- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

SITKA, Alaska (AP) - The Sitka School District has reached a settlement that will give the high school baseball and softball teams equitable time to practice and play at the city-owned field.

Superintendent Mary Wegner told the school board this week that an agreement had been signed with the person who filed the complaint under a federal anti-discrimination law. The agreement was “very realistic, and something that will help us move our initiative forward in sharing Moller Field,” Wegner said.

The city-owned field opened in 2012 following renovations. Baseball, which historically played there, claimed the new field, though accommodations were provided for softball games.

The equitable time agreement will help the district avoid further investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, KCAW reported (https://bit.ly/1z38OW4 ). District officials had worried that such an investigation would put some programs at risk.

Softball coach Bob Potrzuski said he was excited by the agreement, which will require the district to develop a plan this fall for scheduling varsity baseball and softball teams for the 2015 season.

He said the agreement has asserted the school district’s authority to assign the field to high school teams.

Sitka’s municipal government is considering asking the Legislature for $1.5 million in renovations to the Frank Vilandre Field at Blatchley Middle School so it can be used for softball and Little League.

Potrzuski, while content with the recent settlement, wouldn’t say no to a new field.

“If the community can bear it, if the state can bear it, if this is something that certainly people bigger than me think that they can provide for our kids, I’m all for it,” he said.

While Potrzuski has advocated for equity for his team, he did not file the complaint. That individual’s name has been held confidential and will remain so.


Information from: KCAW-FM, https://www.kcaw.org

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