The sounds of "Play Ball" will not be heard on a baseball diamond for the Skyline Thunderbirds.

In a vote of five against and one in favor, the Skyline Board of Education voted down the proposal to add baseball/softball to the Skyline athletic program Monday night at their regular monthly meeting.

The single vote in favor of starting the program was cast by board member Jeff Slade.

When it became clear the board members present wanted to cast a vote and settle the issue, board member Jerry DeWeese said it would be in the best interest of the board to have all members present to vote on the issue.

Two members, Joe Novotny and Rex Robinson were both absent from the meeting but were available over the phone.

Calls were made to both and they were put on speakerphone. Novotny said he was concerned the addition of another sport would hurt the existing sports program.

Robinson said he wasn't sure the district could financially take on the additional program even though Mark Etsell, who championed the addition of the program, said he was certain funding for starting the program could be raised.

It was clear from the numbers for softball that it would not be possible to field a softball team even if the board approved.

"Softball is not a 'go,' not with those numbers," said Board President Robert Howell.

However the numbers were there for fielding a boy's team.

The Board had requested information about travel expenses for practice since a team would have to travel to Green Sports Complex and Lemon Park for practices. Estimating on the presumption that a team could go all the way to state, the travel expenses for practice would run $167, said Superintendent Mike Sanders.

Sanders said it would probably be best for the district to not start a program this year because they would only be able to get junior varsity games and would have to scramble to get those and to get all the equipment and necessary uniforms.

If the program were delayed until next year, it would also allow them to put it on next years budget.

The vote has removed baseball from Skyline's immediate future but the topic can be introduced at a later date, Sanders said.

In other Board activity, the board is considering a strategic plan for the future of the District. Having goals for the district gives the district specific direction and provides a common focal point for the future, Howell said.

A strategic plan gives goals for five, 10 or even 20 years in the future even if future funding is out of the district's hands. , Sanders said.

Three ESSDACK modules are under consideration. The first is over $10,000 and is very expensive for the district, Sanders said.

The last offers goals that would not be that beneficial for the district but the second module presents a good group of goals at a price the district could afford at $1,700.

Slade said he would like to see they type of program KASB had to offer as well as ESSDACK. Sanders said he would bring that information to the next meeting.