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Brandon Schools sports survey, budget, more

November 16, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- Sports surveys, the necessity for defibrillators and CPR training, budget tactics, and an opportunity for parents to volunteer their time in exchange for pay-to-participate fees were among the topics of discussion at the district's athletic committee meeting Nov. 14.

Parents and student athletes can help improve the sports programs in the school district by answering a simple survey.

The survey is available at and is timely with the conclusion of the fall sports season. Click on the athletics page at the website, then on "end of season survey" and print. Surveys can then be turned into the athletic or central district offices, 1025 S. Ortonville Road, where they can also be obtained.

The survey allows respondents to rate facilities, communication, coaching, equipment and player development from very poor to excellent. Comment boxes are also provided, allowing for suggestions for improving specific sports or the athletic program as a whole. Respondents can be anonymous, but are asked which sport their child particated in. Responses enable Athletic Director Don Watchowski to see which areas need improvement.

Parents who are looking for a way to better afford pay-to-participate fees for district sports will now have an option to volunteer their time in place of paying cash. Watchowski needs adults to operate the scoreboards at sporting events and in exchange, volunteers can reduce or eliminate their fees, depending on the number of hours devoted. For more information, call the athletic office at 248-627-1827.

A recent story in the news of a student athlete outside the district whose life was saved by the use of an on-site defibrillator after he suffered cardiac arrest at a sporting event has sparked the Brandon athletic committee to pursue the purchase of more such medical equipment for the district.

There are currently two automated external defibrillator (AED) units in the district, one kept at the Brandon High School gymnasium, and another which the athletic trainer keeps and takes to all events he attends.

"We are investigating how we can increase the number of AED units we have," said Superintendent Lorrie McMahon. "They are very expensive, but it's also a safety issue. We would like one at the pool, as well as at every building and the tennis courts— anywhere the kids are so it is available immediately. You can't take five minutes to run and get it, it needs to be right there."

The devices, she said, cost at least $1,500 each and are designed to give directions to users unfamiliar with CPR or first aid training. However, the committee would also like to implement a training program for all coaches in the district to use the defibrillators.

Lastly, the athletic committee discussed the athletic budget and will take a novel approach to it this year— tracking each season and costs for each sport to get a handle on specific spending.

"We will get a right down to the penny handle on the athletic budget," said McMahon. "In the past, we handled it in a much more general fashion. The new approach will help us know specifically what sports cost what, if there is an area that needs more support and another area where we can take money from. When you can see that, you can plan your budget much better. There are no more cuts currently planned to the athletic budget. We are finding across the district we have already cut as much as we can."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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