School asks council to waive fees for stadium

Published 10:15 pm Monday, September 25, 2017

Ellwood Christian Academy has asked the Selma City Council to waive the fee it charges for the use of Memorial Stadium.

Ellwood’s football team uses the stadium for its home games. ECA athletic director Denisha Hendricks said the school couldn’t afford the fees of $400 per game.

So far this year, Ellwood has played three away games and moved it’s one home match against Loachapoka to Keith High School. The Eagles have four more home games scheduled against A.L. Johnson, Notasulga, Autaugaville and Southside Selma.

Hendricks said the school’s enrollment has decreased from 194 students last year to 120. She reported to the council that 90 percent of ECA students live within the city limits, and 95 are on free or reduced lunch.

“Due to the decline in enrollment and the socio-economic level of the students — even though it is a private institution — we are requesting a fee waiver to utilize Memorial Stadium for the remainder of the season,” Hendricks said.

The new athletic director said she had been on the job for two weeks but wanted the school and city to be good partners.

Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said Hendricks lived in her district and encouraged the council to support the measure during Tuesday’s meeting. Benjamin said Councilwoman Susan Youngblood, whose district includes Ellwood Christian — also supports the fee waiver.

“We would love to have your support Tuesday,” Benjamin said.

Other council members were hesitant about what kind of precedent the fee waiver would set.

Other local schools use the stadium throughout the year.

Selma High School hosts all its home football games at Memorial Stadium. Dallas County High School and Southside Selma also held a jamboree game there to kick off the season in August.

“Hopefully we are not setting a precedent. I think for every other school that utilizing the stadium there is a cost attached to it,” Councilman Johnnie Leashore said. “I’m pretty sure they are going to expect to receive some assistance. Am I correct?”