By Mitch Kaskie
The Shawnee Mission school board unanimously approved the a sponsorship agreement with First National Bank Wednesday that will help the district offset some of the start up costs of re-launching middle school sports next yer.
The contract agreement states that First National Bank will pay $25,000 to the district as a sponsorship fee in and in return will be the exclusive sponsor of girls and boys cross country and basketball, boys wrestling and girls volleyball.
The overall budget for middle school sports in 2014-2015 is about $300,000. According to Shawnee Mission superintendent Dr. Jim Hinson, about $150,000 of that — including the sponsorship money — will be used as a one-time expenditure to purchase start up equipment.
Shawnee Mission has not had school sponsored sports in its middle schools for almost three decades. The district hopes that the addition will help kids stay more involved, as well as prepare them for high school athletics.
“We have looked at successful high school programs around the state,” Hinson said after the board meeting. “Those that have middle school sports are consistently more successful than those who don’t have middle school sports.”
The agreement between the district and First National Bank will run through May 2015, as presently set.
Six school sponsored sports will finally be back to the halls of Shawnee Mission middle schools this fall.
“Its really been phenomenal,” Hinson said. “We’ve had great, great feedback from our community about adding middle school sports.”