Skyline High School’s track and field has fancy stadium lights, which could really come in handy during the short days between November and March. Here’s the catch: Its sports teams aren’t allowed to flip the switch for practice.
A 6-year-old contract between since-departed Oakland school district officials and the Hillcrest Estates Improvement Association restricts light use to 10 games a year — no practices. So, during Standard Time, outdoor sports teams either call it quits early or stick it out in the dusk.
LaMont Sanders, a 17-year-old track star, broke his leg last month while attempting his last set of hurdles at dusk.
The issue has been a sore spot for years. Skyline’s string of principals has been unable to reach a compromise with the neighbors (The existing contract has been breached in the past, which has complicated negotiations), although there is hope that the stalemate will end this year.
At a practice last month, the student-athletes shared their frustrations with me.
“The jumpers are jumping when it’s dark out. The football players? It’s a contact sport, and they can’t see anything,” said Cheron Amey, 17, a high-jumper and hurdler. “The lights have to cost a lot of money to be put up. I don’t think they were put there just for show.”
School leaders are hashing out a proposal with the neighborhood association that would allow the team to use half of the lights (those facing the school) four days a week, from 5 to 7 p.m. during Standard Time.
The story is scheduled to be in tomorrow’s Wednesday’s paper.