NEWPORT — It looks like Nokomis Regional High School will have freshman and junior varsity teams this winter and spring after all.
Those teams — as well as school-provided transportation for varsity teams to road games — were eliminated as part of across-the-board cuts made earlier this month. Nokomis athletic director Earl Anderson said the teams will be privately funded.
“We are in the fundraising mode,” Anderson said. “A lot of people came forward. They made a proposal to the superintendent.”
A proposal by Regional School Unit 19 for voters to approve a $3.6 million loan was defeated on Election Day.
RSU 19 includes the towns of Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport, Palmyra, Plymouth, and St. Albans. Many of the cuts that were made involve programs at Nokomis Regional High School, including all JV programs for winter and spring sports and travel for athletic teams to road games.
RSU 19 plans to ask the eight towns to approve a $2.9 million loan.
At Tuesday night’s RSU 19 Board of Directors’ meeting in the Nokomis library, superintendent Greg Potter said if the school unit does not get a loan, “the budgeting process is going to be, I think, essentially doubled in terms of degree of difficulty. There’s a lot riding on this next attempt at a loan. There’s no question.”
Estimates from the board of directors and Anderson peg the needed amount at around $30,000. Anderson was hopeful that money will be raised.
One person who is helping to raise money is Adam Littlefield, a 2007 Nokomis graduate who played basketball and baseball for the Warriors. Littlefield said he has received pledges and checks totaling $15,000 to $20,000.
“I think the first 15 has gone very easily,” Littlefield said. “It’s the next 15 that’s going to be a problem.”
But Littlefield, who said he has two cousins who attend Nokomis, added the response has been great so far.
“People are more willing to pay money to a booster program or a bunch of volunteers raising money than (by) paying taxes,” he said. “There aren’t very many people who are saying no to donating, which is a very positive feeling overall.”
Litttlefield said even people and businesses from outside the RSU 19 towns have donated money. He said the goal is to raise $50,000 for the athletic program, so there is a cushion on hand if the same problem arises again.
“The reputation of Nokomis, especially with the budget situation, is that it’s a second-tier school, and it’s really not,” Littlefield said. “The teachers and the faculty really care about the students.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Nokomis principal Mary Nadeau commended the teachers for buying some of their own supplies, saying, “I know that they have been shelling out of their pockets left and right.”
“Our sports programs have really brought the community together,” Littlefield said. “There’s an energy in our athletic program that you don’t see in other places.”
People wishing to donate or get more information can go to the Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/NokomisRegionalHighAllSportsBoosters or to http://www. gofundme.com/1jjqk0 .
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243