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After failing to come to an agreement with complainants alleging  inequality between boys’ and girls’ sports facilities, Butte School District No. 1 will conduct an investigation by mid-January into its locker rooms, practice and competitive facilities and plan to remediate any inequalities found.

The district entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in late November after failing to come to an agreement with former girls’ softball coaches Sid deBarathy and Mike Foley.

DeBarathy and Foley alleged the district had violated federal Title IX law, which ensures girl and boy athletes the same access to quality facilities. DeBarathy and Foley said Stodden Park’s facilities, which are used by Butte High girl’s softball teams, need dramatic improvement and don’t compare to boy’s sports facilities like the new Naranche Stadium.

According to the voluntary resolution agreement, the district’s investigation must be completed by Dec. 31, and by Jan. 14 the district must provide a plan of action to the OCR detailing which improvements are needed, if any, and how they will be implemented.

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If the district follows through with the work, the allegations will be resolved. The district’s signing of the agreement isn’t an admission that it violated Title IX or any other law, the document says.

The district’s school board voted in early October to begin negotiating the voluntary resolution agreement after failing to resolve the issue through an early complaint resolution process. Both of these options are short of a full-length investigation into the district’s sports programs.

The district has worked all fall on updates to Stodden Park, including new infields, new dugouts for at least one field and new water pipes to the bathrooms.

In the event the district fails to adhere to the agreement, the OCR will resume its investigation into possible civil rights violations, the letter said.

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