Unable to reach a new contract with the Atlantic City school board, a local swimming club has changed its name and found a new home in Pleasantville.
The Atlantic City Aquatic Club had been negotiating with the resort school board about usage fees for the school district’s pools, but no deal could be reached.
On Tuesday night, the Pleasantville Board of Education approved the use of the high school pool for the new, temporarily named, Pleasantville-Atlantic Swim Club (PAC) at a regular meeting Tuesday night.
Dimitar Petrov, head coach of the club, who is also a teacher and swim coach in Pleasantville Shool District, said the arrangement is a great deal and involves a trade-off between the school district and the club. He would not provide the financial details.
The team is allowed to use the facilities and in return offer coaching services for the schools, said Petrov, who is the high school swimming coach. He said there is no conflict between his two duties since the members of the swim club are all younger than high school age.
The club’s website, acacswim.org posted a message from Petrov, which said, “New name and team color will be introduced shortly. Purchasing new caps and t-shirt in the near future will be mandatory. Please, avoid wearing apparel with ACAC logo.”
Following the approval, the club has started practices and will continue to work on reorganizing in its new home.
“The pool in Pleasantville is smaller, but we are grateful to the school district that we can swim in it,” said Joe Haney, the former president of the club’s board.
“Our goal is to involve as many people in the community as possible,” Petrov said. “It is an urban city with a low percentage who know how to swim.”
The new club will join in using the facility, which is also shared by other local teams in Pleasantville, Pleasantville Superintendent Garnell Bailey said.
A discount for club members who were Atlantic City residents when Atlantic City High School hosted the team is now removed, and Pleasantville residents will be offered a discount. Atlantic City residents who continue on with the club will pay a regular fee, Haney said.
Petrov estimated about 80 percent of the team from Atlantic City moved with the team to practice in Pleasantville.
The club’s negotiations with Atlantic City ended in mid-October when the Board of Education announced its intention to start its own swim program. The club had been paying about about $7,000 a year to use the pool at Atlantic City High School, but the school board wanted to increase the fees to about $85,000.
Haney said that the club’s board members and affiliated staff, as they had done for the past 17 years, turned in their one-year contracts for renewal through the recreation department, but by July, when a response usually came, there was none.
Two weeks before the season was set to begin on Sept. 1, Haney said the club attended a meeting to discuss its future.
“They put us on the defense, and asked us questions about things that they were misinformed about,” Haney said. “Even when we tried to address the issues and negotiate, there was no business model they were willing to accept for us to be there,” Haney said.
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