A suburban Cleveland school district might cut their sports programs to deal with a budget deficit, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Fall and winter sports in the Richmond Heights School District could join a laundry list of programs that have already been sent to the chopping block, including marching band, newspaper, and Advanced Placement classes.
Facing a deficit of $238,000 and reeling from six ballot defeats for funding, the school board proposed cutting sports programs rather than pursuing another levy initiative this May.
“We're hearing about all sorts of tough choices. Times are tough," said Scott Ebright, spokesman for the Ohio School Boards Association. He said eliminating sports is a last resort, with some districts instituting pay-to-play charges of as much as $500 per student to keep their programs alive. "Sports do a lot of great things for kids, but, by law, schools do not have to provide them."
But Richmond Heights School Board President Charles Tyler told the newspaper a pay-to-play system isn’t realistic for the district, because it would result in athletically inclined students bearing up to $240,000 in transportation, league membership, and coaching fees.
"Unless we have resources, we are not left with many choices," Tyler said. "We have to deal with reality."