On February 3, the School Board unexpectedly voted on whether girls’ varsity field hockey should be a parent funded (Tier 2) or LCPS funded (Tier 1) sport. By a vote of 4-5 Tier 1 was denied, and Tier 2 was accepted. The vote was unexpected because the Superintendent’s budget included field hockey as a Tier 1 sport, and it was anticipated that the School Board would not examine the question of Tier 1/Tier 2 until their budget reconciliation meetings in March – after the Board of Supervisors completed their review of the budget.
After hearing about this decision, we encouraged you to reach out to your board member and advocate fully funding girls’ field hockey as a Tier 1 sport. Some of you have received responses from your board members or seen posts by board members refuting some of the information provided in our previous email. Some board member responses and posts indicate that Tier 2 status for field hockey was decided upon when field hockey was recognized by the board as a varsity sport. This is simply incorrect. We invite you to watch the video of the board’s vote on May 26, 2015. Attached is a link to the video of that board meeting. You can adjust where to start watching the video, and we recommend watching from 1:50:07 to 1:51:50 (a little over a minute).
The board explicitly states that it will not be deciding field hockey’s status until their budget discussions in the spring. The unexpected vote on February 2nd eliminated our opportunity to provide information and advocate for field hockey’s Tier 1 status. We simply ask that the board retain an open mind and consider all the positives that come from adopting girls’ varsity field hockey as a fully funded Tier 1 sport, and reconsider their position during budget reconciliation.
As a further note, some board members have stated that field hockey was not funded in the superintendent’s proposed budget. An individual line item about field hockey is not in the superintendent’s proposed budget. Nor is there a statement regarding Tier 1 or Tier 2. However, it is our understanding, that various generically stated items in the budget include the costs associated with fully funding girls’ varsity field hockey. So maybe it’s a matter of semantics, but we continue to believe the superintendent’s proposed budget included full funding of girls’ field hockey.
What’s more important to remember is that, we appreciate the School Board’s recognition of field hockey as a varsity sport, and that implementation of field hockey as a Tier 1 sport provides the better path forward for our female student athletes, the school system, and Loudoun County.
We continue to encourage you to advocate for field hockey’s Tier 1 (fully funded) status. Here are some points to consider, but please write an original email (players, in particular, will want to express their personal concerns and importance of playing for their high school):
• Loudoun County is the only county out of the top 10 counties in Virginia that does not fully support girls’ field hockey.
• Over 350 players in grades 6-12 play in the substitute recreation league known as the Loudoun County League and over 240 elementary and middle school players play in the recreation league hosted by Potomac Field Hockey.
• 12 High Schools fielded teams this fall in the Loudoun County League.
• Size of the sport matters! Girls’ field hockey is prolific, not in just one or two high schools, yet some high school communities may not be able to financially support a girls’ field hockey team under Tier 2. Tier 2 may create a haves and have-nots in sports of this size.
• Because almost every high school in Loudoun County can field a girls’ varsity field hockey team, Tier 2 status will place an exceptional burden on the Principals and ADs of Loudoun County.
• Tier 1 removes the cloud that our female athletes are not being treated in the same manner as our male athletes.
• Tier 1 meets the best interests of our female field hockey student athletes.
• Field hockey is an Olympic sport for both men and women.
• Field hockey for girls will get them more involved and engaged creating better academic performance.
• In many other counties and states, field hockey is THE big fall sport for girls
• Adding field hockey helps create a climate for success
• Many colleges/universities in Virginia have field hockey programs and offer scholarship opportunities