Sour Economy Places Athletics in Jeopardy
Programs cut or scaled back, fees raised
Faced with steep declines in state funding and local tax revenues, many school districts are discarding sports programs or considering painful cuts, despite the broad popularity of those activities among parents and students.
To save money—and spare individual sports from outright elimination—some districts are raising student fees, a common strategy when the economy, and school budgets, go south. Others are paring back the number of games and events, which in turn reduces travel and other expenses.
One school system weighing potentially deep cuts is the Dixon Unified School District, in northern California. The district faces proposed cuts of $3 million, out of a total budget of $28 million, in fiscal 2010. It cannot make up the budget shortfall through simply cutting personnel, supplies, and other areas, said Roger A. Halberg, the superintendent of the 4,000-student district. Officials are considering the elimination of all middle and high school sports programs, which now cost about $250,000 annually, a proposal that has roused opposition from...
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