much student aid the district gets, will be in October, Schaeffer said.

Both principals said school’s first day, on Aug. 9, went smoothly.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 16 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.