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District Called to Examine Athletic Camp Management

Courtney Cameron

Officials from Westerly (R.I.) High School are scheduled to come before the School Committee to discuss potential administration improvements for the school’s athletic camps.

WHS principal Michael Hobic, athletic director Jamey Vetelino and head football coach Duane Maranda met Wednesday with the committee to present an overview of the management of the camps. 

Superintendent Mark Garceau told The Westerly Sun that a number of questions have been raised by the community regarding the district’s athletics programs, fundraising and camps, specifically with regard to how compensation is directed to camp employees. 

According to Vetelino, the current system — which directs camp workers’ pay through the school district payroll system — was devised with the help of former district finance director Barbara Perino.

The purpose of the athletic camps, Vetelino said, was “to increase the number of kids in our community who are interested not only in that sport but are now interested in Westerly High School specifically and in that sport.”

Hobin and Maranda confirmed the existence of a second football boosters program that has been working to support WHS sports teams, providing funding for football camps as well as team dinners.

The School Committee expressed concerns that it had been told there was only one booster organization in Westerly. Hobbins answered those concerns by explaining that the new organization is not considered to be a school district organization. 

Committee member Mary Adams told officials, “The School Committee has a fundraising policy for a reason and that's to not put undue strain on the community. I'm also concerned about the strain on students. I don't want students to feel like they have to fundraise.”

Committee member Christine Cooke added that while the camps are an important recruiting tool, it has become evident that the district needs to examine business practices that may be distracting from its educational mission. Hobin agreed that the system has room to improve.

Vetelino has been asked to continue working with the municipal recreation department to explore a future partnership that could handle the administration of the camps.

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