CCS Board President Tim Hayes, standing at left, tells 200 people who filled the high school auditorium that the half-hour allotted to public comment was over.  Flanking him, from left, are school board members Tony Scalici and Matt Schuermann, Superintendent Bill Crankshaw, and school board members Marielle Ainsworth, the vice president, and Wendy Kiuber and Marcy Birch. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

The football program has bad years, then rebounds, parent Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, told the crowd.

COOPERSTOWN – Some 200 people filled the high school cafeteria for a half-hour this evening, expressing fears to the Cooperstown Central school board that the development of the 2020-21 budget would bring an end to varsity football and curtail other extra-curricular activities.

Tim Ives: Don’t “cut the head off the snake.”

Despite the size of the crowd, school board President Tim Hayes cut off discussion after the 30 minutes scheduled for public input.  “There is no plan right now,” he said, although the school board is considering all options in its budget deliberations.  Decisions will have to be made by May, when the school budget goes to a public vote.

Parent Tom Ives, Mount Vision, described ending football as “cutting the head off the snake,” suggesting that all the striving, discipline and community spirit engendered by the sports – the body of the snake – will die, too.

Mike Perrino: Sports teaches young people how to win — and lose.

Parent and coach Michael Perrino spoke of “what athletics means” to youthful development.   Players are “inspired to work together,” he said, adding, “One of the best things you learn is how to lose.”

Parent Frank Panzarella praised the football program, but was also worried about other possible changes:  He’s heard the girls swimming team maybe folded into the boys’ team instead of competing against other girls, or the boys’ into the girls’.

Parent Matt Phillips, CCS ’02, who works at the Clark Sports Center, said “if not for the football program, I wouldn’t have come to school.”

While CCS football has hit hard times in the past – it has been scaled back to an eight-man program so a team could be fielded – it has rebounded, he said: “My junior year, we won one game. My senior year, we were undefeated.

Parent Frank Panzarella: Football, and what else?

His daughter, Leah, is continuing the family tradition by playing with the team.  “She even talks about playing for the NFL some day,” Phillips said, a comment which won supportive laughter and applause.

Athletic Director Dave Bertram, noting there’s no bigger supporter of in-school athletics then he, echoed Hayes:  There’s no plan, “we’re not at the point where there’s a decision to be made.”

“The hardest thing,” he said, “is our population keeps going down.”

Superintendent Bill Crankshaw emphasized that point in preliminary budget discussions that followed:  In 2007, there were 1,048 students K-12; today, there are 850 – a 19 percent drop.

“We are forced to make decisions that don’t feel great,” he told board members.


  1. Rick Hulse Sr.

    From Rick Hulse Sr.
    The Concerned Citizens group saw the severe declining enrollment situation 15 years ago when the biggest turnout in CCS history defeated a bloated capital project in a landslide. In subsequent years the question of “what is the plan” was continually asked about how to deal with enrollment but to no avail. 2005 budget $13,240,000 and 1154 students. 2020 budget $20,000,000 and 831 students. A BOCES report put CCS at 600 in this decade.
    For 15 years we have been whistling by the cemetery.
    Merge while we are still viable and waste no time doing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.