Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Area school board weighs allowing parents to watch children perform for free

Starting this fall, parents might not have to pay to see their children perform at halftime of Bald Eagle Area School District athletic events.

The BEA school board voted Thursday to consider a proposal to allow free admission for parents of guest halftime performers such as athletes, cheerleaders and band musicians. At the meeting, local parent and youth soccer supporter Dana Van Cise asked that board members grant the exemption in time for an upcoming halftime demonstration of two youth traveling teams at a varsity boys’ game.

Board members agreed unanimously to form a committee and discuss creating a policy that would apply for all sports.

“If we do it for one, we’d do it across the board,” said Superintendent Jeff Miles.

Miles said other local school districts require parents of performers to buy tickets for events, even if shows only last for a few minutes. But, he said, the board is willing to discuss the possibility of limited free admission.

Because the game in question will occur before the next board meeting, board members also voted to authorize in advance any free admission plan devised by the committee.

“We’ll hash it out, mull it over, and see if we’ll come up with a compromise that suits the whole district,” Miles said.

Van Cise suggested requiring exempted parents to gather at designated gates at certain times for admission. Board President Tom Letterman had reservations.

“I think the big issue would be how would we administer it?” he said.

In other business, Miles reported to the board that the school district is studying security measures newly adopted by Bellefonte Area School District.

Particularly, Miles said, the district is interested in Bellefonte’s use of the Schoolgate Guardian system which scans driver’s licenses of visitors, searches the Megan’s Law database for registered sex offenders and, if no alert pops up, issues a time-sensitive badge.

Miles said the system would cost the district about $1,800 for each installation, and then $345 a year to maintain each.

“Which is peanuts when we’re talking about the safety of our children,” he said.