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Kids, Inc. Oversight Is Urged

DALLAS -- Community members are asking the city of Dallas to create an advisory committee to make sure the board of Kids, Inc. is creating an even playing field for all young athletes.

DALLAS -- Community members are asking the city of Dallas to create an advisory committee to make sure the board of Kids, Inc. is creating an even playing field for all young athletes.

Sandy Teal, a local Kids, Inc. volleyball coach and parent, addressed her concerns about the organization at a Dallas City Council meeting April 20.

Through her time with the organization, she said it is not made clear what its goals are -- to be purely recreational, teach skills or be competitive. She said there is no accountability for the coaches' actions as they are all volunteers. Teal said she and other coaches had approached the Kids, Inc. Board of Directors with these concerns and received no answers.

"The overwhelming response was that they were doing the best they could and I should back off," Teal said.

Bobby Taylor, who has coached three different sports in the organization and was a past board member, said he wants to see more equality between the distribution of funds and playing facilities among teams. He said the board members have made the program a way to showcase their own children rather than focus on building skilled teams to feed the high school.

The group offers baseball, soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, football and tennis. It is a volunteer organization funded by local sponsors and the city to serve Dallas children ages 5 to 14. It was created in 1963.

"Some of the people in charge have lost focus of the kids," Taylor said. "It is extremely discouraging."

Brian Fast, president of the Kids, Inc. board, said the organization is working on a mission statement and putting policies in writing.

"We want to provide sports for all kids to play," Fast said. He described the teams as recreational with a competitive level.

Teal would like to see the board accept more public comment and have a more diverse group represent the organization. She proposed the city could create an oversight committee that would review actions of the board members, allow for public comment, see that all sports are treated equally, and make recommendations on ways to improve.

She thought the city would be the only entity with power to create the committee because they provide a large amount of taxpayer money to the organization.

"I know it will never be perfect, but I think we really need to try to get the community involved enough for the majority to be happy," Teal said.

Fast said he and the board are ready to sit down and talk.

"We're certainly willing to listen," Fast said.

The City Council decided to send the proposal to its administrative committee for discussion. That meeting is open to the public and will be held Tuesday, May 26, at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

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