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Skaneateles school board asked to consider supporting ski racing team

SKANEATELES | Parents of student skiers in Skaneateles want to  establish Onondaga County’s only high school varsity alpine ski team.

Susan and Keith Gorman addressed the school board Tuesday and explained the rationale in support of the idea of building a team in Skaneateles. Since 2011, students have combined their skills with skiers and competed under the auspices of the Manlius Pebble Hill School team.

In that time, approximately 53 percent, or 17 or 32 of the team’s total skiers qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship. Any medals or trophies won by Skaneateles students, however, are housed at Manlius Pebble Hill, Susan Gorman said.

“They’re no longer going to support a team,” she said of the Manlius Pebble Hill ski team.

According to Skaneateles Athletic Director Stacy Tice, the Manlius Pebble Hill teams’ numbers have flagged and the majority of skiers on the team hailed from Skaneateles. Manlius Pebble Hill has opted not to continue to support a team, but would be willing to combine with Skaneateles if the district were to build a team.

Gorman spelled out an estimated budget of $14,885 to put a team together to compete in the 2014-2015 school year. The budget includes traveling to Song Mountain Resort twice a week to receive training and practice, while the balance of the week is spent in the Skaneateles wellness center focusing on skill and strength training.

Skaneateles parents, the proposal states, would begin a booster club to help off-set costs associated with overnight trips, hotels, meals and other travel expenses.

The proposal lists 12 potential Skaneateles students who have expressed an interest in a school team along with 10 students who would ski as independents for the team from Manlius Pebble Hill, Cicero-North Syracuse, Tully, Marcellus and Liverpool.

Board member Tom Lambdin said he’s spoken with parents who’ve lamented the loss of the school’s recreational ski club. Gorman pointed out that the team is open to all interested skiers, with or without previous experience.

“Absolutely no one gets cut,” she said.

The school board will consider the proposal before voting on it June 17.

Also at the non-voting meeting, the board learned that Interim Superintendent Judith Pastel will stay on for up to as many as 15 days past the end of her contract. She stays at the request of Kenneth Slentz, the incoming superintendent, to stem the administrative overlap between his entry to the district and her exit. Pastel will be paid on a per diem basis for the days she ends up staying.