Donations from sports booster clubs and other traditions that have the end result of giving male teams preferential treatment must change soon to ensure female teams are treated fairly.
That's the recommendation the Gender Equity Committee presented to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education yesterday.
The findings are the result of a study that found girls teams were treated unfairly.
The study, which the committee conducted last year, found several violations of a federal law requiring gender equity in educational programs.
Chief among the problems cited was a tendency to give boys' teams the prime 7 p.m. start times for games, a time when more parents are likely to attend. Most girls' games start at 5 p.m.
Carol Stott, a Severna Park parent who served on the committee, said there also may be a problem with schools' accepting money raised by sports booster clubs.
"It's hard to tell the boys' soccer parents after they've raised money that they have to support the girls' team, too," Mrs. Stott told the eight board members. "But you and the superintendent have a responsibility. If you're receiving something for the boys' clubs, you have an obligation to do something for the girls' clubs.
The school system contributes the same amount to girls' and boys' sports, but inequities can result when booster clubs make donations for field improvements and other benefits, committee members said.
Marlene L. Kelly, the committee chairwoman and a teacher specialist in physical education and athletics, said other problems were found with how schools account for donations and money received from gate receipts. Each of the county's 12 high schools uses a different budget format, she said.
Another problem is that girls' teams get less playing time on the best ball fields. Mrs. Stott said she has seen some booster clubs upgrade a boys' baseball field but leave the girls' softball field looking like a "cow pasture."
The committee also noted that men hold all of the athletic director positions at the county's high schools.
In other action:
* The school board approved hiring two new assistant superintendents, at least one of whom will earn $89,500 a year.
Superintendent Carol S. Parham named Walter N. Chitwood, the county's chief administrative officer, as the new assistant superintendent for administration of the school system. Mr. Chitwood has worked in county government for 19 years, serving as director of recreation and parks, and director of public works. His salary has not been settled but will range from $59,721 to $89,582, a school spokeswoman said.
Dr. Parham also named Aquine Jackson assistant superintendent for student support services. Dr. Jackson had been the director of student services for the Milwaukee public school system. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin. His annual salary will be $89,500.
* School board members also named Michael A. Pace board president. Thomas Twombly, president during the past year, will be vice president.