By Susan Tebben
The Austintown Board of Education this week heard concerns about sports transportation for students.
The topic was brought up by the parent of a member of the Austintown Fitch High School bowling team.
Kim Veltri told the board and Superintendent Vincent Colaluca that she didn’t see how it was fair for one group of parents to transport and take on the liability of taking students to away matches, when other groups don’t have to.
“You wouldn’t dare ask the football parents to take their kids to away games,” Veltri said. “You wouldn’t ask the basketball kids’ parents, either.”
The bowling team, for example, is a legitimate, scholarship-gaining sport for students, Veltri said, so parents who pay taxes just as the other sports parents do deserve some answers.
“The only thing you provide for us is your name,” she said. “I don’t understand how you justify for some and not for all.”
At the very least, she said, the board could make a donation to the bowling team’s booster club.
Colaluca said he has attended bowling matches and hopes that the lack of transportation from the school is only temporary.
“We do value bowling but we are having trouble having enough drivers,” Colaluca said. “As we are speaking, drivers are getting trained.”
Athletic director Rob Conklin said in an ideal world, all sports would be transported by school buses, but the inflexibility of schedules with golf and bowling — sports played in public venues — causes issues with bus availability.
“The struggles we face with regard to transportation are simply due, from an athletic standpoint, to two aspects: a shortage of bus drivers and ... start times beyond our control because they involve public venues,” Conklin said. “All the other sports have some sort of flexibility.”