Supporters of starting sanctioned football teams in the White River Valley School District are planning to address the school board Thursday night.
They plan to have plenty of facts, statistics and reasons why now is the time to kick off a program at the school.
Worthington resident Leslie Wilhoite says the WRV Community Football League has proven it can be successful over the years and has averaged about 110 participants (grades K-12) for a number of years.
He contends the school district is directly losing money by not having of football program because a number of students have transferred to neighboring districts like Linton-Stockton, North Daviess, and Owen Valley, which have strong football traditions.
Wilhoite said with state support for each student at about $6,000 per year, even one or two students transferring has a financial impact.
He said seven or eight students have already left to attend North Daviess and a couple have gone to Owen Valley.
One player, Gus Hancock, recently graduated from Owen Valley High School and has received a scholarship to play football at St. Francis College.
"WRV is losing about two (students) a year the last three or four years. We believe that number has held consistent over time," he said.
Supporters say football will help slow that down.
"If that (football) saves two students from transferring out, it pays for itself in less than four years. It pays for the whole program. If it prevents the next two boys from transferring out, then it pays for the program," Wilhoite stated.
He added that he also knows of two high school age students who will transfer to North Daviess next year, if a program is not started at WRV in the fall.
"Football is not going to be a savior for all the financial problems, but it will help ... it's a piece of the puzzle that will help lead to a solution."
Wilhoite says the board will hear that the first year start-up costs will almost all be covered by funds and equipment that will be donated by the Community Football League, or a commitment to raise the needed money in a fundraising effort.
The league already has approved sideline benches, yard markers, goal posts, chain markers, helmets, and shoulder pads.
The major expense will be for a scoreboard and lighting.
Wilhoite said beverage manufacturers like Pepsi and Coke can usually be counted on to donate a scoreboard.
He said the electrical company that serves Switz City will be solicited to donate lighting equipment.
Organizers will also donate their time to operate the concession stand and turn the profits back to the school district in exchange for allowing the lower grade leagues to also be played on the WRV field in Switz City, Wilhoite pledged.
Currently the community league plays its home games at a field located next to White River Valley Worthington Elementary School.
"We have been able to generate a profit where parents are the only spectators. We should be able to do much better here (at the high school)," he said.
Wilhoite said the football program advocates have had their ideas turned back in the past by the school board after questions were raised about finances. This time, the board will hear how the cost to the school district will be minimal.
"We've looked at every avenue and answered every question about costs to make it zero," Wilhoite said.
Wilhoite said league officials have conferred often with school officials from both Eastern Greene and Linton-Stockton to get some idea of what is expected in terms of revenues.
The Eastern School District pays about $3,500 to cover he cost of the insurance rider for its football program, he said.
Wilhoite said WRV will be asked to pay for the head coach's salary with the rest of the staff operating on a volunteer basis.
So far, Wilhoite said reception in private talks with some board members has been mixed.
He said there is interest in the head coaching position from a current WRV staff member.
As proposed, the first two years will be a junior varsity program, then graduating to a varsity-level competition the third year.
Wilhoite said a survey of high school level students taken in the fall showed at least 26 who said they would participate in a program if WRV started one.
"A good target would be 40 to start a program," Wilhoite said. "We think we can easily hit 50. We don't think numbers will be a problem at all."
The public school board meeting will be conducted starting at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. The meeting will be preceded by an executive session at 6 p.m. to discuss personnel.