CONTACT: Pavi’Elle Phillips
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF DR. STEVE GALLON III
August 14, 2020
At the School Board Meeting of August 12, 2020, the Miami-Dade County School Board approved Board Agenda Item H-9 regarding the exploration of withdrawal of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) from the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) proffered by Vice-Chair Dr. Steve Gallon III. The item received unanimous approval and co-sponsorship from Chairwoman Perla Tabares Hantman, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Ms. Susie Castillo, Dr. Lawrence Feldman, Dr. Marta Perez, and Ms. Maria Teresa Rojas.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is committed to students’ participation in interscholastic sports. In doing so, it recognizes athletics as a mainstay of school districts, schools, and more importantly, the learning and life experiences of students. In fact, research has shown that athletics, specifically at the high school level, provides a vehicle that improves students’ citizenship, sportsmanship, self-discipline, physical and emotional wellness, and their grade point averages.
M-DCPS’ relationship with the FHSAA has been widely discussed in the past and has been recently a subject of Board action. At the School Board Meeting of December 19, 2018, the Board unanimously approved School Board Agenda Item H-11 Revised as proposed by School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III which directed the Superintendent to review district schools’ compliance and alignment with FHSAA bylaws and guidelines for classification of member schools, review and discuss findings with a Task Force comprised of principals, athletic directors, and coaches, as well as members of the District Athletic Advisory Committee and Greater Miami Athletic Conference, and provide guidance and direction to ensure appropriate alignment with School Board Policy and related guidelines stipulated in FHSAA. These actions were followed by significant reclassification changes made by the FHSAA in alignment with those called for by the Board. A record seven high school football teams went to the Florida High School Athletic Association football championships and all seven returned home winners, capturing 7 out of 8 possible titles.
Additionally, at the School Board Meeting of February 12, 2020, the Board again unanimously approved School Board Agenda Item H-8 Revised. This item called for a review of the financial costs of schools’ participation in FHSAA postseason competition and/or state championship series events, the revenue received from the FHSAA for participating in such events, and resulting deficits, that may result to a school for said participation. This item also called for communication with the FHSAA to explore and request verification from the Chief Auditor, where needed, a review of the existing revenue sharing criteria to address such deficits, where they may exist. Lastly, it also called for the Superintendent to make recommendations to the Board, where appropriate, on any changes to policy, participation, and/or 2020 legislative platform to ameliorate any and all financial deficits and/or inequities that may result in a school’s participation in postseason competition and/or state championship series events.
This item directed the Superintendent to review the current relationship between M-DCPS and the FHSAA as it relates to competition, finance, revenue, and related operational impact that provides for the health, safety, and overall welfare of students; meet with the FHSAA to review status of pending issues and requests approved by the Board that have not been responded to; contemplate partnerships with other school districts and/or corporations that may promote and/or sponsor a more fair, equitable, safe, and beneficial program of activities or structure for interscholastic sports; work with legislators to review current statute and consider new or amended legislation regarding interscholastic sports in the state of Florida; contemplate and review the feasibility and legality of being a part of an existing and/or newly established association for interscholastic sports; and provide an update to the Board, inclusive of any and all short and/or long term recommendations regarding its relationship with the FHSAA and/or the future association of interscholastic sports in M-DCPS.
“I appreciate the support of my colleagues and their recognition of the value of our district reexamining the role and relationship of the FHSAA, and exploring alternate and innovative means to support interscholastic sports in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools,” said Dr. Gallon. “This is a critical first step in us ensuring that we consider the most appropriate, prudent, and beneficial pathway to protect and provide for high quality, competitive, and equitable athletic programs for our district, schools, and most importantly, our students—now and for the future.”