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Axing Sports

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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."

2 Comments

I do not think it is sad or terrible that a school would eliminate sports in these tough economic times. There is a book that talks about limiting sports and other "extra" things called Schools That Do Too Much: How Schools Waste Time and Money and What We Can All Do About It by Etta Kralovec. It originally came out in 1980 but has had many reprintings. I believe there are many messages we as educators can take to heart.

I have to agree with Kristie. School have become responsible for many things that were never part of their "mission." When there was money for these, it was fine. When there is no money, we can't just make believe that there is. It seems that no one in education wants to admit we can't afford these things at the moment. Perhaps we will some day, but for now we need to adjust and survive.

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