Friday, July 15, 2011

Schools accused in federal complaint

U.S. Ed Department reviewing opportunities for female athletics

Express Staff Writer

Heather Crocker

Wood River High School and Carey School are among 100 schools in Idaho accused of failing to provide equal opportunities for female students.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Education is evaluating recently filed complaints to determine whether the Idaho schools are in compliance with Title IX, a federal law requiring that school districts that receive federal funding provide equitable opportunities in sports for boys and girls alike.

Schools ultimately determined not to be in compliance could possibly lose federal funding. The Associated Press reported that the federal officials have declined to identify the complaining parties.

The Blaine County School District receives about $1.4 million annually in federal funding, earmarked mainly for programs for economically disadvantaged students or children with learning disabilities. The school district's total budget for Fiscal Year 2012 is $76.2 million.

"We are committed to equitable opportunities for all of our students and we've always strived to be in compliance with Title IX," school district spokeswoman Heather Crocker said Wednesday. "For instance, when our baseball field was built at Wood River High School, a softball field was built, also."

Crocker pointed out that the district's high schools provide numerous opportunities in sports for female athletes, including track and field, cross-country running, volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball. She noted that girls have even participated in the past in boys' football.

"Perhaps the only area we might be out of compliance in is wrestling," Crocker said.

Terry Smith:

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