Gilford & Belmont high schools to field cooperative football team

GILFORD — The Gilford and Shaker Regional school districts have agreed to negotiate an agreement for establishing a cooperative football team, starting this fall.
A memorandum of understanding which calls for a two-year program, contingent upon approval by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA), was approved by the Gilford School Board Monday night.
It calls for Gilford to be the lead school district in the partnership and retain regulatory decision making-power over the cooperative program. Superintendent of Schools Kent Hemingway said that the two school districts currently operate a cooperative high school hockey program in which the Shaker School District is the lead district.
The Shaker District agreed to commit $7,500 for year one with junior varsity level player opportunities and $15,000 for year, two to include both JV and varsity play.
Future agreements between the two school districts on the cooperative football team will be based on a 50-50 cost sharing basis according to the memo.
Hemingway said that between five and 15 Shaker District students are expected to take part in the program this fall based on participation by Belmont players in the Gilford Youth Football League, which fields teams in two leagues and has about a dozen players from Belmont.
The memo calls for the Shaker District to fund its share of the operating costs beginning in the 2016 fiscal year budget. Costs for the 2015 fiscal year, while not in the approved budget, will be funded through the district's athletic special revenue fund.
The Friends of Belmont Football, a group of parents who joined together two years ago in an effort to find a way for their sons to be able to play football at the high school level, have raised over $10,000 towards that goal, according to Eric Shirley, one of the founders of the group.

Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith and Moultonborough  Academy operate the only current cooperative high school football program in the Lakes Region. They also field a joint ice hockey team.